Evangelicals Are In Danger
Of Being Defined By
The Company They Keep

Written By
S. R. Shearer

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)


The associations we keep, the friendships we make, and the institutional relationships we sustain - especially our religious and political ones - go a long way in defining us as persons. As a result - and more often than we care to admit - these relationships imply endorsement, endorsement not only of the people with whom we associate, but more often than not, of their ideas as well. Certainly this is true of political and religious organizations; and the more extreme these organizations are, the more true it becomes.

And while the Political Left may recoil at the concept of "guilt by association" - largely because of the excesses of the McCarthy era - they certainly practice it themselves. For example, when it was discovered that Lloyd Bentsen - former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton - was a member of an all-white, all-male country club in Texas, he was forced to resign his membership; it was felt that, should he continue his membership, he would be passively "endorsing" concepts which were repugnant to important Democratic constituencies. Indeed, it is politically impossible today for most Democrats to associate themselves with any organization which implicitly or even peripherally sanctions "sexism," "racism," "homophobia," etc.

Why? - because even the Political Left realizes that association with such organizations more often than not implies, at the very least, passive endorsement; a type of "indifference" which in the long run can often be more damaging than active participation. People seem to instinctively realize that the strands of our relationships, one with another, provide a conduit through which ideas are transmitted. And that these ideas, if left unchecked, have a way of using the web of our personal and institutional relationships to propagate themselves. By such means, ideas introduced initially by only one person or by a small group of persons - if persistently pursued and not actively opposed - have a way of ultimately affecting the ideological fabric of the entire community.

Passivity in the face of ideas aggressively pushed by others within any given community - whether of the Right or the Left - is never enough; active opposition is the only real antidote. To political and religious activists, passivity merely denotes quiet acceptance on the part of others.

The common concept that "one bad apple spoils the whole barrel" - while trite - is nevertheless true. Spoilage in one apple has a way of spreading to a second apple, and from there to a third, and so on until the whole barrel is eventually affected. This is why the Lord warned Israel against "bad" relationships, and admonished the Israelites to drive out from Canaan all those inhabitants who had previously occupied the land:

"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain {will become} as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live." (Num. 33:51-53, 55)


Moreover, the concept of "separation" is not a notion unique to the Old Testament; it clearly is carried over into the New Testament where Paul warns believers against becoming entangled with unbelievers:

"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me, Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)


Nonetheless, Christian Right activists - in direct opposition to the expressed will of God - are pushing, often with impunity, exactly these kinds of alliances, alliances which are relating the Christian community to ideas which are both sordid and shameful, and people who are not only contemptible but wretched - even to Nazis and anti-Semites; and in doing so opening up the entire Christian community to the pollution and corruption of fascism.

When Christians involve themselves in political alliances with unbelievers, in the end the only people they’re kidding are themselves when they deny the implications of what they’re doing. Take, for example, their relationship with the GOP; specifically its extreme right-wing.


One GOP organization alone, the Republican Heritage Groups Council, harbors an astonishing number of ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, and collaborationists; so much so that investigative reporter Russ Bellant alleges, "In a sense ... the foundation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council ... (lies) in Hitler’s networks ... (in) East Europe before World War II. In each of those Eastern European countries, the German SS set up or funded political action organizations that helped form SS militias during the war."

Bellant continues,

"In Hungary the Arrow Cross was the Hungarian SS affiliate; in Romania, the Iron Guard; the Bulgarian Legion, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Latvian Legion, and the Byelorussian (White Russian) Belarus Brigade were all SS-linked. In each of their respective countries, they were expected to serve the interests of the German Nazi Party before and during the war.

"Many of these groups formed SS divisions: the Ukrainian Nationalists formed the 14th Galician Division, Waffen SS; the Latvians formed the 15th and 19th Divisions, Waffen SS; etc. These units and related German-controlled police units had several functions. The Ukrainian division unsuccessfully tried to impede the advance of the Soviet army against the Nazis. Others hunted down those fellow countrymen who opposed the German occupation of Eastern Europe during World War II.

"More sadistically, many units rounded up hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, and others and conducted mass murders on the spot, sometimes decimating whole villages. They perfected ‘mobile killing teams’ as efficient means of mass executions. Little is known about these units compared to the concentration camps, gas chambers, and ovens, but they were an integrated component of the ‘Final Solution’. Approximately one-third of the victims of the Holocaust, perhaps as many as two million, died at the hands of these units ... ."

Bellant goes on to say,

"It is a historical fact that (very large numbers) ... from virtually every Eastern European nationality tied their ... goals to the rising star of fascism and Hitler’s racialist Nazism" - something which East European apologists today have successfully attempted to obscure. [Russ Bellant, Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party (South End Press, Boston, 1991) pgs. 4-5.]


