Peter LaBarbera has spent more than 20 years on the hard edge of the religious right, ranging from a stint as a reporter for The Washington Times to a whole career as what he calls a “conservative critic of the homosexual activist movement.” He has been an official of far-right groups like Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, the Illinois Family Institute, and Accuracy in Media. The founder of the gay-bashing Lambda Report, LaBarbera is now president of Naperville, Ill.-based Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
LaBarbera is no friend of gay people, whose lifestyles he characterizes as “aberrant” and whom he accuses of working diligently to “penetrate” the schools. But up until now, he hasn’t relied on the help of radical anti-Semites.
That ended the other day when LaBarbera — who claims to operate “in a spirit of love and truth” — posted portions of an article by one Ted Pike (right), the Oregon-based reverend who heads the National Prayer Network and who was described by LaBarbera as simply a “pro-family advocate.” (Pike’s article described an April 12 encounter in Champaign, Ill., which ended with one college student charged with an anti-gay hate crime for attacking another.) Pike may or may not be pro-family — but he is most definitely anti-Jew, as reflected in his endless rants about the “Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress.” Last year, Pike said that the Jewish holy book, the Talmud, “is full of moral filth” and attacked mainstream Christian evangelical leaders for “carefully concealing the Jewish identity of those who corrupt Christian culture.”
Perhaps there’s a reason LaBarbera didn’t provide a link to Pike’s website.
Pike doesn’t go into his theories about “evil Jewish leadership” in his website posting. But right up there with the story in his site’s archives are headlines like these: “Jewish Media Corrupts Teen Girls,” “Jews Pressure Bush to Sign Hate Crime Bill.” “Jews Attack National Day of Prayer Committee,” and “Jews Behind ‘the Ten’.”
The incident that enraged both LaBarbera and Pike, the “pro-family advocate,” occurred on April 12, when University of Illinois student Steven Velasquez was walking with a group of friends. Another student, Brett VanAsdlen, yelled something at Velasquez and the two had a physical confrontation that ended with Velasquez hospitalized for a head injury overnight. Pike and LaBarbera claim to have spoken to the mother of VanAsdlen — who LaBarbera describes as “a strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” — and heard assertions that throw doubt on officials’ contention that Velasquez was victimized.
LaBarbera wasn’t the only activist who latched on to Pike’s essay. So did David Duke, the notorious neo-Nazi and former Klan leader, who posted the article on his website under this banner headline: “Zionist-Inspired ‘Hate Legislation’ Railroading Christian Teenagers in Illinois.”