Boyd Cathey has been involved in several extremist movements, including "radical traditionalist Catholicism," Holocaust denial and the neo-Confederate movement. In the late 1970s, an extremist Catholic sect ordained Cathey, but he didn't maintain the faith and became a North Carolina state archivist shortly thereafter. In the first years of the 21st century, Cathey aided an extremist takeover attempt aimed at the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a Southern heritage group.
In His Own Words
"I fully recognize that anything I might say on this subject, at least dealing with Wagner, Judaism and Germany, whether reasonable or not, would probably get me exiled even deeper into the realms of the prejudiced unwashed. … [L]et me only recommend … a scholarly trilogy written by Professor Kevin Macdonald … A PEOPLE WHO SHALL DWELL APART, SEPARATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS, and THE CULTURE OF CRITIQUE, which deals with historic Judaism."
— An April 1999 posting to a CUNY listserv defending German composer Richard Wagner from charges of anti-Semitism and recommending the anti-Semitic works of Kevin MacDonald
"For over one hundred years the SCV [Sons of Confederate Veterans] has honored both the memory AND the ideals of the Confederate soldier, but historical memory alone is NOT the SCV's only role or that of other heritage organizations. The heritage movement is not just a ‘civil war roundtable' or a ‘history club.' It is rather a movement… . Like their forbears of 1860-1861, those engaged in the heritage struggle today see themselves in a direct line from Washington, Madison, Jefferson, and so many others, defending the same principles and the same inherited cultural legacy. They want only to live those same principles… ."
— 2004 article in the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens' Citizens Informer newsletter, defending racist SCV leaders
For three decades, radical right-wing activist and author Boyd Cathey has worked to bridge mainstream conservative politics and the far-right fringe worlds of Holocaust denial, extremist Catholicism, and racially tinged neo-Confederate causes.
As a young man, Cathey studied in Argentina, Spain and Switzerland at institutions run by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a "radical traditionalist Catholic" sect that was censured by the Vatican for refusing to comply with modern theological reforms (including reconciliation with Jews and other faiths), and Opus Dei, a far-right Catholic organization that long supported Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
According to an SSPX newsletter, Cathey was ordained in 1979 and went on to teach at the society's seminary in Ridgefield, Conn. Two years later, he landed a job at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, where he has worked ever since as an archivist in the Resource Management branch.
After taking his job as a state archivist, Cathey began cultivating ties to far-right journals and groups, starting with Southern Partisan magazine. Based in Columbia, S.C., Southern Partisan is effectively the journal of the hard-core neo-Confederate movement, a magazine once described by The New Republic as a "gumbo of racist apologias." It regularly publishes rants against homosexuality, feminism, affirmative action and multiculturalism, all while painting a rosy picture of the quality of life for African-American slaves in the pre-Civil War South.
Cathey's first article appeared in Southern Partisan in 1984 and was a lengthy profile of a Confederate war veteran who rebelled against industrialization in the post-bellum South. The same issue carried a column by another writer that read, "Negroes, Asians, and Orientals (is Japan the exception?); Hispanics, Latins, and Eastern Europeans; have no temperament for democracy, never had, and probably never will. ... It may be impolite and unpolitic to bring the subject up, but can our democratic system endure unless we close the frontiers to people who are not culturally and racially predisposed to honor its assumptions?"
The mastheads of subsequent issues of Southern Partisan — from 1984 to 1999 — variously identified Cathey as a contributor, editor, or senior adviser.
In 1988, Cathey was named North Carolina co-chair for the presidential campaign of anti-gay televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, who is known for espousing conspiracy theories involving Jewish bankers and Freemasons. Four years later, he became state campaign manager for white nationalist commentator Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.
During the 1992 Buchanan campaign, Cathey was exposed for having joined the editorial advisory committee of the Journal of Historical Review in 1989. That journal is published by the notorious Newport, Calif.-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR), arguably the world's leading Holocaust denial organization. IHR was founded by well-known anti-Semitic publisher Willis Carto. (At a July 2002 IHR conference, one of Cathey's fellow advisory committee members, French "researcher" Robert Faurisson, opened his lecture by decrying "the lie of the alleged Holocaust and the alleged gas chambers.")
As early as 1996, Cathey claimed that he had quit his IHR position. But seven years later, in 2003, the group's leader was still saying that Cathey was on IHR's advisory committee, and Cathey's name remained on IHR's website.
More recently, Cathey became a key player in the multi-year attempt by racist extremists to assume control of the Sons of Confederate Veterans heritage group. The takeover began when controversial neo-Confederate leader Ron Wilson was elected commander in chief of the SCV in August 2002. Following his election, Wilson purged some 300 members who criticized racism within the group, including the SCV's North Carolina public information officer. Wilson replaced that officer with Cathey, whom Wilson had earlier appointed to the SCV's executive council.
In June 2003, Cathey, propagandizing for extremist SCV members in the continuing internal battle for control of the organization, called for increased activism from its members. He also complained bitterly of the "immense numbers of ‘Yankees' and ‘Latinos'" who have moved to the South and "change[d] our society."
Though he appears to have been less active than in previous years, Cathey was listed online in 2011 as a member of the “academic board” of the neo-Confederate League of the South’s North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission. The Commission purported to remind North Carolinians that their state had been “forced out of the Union” to fight not for slavery but for “the American principle of self-government.”