Sadly, it is emigrants from these groups which today form much of the leadership for the Republican Heritage Groups Council (NRHGC); and this is not an insignificant and unimportant "subgroup" of the Republican Party. The National Republican Heritage Groups Council is an official organ of the Republican Party apparatus. It operates under the auspices of the Republican National Committee. It is not a "bit player," but carries considerable official clout within the party. A great many Republican party officials - from Ronald Reagan to George Bush - have at one time or another been associated with and/or addressed this group - from formal Republican Party galas to official White House functions.

For example, on May 17, 1985, President Reagan attended a gala at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel hosted by the NRHGC. In 1987 the NRHGC hosted another gala affair in Washington at the Grand Hyatt. The featured speaker was former UN Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick. Listed on the "Honorary Committee" for the gala were Senators William Armstrong, Alfonse D’Amato, Orrin Hatch, Jesse Helms, Larry Pressler, Strom Thurmond, and Pete Wilson as well as Congresswoman Helen Bentley, and Congressmen William Broomfield, Philip Crane, Robert Dornan, John Duncan, Newt Gingrich, and Ernest Konnyu. These people are not "small fry." They are powerful and very influential members of the Republican Party.

How is it possible for important Republicans to link their good names to a group which is so heavily infiltrated with ex-Nazis, Nazi collaborationists, and Nazi sympathizers? One is tempted to jump to the conclusion that Jewish organizations like B’nai Brith, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups which have examined this problem are making too much of it; that they’re making a mountain out of a mole hill; creating a hysteria when none is necessary. That surely people like former Senator Bill Armstrong and UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick - if not Jesse Helms and Orrin Hatch - would not lend their names to such an organization if all this was true.

Oh, really? Well, let’s take a look. And in doing so, we won’t bother too much with the "rank and file" - of digging up obscure names at the periphery of the organization. It’s easy to concede the point that it’s possible for radicals of any stripe to infiltrate any organization - especially at the lower ranks - no matter how diligent the leadership. No organization - whether of the right or whether of the left - should be judged harshly because radicals every now and then "pop up" at the lower levels or at the periphery.


But this is not the case with the Republican Heritage Group. Ex-Nazis, collaborationists and sympathizers can be found at the highest levels of the organization. Moreover, when such offices are held as a result of a popular vote of the membership, it’s not too much to assume that many of the political views of the popularly elected officials of the organization are held by the membership’s "rank and file" as well. Who then are these people? Bellant lists some. For example:

Laszlo Pasztor: The founding chair and a key figure in the Republican Heritage Group (and ipso facto, the Republican Party). Pasztor helped form the "Bulgarian National Front," a group headed by his friend, Ivan Docheff. As early as 1971, the GOP was warned that the Bulgarian National Front was "beyond the pale." A Jack Anderson column quoted another Bulgarian-American organization, the conservative "Bulgarian National Committee," which labeled Docheff’s National Front as "fascist." But the GOP took no action. Professor Spas T. Raikin, a former official of the National Front says that the "front" grew out of an organization in Bulgaria that in the 1930s and 40s was "pro-Nazi and pro fascist." [Jack Anderson, "Nixon Appears a Little Soft on Nazis," Washington Post, Nov. 10, 1971, p. B17.]

Radi Slavoff: The Republican Heritage Group’s executive director. He is a member of the Bulgarian GOP unit of the Group Council; at the same time, Bellant says that he is active with the Nazi-linked "National Confederation of American Ethnic Groups" (NCAEG). NCAEG leaders have included Austin App and Josef Mikus. Bellant says that the NCAEG is a group which becomes active about a year before presidential elections. Treasurer Richard Kolm says of the NCAEG "We don’t have contact with the Democratic Party. NCAEG has a reputation as Republican." Z. Michael Szaz is NCAEG’s Executive Vice President. Szaz is an official of the Virginia Republican Heritage Groups Council and is an associate of racialist Roger Pearson. And just who are Austin App and Josef Mikus?

Austin App: App, a pro-Nazi activist, is the author of the Six Million Swindle, which asserts that the Nazi extermination of the Jews didn’t happen. He is a founder of the NCAEG. He is also a member of the "German American National Congress" (also known by its German acronym "DANK") and the "Coalition for Peace Through Strength." He has been particularly active in Willis Carto’s anti-Semitic "Institute for Historical Review" and worked with Roger Pearson as a co-laborer on another Carto publication, Western Destiny. In 1946 App wrote that "... the German armies (were) the most decent armies of the war." Again, in his 1974 pamphlet, A Straight Look at the Third Reich and National Socialism, How Right? How Wrong," App wrote, "The truth is that in World War II the Third Reich fought for justice, and the Allies fought to prevent justice." [Foster and Epstein, p. 229, No Time for Silence: Pleas for a Just Peace Over Four Decades (Costa Mesa, California: Institute for Historical Review, 1987), p. 62; Austin J. App, Ravishing the Conquered Women of Europe, as cited by John Roy Carlson in The Plotters (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1946, pp. 160-61.]

