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March 20, 2014 3

What Next for the Westboro Baptist Church?

fred phelpsThe vir­u­lently homo­pho­bic, anti-Semitic West­boro Bap­tist Church (WBC) is enter­ing a new stage now that founder and patri­arch Fred Phelps, Sr., has died. An estranged son, Nate Phelps, who first described his father’s impend­ing death on Face­book, also claimed that WBC mem­bers excom­mu­ni­cated the senior Phelps in August 2013.

WBC would not con­firm whether Fred Phelps had been excom­mu­ni­cated, assert­ing that infor­ma­tion on WBC’s mem­ber­ship was pri­vate. A March 16 press release on the group’s web­site stated that the group has no sin­gu­lar leader but is headed by an eight-member board of elders.

Accord­ing to Nate Phelps, WBC has under­gone a num­ber of changes over the last year. He claimed that ten­sions rose within WBC when the all-male board of elders mar­gin­al­ized WBC spokesper­son Shirley Phelps-Roper.  In response to the power strug­gle between Shirley and the board, Fred Phelps allegedly called for kinder treat­ment between WBC mem­bers. The board then sup­pos­edly excom­mu­ni­cated Fred.

The ongo­ing inter-family strife within the orga­ni­za­tion, if true, sig­nals a new chap­ter for WBC.  Shirley Phelps-Roper, Fred’s daugh­ter, has been the most pub­lic face of WBC and acts as a lawyer for the group, as well. Nate Phelps claimed that Shirley could never be the leader of WBC because of pas­sages in the Bible that cite women’s sub­servience to men. Another issue that could affect Shirley’s sta­tus within the church is her two daugh­ters’ very pub­lic defec­tion from the church about a year ago.

A new leader of WBC may emerge in the com­ing months now that Fred Phelps has actu­ally passed. Nate Phelps spec­u­lated that pos­si­bil­i­ties include one of Fred’s sons, Tim Phelps, or Steve Drain, a mem­ber of the church who is not part of the extended Phelps fam­ily.  In the last few months, Drain appears to have super­seded Shirley Phelps-Roper as spokesper­son for the church.

Fred Phelps’ death and Shirley Phelps Roper’s alleged mar­gin­al­iza­tion may change the pub­lic face of WBC but pre­sum­ably not its mes­sage. The church will likely con­tinue its many protests at the funer­als of sol­diers and other indi­vid­u­als and pro­mote hate towards any­one who dis­agrees with its viewpoint.

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February 4, 2014 0

FBI Hosts ADL Extremism Training for North Texas/Oklahoma Regional Office

ADL’s North Texas/Oklahoma Regional Office pro­vided a day-long train­ing on domes­tic extrem­ism to 161 local, state and fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cers rep­re­sent­ing 40 agen­cies on Jan­u­ary 29. The train­ing was co-sponsored and hosted by the FBI, Dal­las Divi­sion.dallas-fbi-adl-extremism-training

ADL’s Dr. Mark Pit­cav­age and Oren Segal, two of the Direc­tors of ADL’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, pre­sented train­ing on the activ­ity, tac­tics and ide­ol­ogy of var­i­ous domes­tic extrem­ists move­ments and groups. Dr. Pit­cav­age focused on anti-government move­ments, includ­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, as well as white suprema­cists. Mr. Segal focused on the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process and crim­i­nal activ­ity asso­ci­ated with home­grown extrem­ists moti­vated by rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam, as well as the role of the Inter­net in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.

“The FBI Dal­las Divi­sion is proud to part­ner with ADL on a num­ber of ini­tia­tives, includ­ing law enforce­ment train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties,” said Assis­tant Spe­cial Agent in Charge Don­ald Freese. “These con­fer­ences strengthen national secu­rity by train­ing law enforce­ment to iden­tify and pre­vent hate crimes and extrem­ism in our community.”

