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Anti-immigrant Network Uses Faith to Mask Hateful Agenda

Jill Garvey • Feb 23, 2010

The John Tanton Network has debuted its newest spin-off group. This time, instead of targeting environmentalists or progressives, they are trying to win over faithful Americans to their anti-immigrant agenda.

The group is called Catholics for a Moral Immigration Policy (CMIP). The public face of the organization includes a priest who, keeping with the Tanton Network’s history, has ties to controversial organizations like American Free Press - founded by notorious holocaust denier Willis Carto, and the white nationalist journal, The Social Contract, founded by John Tanton.

In fact, Social Contract’s bigot-in-chief, Wayne Lutton, personally helped Catholics for a Moral Immigration Policy (CMIP) get started at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. this past Friday. In addition to releasing racist publications, Wayne Lutton is also a Board of Director for the Charles Martel Society, an anti-Semitic organization that publishes the Occidental Quarterly. Lutton was also active with the overtly racist magazine American Renaissance and the flagship publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The Council of Conservative Citizens is the reconstituted, segregationist White Citizens’ Councils.

Catholics for a Moral Immigration Policy, which is also staffed by James C. Russell, may appear at first glance to be run by a few harmless, Christian academics who just happen to have a lot in common with the Tanton Network. However, CMIP has been strategically orchestrated by Tanton’s anti-immigrant movement to distract the public from some of its decidedly un-Catholic activities.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time James Russell or Father Patrick Bascio have dabbled in hate.

James Russell’s book, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation, I found was cited by several racist online publications, including Vdare.com and The Occidental Quarterly. Coincidentally, one of the only gushing reviews of Father Bascio’s book, On the immortality of Illegal Immigration, came from VDARE.com’s Brenda Walker. VDARE is named for Virginia Dare, allegedly the first white child born in the U.S. Brenda Walker is a prolific anti-immigrant blogger who uses racist and xenophobic outlets to spread her views. Walker was a featured presenter at last year’s “Preserving Western Civilization” conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The annual conference gathers a group of racist academics and anti-immigrant activists who focus on how the “massive influx” of “third-world immigrants” allegedly threatens American and European cultural values, as well as the dangers of Islam, and alleged racial differences in intelligence.

In 2009, Father Bascio’s book was sold on Amazon.com under the publisher American Free Press - the same publisher that persistently peddled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories post 9/11. Now it is sold as a revised edition under a different publisher. But the first few pages are filled with praise from a veritable all-star list of Tanton Network players. Otis Graham, an old friend of John Tanton and a board member for both organizations founded by Tanton, FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies, calls Bascio’s book “invaluable”. Leah Durant, the head of another Tanton front group, Progressives for Immigration Reform, says Bascio makes a “compelling case”. The book lists Vernon Briggs as a Cornell University professor, but conveniently omits that he is a board member with Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and The Social Contract. Maybe that’s because the book’s other admirers include CIS fellow James R. Edwards, board chairman Peter Nunez, and former director David Simcox.

John Tanton, the founder of FAIR, has financially supported platforms to debate pseudo-scientific research (racial eugenics) purporting to show that African Americans and Latinos are mentally inferior to whites because of their genetic makeup. While the false science of racial eugenics lost respectability after the crimes of Nazi Europe in the 1940s, Tanton still clings to these beliefs. In The Case for Passive Eugenics, Tanton does not overtly distance himself from Adolf Hitler’s application of eugenics to “cleanse” the German population. He writes instead that “Hitler’s reign in Nazi Germany did little to advance the discussion of eugenics among sensitive persons.”

Then of course, there is long-time FAIR representative Rosanna Pulido who is well-known for her anti-catholic diatribes. As we reported in January, Pulido stated at a public forum in October 2007, “The Catholic Church is not Catholicism. It has nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible.”

Of the Catholic Church and immigration she stated at the same forum, “What better way to fill your pews and fill your offering coffers than with inviting in and giving sanctuary to illegal aliens.”

In March 2009, Pulido harshly criticized Chicago’s Cardinal George for his appeal for humanity on behalf of immigrants. She told ABC news, “Cardinal George is responsible for every illegal immigrant who dies while crossing the border coming over here because he is luring them.”

It is clear that CMIP is merely John Tanton and Co.’s latest puppet show. America’s Catholic communities have proven time and again that they reject anti-immigrant bigotry. Catholics for a Moral Immigration Policy does not speak for America’s faithful.

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