Josef Mikus: Cut out of the same mold as App. He has been known to assert that a German victory would have been preferable to an allied one during the Second World War. Mikus was also an unrepentant supporter of Monsignor Josef Tiso, a Catholic priest and the leader of the Slovakian Hlinka Guard during World War II. Lucy Dawidowicz, in her book, War Against the Jews, estimated that the Hlinka Guard participated in the murder of some 75,000 Slovak Jews. Jack Anderson named Mikus as an advisor to various national Republican figures [Jack Anderson, "Doleful Dole," Washington Post, May 18, 1978, p. A25; Jack Anderson and Les Whitten, "Nazi Eulogy," Washington Post, May 4, 1976, p. B15.]

Nicolas Nazarenko: A former World War II officer in the German SS Cossack Division under German General Helmuth von Pannwitz, Nazarenko heads a Cossack GOP unit of the Republican Heritage Groups Council. He is still active with pro-Nazi elements in the United States and continues to be consumed with his wartime hatred of the Jews, having on more than one occasion declared that Jews remain his "ideological enemy." He has been charged by other Cossack émigrés as having hanged Jews in Odessa during the war. He used to organize the annual "Captive Nations" march in New York City every summer.

Florian Galdau: An associate of Romanian Archbishop Valerian Trifa, a leader of Romania’s Iron Guard who emigrated to America after the war. After reaching the United States, Trifa set about establishing a network of Nazi expatriates. Trifa brought Galdau to the United States in 1955 to help in his work. Galdau was brought in specifically to head a New York City Iron Guard unit. Galdau’s task was to recruit new Romanian immigrants into the Guard. According to FBI documents, however, Trifa lied to Immigration authorities concerning his Nazi background. He also hid the fact that he had participated in the murder of Jews in Bucharest, Romania in 1941. In 1984, Archbishop Trifa was brought to trial by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) on charges that he had filed false immigration papers. Trifa fled the country later that year to avoid prosecution, leaving behind Galdau to carry on his work. Before leaving, Trifa ordered the installation of Galdau as pastor of St. Dumitru, a Manhattan parish. It has been estimated that Galdau helped bring into the country as many as 20,000 Romanian refugees - all Nazi collaborators. Over the years, Galdau has performed priestly functions at events that commemorated Iron Guard founder Corneliu Godreanu. Trifa himself once concurred in an interview that the Galdau church was "a center of fascists." In 1974, The United Israel Bulletin of New York headlined a story, "Florian Galdau, a Priest, Heads New York Iron Guard Cell." [United Israel Bulletin, Summer 1974, p. 1.] Galdau is one of the founders of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and was listed as a member of the Host Committee for a reception honoring President Reagan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Chairman of the Republican National Committee, during the Council’s 1987 meeting in Washington, D.C. In 1988 he was named National Chair of Romanians for Bush. And who exactly was Galdau’s mentor, Valerian Trifa?

Valerian Trifa: Leader of the Romanian Iron Guard in Bucharest in 1941. The Guard was a pro-Nazi Romanian group linked to the SS by liaison officers such as Otto von Bolschwig of the German SS. In 1941 the Guard went on a rampage in Bucharest, seeking out Jews for gruesome deaths. Three days of chaos ensued. During those three days, witnesses charge that Trifa personally went into a jail and killed Jews who had been put into a cell there. After the war, Trifa was able to come to the U.S. and take over the Romanian Orthodox church by means of physical coercion. In 1952, Trifa became an Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Walter Melianovich: The head of the Byelorussian GOP unit. The unit is closely associated with the Byelorussian-American Association (BAA), an émigré group made up, in part, of former collaborators of the Nazi occupation and its extermination campaign. An early BAA leader was Franz Kushel, an SS major general and commander of the Belarus Brigade, a Waffen SS unit. According to the Belarus Secret, a book about Byelorussian Nazi collaboration, Kushel’s men carried over 40,000 Jews to an execution ground in 1941. Another BAA leader, Stanislaw Stankievich, one-time editor of a Nazi-funded newspaper, came from an upper-class family of Nazi collaborators. He became a mayor of Borissow in 1941. After having a wall built around the Jewish section of the city, Stankievich conducted a series of financial extortions on the contained ghetto. His police than sadistically exterminated the seven thousand Jews of Borissow on October 20, 1941. As the Soviets advanced on German-occupied Byelorussia, a puppet Byelorussian Congress was formed to help mobilize support for the defense of Germany. The 1,039 delegates to this "All-Byelorussian Second Congress" were screened and approved by Germany. These delegates, many of them leaders of police units and a Byelorussian Waffen SS division, came to dominate the BAA. Melianovich has met with various U.S. agencies including the National Security Council staff in an effort to return fascists to power in Byelorussia. Melianovich has even provided U.S. government leaders with a map of Byelorussia complete with new "ethnogenetical borders." Melianovich claims that the Republican Heritage Groups Council has "changed the image of the Republican Party under our pressure." Charging the Democrats with only caring about "the Black and Jewish vote," he says that "if anyone should be called nationalist, it is the GOP." Melianovich was named National Chairman of Byelorussians for Bush in 1988.

