An editorial in a recent edition of The Missourian, a regional newspaper in Missouri, lauded Pastor Herman Otten of Trinity Lutheran Church in most impressive terms (“Dedicated to God, Church” in the May 3, 2013 edition). After a long list of superlatives, the editor praises Otten, who is now retiring from his church, as a “dedicated shepherd of his congregation,” who taught, counseled, and made house visits to his flock of worshipers. The editor also reveals that Otten’s newspaper, Christian News, is in fact published by The Missourian.
This is shameful. Herman Otten may have been a devoted pastor, but he is also a devout anti-Semite. He has publicly stated that the Holocaust is a hoax, and has defamed Jewish religious texts. In the pages of Christian News, he reprints vile columns from other anti-Semites, who allege that Judaism condones pedophilia, and who claim that contemporary Jews are threatening our country. We now know that The Missourian is responsible for enabling this material to enter the homes of its readers.
Otten’s obsession with Jews has persisted throughout the years since his infamous speech at the Institute for Historical Review. He has published articles demonizing Judaism and its holy books in his Christian News Encyclopedia, which he frequently cites in his newspaper. In 2013 alone, he has denied the Holocaust in almost every issue of Christian News. A good example is the March 18, 2013 issue, in which he devoted several pages to the life and work of Doug Christie, the lawyer who defended Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and other anti-Semites in Canadian courts. Otten’s coverage of Christie’s death was shot through with Holocaust denial, including his contention that “the vast majority of Protestant churchmen, professors and pastors…lost their credibility because they insist that some six million Jews were exterminated, most of them in gas chambers, by the Germans during World War II.” In that issue he also championed the cause of Bishop Richard Williamson, who denies the Holocaust.
Otten also continues to publish columns by anti-Semites like Michael A. Hoffman II and Ted Pike. In the January 21, 2013 edition of Christian News he reproduced a column by Pike which stated that the threat of Arab or Muslim terrorism “pales compared to the threat of Talmudic Judaism and Jewish supremacism.” Pike says that Jews “facilitated communism, media domination, control of international banking and the U.S. Congress, as well as the proven ability to plunge America into multiple Mideast wars (sic).” He concludes with a call to “restrain [the Jews who] attempt to destroy everything and everybody standing in their way as they move relentlessly toward world empire.”
As I have said before, I understand that people may appreciate Herman Otten for the good work he has done in their lives, but religious leaders must be called to account when they disseminate hatred and bigotry. Otten’s legacy must record that for decades he has pumped anti-Semitism into the homes of all the readers of Christian News. Shame on The Missourian for publishing it. By continuing to do so, the editors facilitate the spread of hatred of Jews. As responsible community members they should cease doing so, and repudiate Otten’s views.
[Note: The Missourian should not be mistaken for the Columbia Missourian, which is published by the Missouri School of Journalism.]