Carl,

Yeah, well you didn’t read the book either, now did you? (to adopt a manner of speech). You were only looking for one thing, to prove your prejudices, and you did it, yeh! Three cheers for scholarship; you are a great credit to your alma mater and may be in line for an Alumnus of the Year award at some point.

In the Gospel According to Carl, the book Judaism Discovered is 1100 pages of “nonsense,” even though Carl hasn’t read it and will refuse to read it. Nothing nonsensical about that, is there?

Did I recommend that you read Sodomy in the Synagogue ? No, I recommended that you read Judaism Discovered . Of course, if you were to do so, you might actually understand why Michael Hoffman has opined about sodomy in the synagogue as well, and … well, we can’t have that, can we?

I urge you to think more deeply about the possibility that even among some of the events and issues and narratives that American school children are told are “black and white,” there may be things still to learn or to challenge. How long are you going to dissent about only the subjects that your church and culture have told you it is OK to dissent about? Do you realize that an Ernst Zundel does _not_ admire a Hitler because he believes that Hitler ordered the extermination of the Jews (many are surprised to learn that no such written order exists, although other written Hitler orders relating to such repugnant measures as euthanasia do exist). No, far from it! Zundel happens to believe, like many Germans of the 1930’s and 1940’s did, that Hitler restored the dignity of an otherwise thoroughly degraded culture and was in the process of rescuing an economy from the clutches of predatory financial elites (seen any of those lately?) and putting many people (including Ernst Zundel’s own father) back to work and could have saved a few ethnic German colonies in the Ukraine from the ravages of Stalin and other marauders, for that matter. He also has good evidence for his claim that there were no gas chambers (the “WMD” of their era) and that most of the Jews who died in concentration camps did so because of illness or starvation, many in the final chaotic days of the war — but never mind, no one will read it because it is prejudged as “nonsense.” He has pointed out many a case of Judaic exaggeration and myth-making. Without my being able to say whether all these beliefs are “the truth,” and without my being construed as an apologist for Hitler in any way (I am not), did it ever occur to you to even _consider_ that Hitler might have been demonized in his time like Ahmadinejad is in our country and our time? (I knew we could pull this back to the original MWR topic somehow.) Some perspective, please!

It is a mystery to me why Mennonites of all people are so threatened by those who have put their lives on the line — indeed, that is what Zundel and Hoffman have done — to challenge what they see as the prevailing destructive political and religious orthodoxy of the times. Do I “promote” the views of the detractors of Judaic power or Judaism? Well, I would characterize what I am doing as simply encouraging more dialogue with a class of modern-day zealots and martyrs (witnesses). I certainly find a high degree of plausibility in certain controversial claims of a Hoffman or a Zundel, and I am not exactly an intellectual slouch without any credentials of any sort, but I myself am not a scholar of either Judaism or WWII, and one doesn’t have to “agree” with everything these individuals believe to advocate engagement and conversation. The Mennonite Church is officially opposed to homosexual practice, too, but the church encourages dialogue with practitioners of sodomy — whoops, there’s that word again.

But Hoffman and Zundel don’t even belong in the same sentence as debauchery. I find Hoffman and Zundel especially interesting in that they and/or their spouses (Ingrid Rimland) have been ready to dialogue with Mennonites out of some knowledge of and commonality with us. Hoffman lived in several Amish communities; Ingrid Zundel came out of the Russian Mennonite post-War diaspora. Ernst is a lifelong pacifist who left Germany for Canada in the 1950’s because he would not bear arms for Germany . Such people interest me rather than repelling me. I am also secure enough in my own ideology and theology, knowing for myself (whatever the Carl Meyers of the world may say) that I neither hate Jews or people of other races, and that I advocate supremacism of righteousness and grace alone, that I can listen to Ernst and Michael and consider what they are advocating on the merits alone, both regarding historical truth and theological truth.

Change of scenery for a moment: The person who does a videotaped interview of Lakota leader Alex White Plume in your former posting of South Dakota hears Alex referring to hemp as a “real savior” and that we need to show others that there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana. Mr. White Plume defends secret cultic ceremonies that can’t be shared with others; yes, he admits this is somewhat discriminatory, but says it would be “genocide” to prevent the Lakota from having their rituals. He says the Lakota people are “superior to all mankind” even though they are looked down on. And he is also an interesting person to be engaged, but the anonymous videotaper — you know him, don’t you? — is every bit as much a “promoter” of the views of Alex White Plume as I have been of views which I think are actually much closer than his to the historic views of our truth-telling Mennonite progenitors and the early Christians, battling — like Jesus did — the hypocrisy and predation and ethnocentrism of nascent rabbinic Judaism of their times.

Bruce