Frank J. Fahrenkopf: for whatever reason, Fahrenkopf, the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, has - over the years - become particularly linked to Croatian Republicans. For example, Fahrenkopf signed a 1984 Republican Heritage Groups Council booklet listing commemorative dates of significance to ethnic Americans. The entry for April 10th reads, "The Independent State of Croatia was declared by unanimous proclamation in 1941 ... Lack of Western support and Axis occupation forced the new state into an unfortunate association with the Axis powers." The statement is a fabrication. Croatia was pro-Nazi long before the German occupation. The Nazis had a long-standing relationship with the Croatian Ustashi beginning years before the Second World War; indeed, the Nazis conspired with the Vatican to help create the "independent state of Croatia" after the German attack on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1941; and it is no doubt safe to say that without Vatican and Nazi support, Croatia would never have gained its "independence." Soon thereafter, the Ustashi began systematically liquidating Orthodox Serbians, Jews, and Gypsies. So frenzied did their effort eventually become that even the Nazis were taken aback by the barbarity of the Ustashi concentration camps and the liquidation of whole Serbian villages. Huge ovens at Jasenovac reportedly burned Serbs, Jews and Gypsies alive. An estimated 750,000 people, mostly Serbians, were killed by the Croatians. The "independent state of Croatia," which Fahrenkopf suggests should be commemorated, ceased to exist after the fall of the Third Reich. It’s re-emergence four years ago under right-wing German, Austrian and Vatican pressure may very well foreshadow the kind of power structure which is currently re-surfacing in Croatia.

Method Balco: The head of the Slovak-American Republican Federation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council. He is a close friend of Josef Mikus (see above) and John Hvasta. Like Balco, Mikus and Hvasta are members of the Slovak Republican delegation to the Republican Heritage Groups Council. All three work closely with the Toronto-based Slovak World Congress, a group set up and greatly influenced by former aides to Monsignor Josef Tiso. Tiso was head of Slovakia, a Nazi puppet state, during the war. Slovakia was created by Hitler after he split Czechoslovakia in 1939. When the U.S. declared war on Germany on December 12, 1941, Tiso declared Slovakia at war with the U.S. Tiso created the Hlinka Guard, a unit allied with the German SS, which was responsible for the slaughter of some 75,000 Jews. Despite the Nazi history in Slovakia, Balco still organizes an annual commemoration of the Tiso rule in New York.

John Hvasta: A member of the Slovak Republican delegation to the Republican Heritage Groups Council. Hvasta also helped the 1988 Presidential Campaign of former Ku Klux Klan leader and white supremacist David Duke. Hvasta has also been linked to Joseph Kirschbaum, a principal of the Slovak World Congress. Kirschbaum was a top commander of the SS-like Hlinka Guard. Kirschbaum is responsible for editing a number of speeches by Ferdinand Durcansky, Tiso’s former foreign minister. One speech which touched on the massacre of Jews in Slovakia ominously warned, "... I hope we live to see the time when the Jews draw from these facts the necessary objective conclusions ..."

These people are Nazi collaborationists and sympathizers pure and simple. There is no other way that one can describe them. How does one explain away the participation of these men in groups which are so clearly Nazi oriented as the Arrow Cross, the Iron Guard, the Belarus Brigade, the Hlinka Guard, etc? And how is it possible to minimize such involvement? Yet countless numbers of Republicans and otherwise well-intentioned Americans are clearly doing so. And whether they care to admit it or not, by doing so, they are being drawn into a web of hate which reaches back to the Holocaust

[It is, incidentally, out of these East European émigré communities, communities which "set up shop" here after the fall of Nazi Germany, that PAUL WEYRICH - perhaps the most powerful man in today’s Religious Right / Secular Right Nexus - is attempting to "reconstruct democracy" in the break-away member states of the Old Soviet Empire - countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Balarus, the Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, etc. Members of these communities (many of whom are the unrepentant sons and daughters of former SS officers and collaborators) are now streaming back - with Weyrich’s assistance - to these former satellite countries and have to a very large extent already seized the reigns of power in their former homelands. God help these countries - they’re jumping from the frying pan into the fire in accepting Weyrich’s help. (More about this in upcoming issues)].