“ADL is grate­ful to the FBI for being strong com­mu­nity part­ners, help­ing to pro­vide such impor­tant train­ings for law enforce­ment through­out our Region,” said ADL North Texas/Oklahoma Com­mu­nity Direc­tor Roberta S. Clark. “In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing crit­i­cally impor­tant train­ing, these oppor­tu­ni­ties allow us to inform law enforce­ment pro­fes­sion­als about the many ways ADL can be of assis­tance to them in areas of hate crimes, hate groups, extrem­ists and terrorists.”

The FBI Cit­i­zens Acad­emy Alumni Asso­ci­a­tion gen­er­ously hosted a Con­ti­nen­tal break­fast for the par­tic­i­pants. The train­ing eval­u­a­tions were over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive and expressed great appre­ci­a­tion to ADL for pro­vid­ing such an impor­tant opportunity.

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January 23, 2014 0

White Supremacist Activists Form New Group In Michigan

dan-poole-white-supremacist-michigan

Dan Poole

Update:  On the day this blog was posted, the organization’s founders dis­solved the Cen­ter for the Advance­ment of Occi­den­tal Cul­ture as a lim­ited lia­bil­ity corporation.

Two white suprema­cists, Dan Poole and Kyle Bris­tow, have founded a new group, the Cen­ter for the Advance­ment of Occi­den­tal Cul­ture (CAOC) in Michi­gan.  Poole, a recent col­lege grad­u­ate, and Bris­tow, an attor­ney, have both pre­vi­ously been active in racist cir­cles.  Poole is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of CAOC and Bris­tow will be the organization’s chief legal officer.

The two are part of a grow­ing trend of younger, edu­cated white suprema­cists form­ing groups that pro­mote racism but use terms like “Occi­den­tal cul­ture,” “West­ern civ­i­liza­tion,”  or “tra­di­tion­al­ism” in place of more explic­itly racist ter­mi­nol­ogy.  This san­i­tized lan­guage can be more palat­able to peo­ple who would be turned off by overt racism.

In a state­ment released at the end of Decem­ber 2013, Poole wrote that the organization’s mis­sion is “to advance and defend West­ern civ­i­liza­tion” by pro­mot­ing European-themed art, cul­ture and events.  The group also wants to fight alleged “dis­crim­i­na­tion and harass­ment directed at European-Americans.” CAOC asserts that it will be dif­fer­ent from other orga­ni­za­tions by “being on the front lines as the van­guard of the Occi­dent in the cul­ture war.”

Poole, a recent grad­u­ate of Oak­land Uni­ver­sity in Michi­gan, has been active with the Amer­i­can Free­dom Party (AFP), a white suprema­cist polit­i­cal party.  AFP, for­merly known as Amer­i­can Third Posi­tion, has run white suprema­cist can­di­dates for var­i­ous offices. 

While attend­ing Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity (MSU), Bris­tow was the con­tro­ver­sial head of the MSU Young Amer­i­cans for Free­dom. In 2007, the group invited British white nation­al­ist Nick Grif­fin to speak at the school. Bris­tow went on to write arti­cles for Cit­i­zens Informer, the pub­li­ca­tion of the white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens and authored a novel White Apoc­a­lypse and a col­lec­tion of essays, The Con­science of a Right-Winger

White Apoc­a­lypse pro­motes the idea Euro­peans were the first to inhabit North Amer­ica and were the vic­tims of non-whites who later slaugh­tered them. The newest ver­sion of the book, pub­lished in Octo­ber 2013, con­tains an intro­duc­tion by Matthew Heim­bach, the co-founder of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work (TYN), a small white suprema­cist group.

Heim­bach is another exam­ple of a young, white, edu­cated racist who has embraced hard­core extrem­ism. Heim­bach was first active in Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion (YWC), a now defunct stu­dent group, with goals sim­i­lar to CAOC. Heim­bach claims that he sought Bristow’s advice when he ran the YWC chap­ter at Tow­son Uni­ver­sity in 2011. 

CAOC joins other orga­ni­za­tions such as TYN and the National Pol­icy Insti­tute, a white suprema­cist think tank, which are hop­ing to reach dis­af­fected younger whites.

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