All these men - and many more besides - now rub sholders on a regular basis with evangelicals as a result of the alliance evangelicals have struck with the Republican Party - and to a large extent, it's Paul Weyrich who has made all this possible. The story goes something like this: in 1976, Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips, and Paul Weyrich began looking for a political vehicle through which they could facilitate a rightward drift of the American electorate. Eventually they hit upon forcing the Republican Party to move to the Right by using Jerry Falwell and other "born-again" evangelical leaders to mobilize conservative "born-again" Christians. The specifics of the story are as follows: in May of 1979 Robert Billings of the National Christian Action Coalition invited Jerry Falwell to a meeting with Phillips, Viguerie, Weyrich and Ed McAteer.

The four told Falwell of their shared opposition to legalized abortion and pornography, and their intention to influence the 1980 GOP platform. Weyrich proposed that if the Republican Party could be persuaded to take a firm stance against abortion, that would split the hitherto strong Catholic voting bloc within the Democratic Party.

The New Right leaders wanted Falwell to spearhead a visible Christian organization that would apply pressure to the GOP. Weyrich proposed that the name have something to do with a moral majority. The rest is history. Joining Falwell’s plunge into "Christian politics" as members of the Moral Majority’s Board of Directors were Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Greg Dixon of Indianapolis’ Baptist Temple, Rev. Tim LaHaye from San Diego, California and James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. Ronald Godwin was hired as vice president and Robert Billings became executive director.

While the Moral Majority has since passed from the scene, all of these men remain committed, in one way or another, to "returning America to Christ and the Church" - and, as time has worn on - many of them have become increasingly willing to make compromises in order to further their political agenda - for example, Kennedy’s relationship with Moon in the Coalition for Religious Freedom. [See Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pg. 69.]

The entrance of the Moral Majority into the political fray has enticed millions of hitherto apolitical Protestant evangelicals into the electoral process, many for the first time; it has succeeded in splitting off Catholics from the Democratic Coalition; and it has acted as a catalyst for a political rapprochement between Catholics and Protestants. The forces the Moral Majority helped to set in motion continue today in such newer organizations as the Christian Coalition, the Traditional Values Coalition, etc.


What is not so well known, however, is Weyrich’s, Phillips’, and Viguerie’s initial effort to take over the American Independent Party (AIP). It was only after this effort failed that they turned to their "Republican Party Strategy" and Jerry Falwell.

The AIP had been originally formed as a vehicle for the George Wallace campaign of 1968, and was a coalition which included elements of the Ku Klux Klan, John Birchers and the Liberty Lobby. All three - Weyrich, Phillips, and Viguerie - attended the AIP convention of 1976 where the convention’s keynote speaker - to the sound of thunderous applause - pontificated on various elements of the Illuminati Myth and labeled Zionism "as the most insidious, far-reaching, murderous force the world has ever known."

None of the three seemed particularly turned off by the verbiage. They eventually gave up on the AIP only because the party turned to Lestor Maddox, a white supremacist, to head the ticket rather than Viguerie.

The magazine, Human Events, a conservative weekly, seemed to confirm this analysis. It reported that the long-range plan of Viguerie, Weyrich, and Phillips at the time was to use the AIP to form the backbone for a new party in the 1980 elections. Rather than rejecting the segregationist AIP, they had sought to incorporate the AIP - with its racist, anti-Semitic, and neo-fascist elements - into their plans to shape the future political course of the United States. [Please see Human Events, September 11, 1976, pgs. 3-4.]

The point to be made in all this is simple: it is this kind of mentality - one which continues, if only passively and by default to embrace certain forms of anti-Semitism, racism, and fascism - which has now begun to figure so prominently in very conspicuous leadership circles in the Secular Right. What, then, are we doing as evangelical Christians "running around" with such people? Again, the Bible says, and not without reason -

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)

We ignore these Scriptures at our own peril.

Yes, indeed! - the associations we keep, the friendships we make, and the institutional relationships we sustain - especially our religious and political ones - go a long way in defining us as persons. We need to ask ourselves what all this says about us today as a religious community?