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Hal Shurtleff: John Birch Society responds to Gazette column on book ‘Wrapped in the Flag’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this guest column, Hal Shurtleff, represents the John Birch Society from an office in West Roxbury. He is responding to a column by John Sheier, “Wrapped in extremism,” that appeared Aug. 12. Sheirer’s piece, which is archived at GazetteNET, focused on a book about the society by the child of two of its founding members.

Sheirer, in his review and commentary on the newly published book “Wrapped in the Flag” by Claire Conner, accused the John Birch Society of “fabricating communism” and seeing communists “lurking under every shadow,”

No doubt, Sheirer looks for right-wing extremists lurking behind every shadow. History has vindicated us. I would recommend “The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors.” The society doesn’t have its own “twisted” versions of the Constitution and Christianity. It is made up of men and women from all religious backgrounds — Jew, Protestant and Catholic alike. As for a twisted version of the Constitution, the society believes in the doctrine of original intent. But I suppose to a progressive, such a view is indeed “twisted.”

Sheirer writes that we are “virulently opposed to immigration, homosexuality, civil rights, Social Security, public education and pretty much any government action to help American citizens.” He still believes that government bureaucrats want to help Americans and he calls us wingnuts.

The society opposes illegal immigration and amnesty. We believe homosexuality is a sin and redefining marriage is wrong. We believe that in the name of civil rights, the United States government justified such unconstitutional acts as forced busing, set-aside programs and hiring quotas that have set race relations backward.

We believe that the U.S. government should not be in the financial planning business and that Social Security should be slowly phased out. Since the U.S. Constitution doesn’t grant the federal government any power regarding public education, the Department of Education should be abolished.

Sheirer claims that the John Birch Society reveres big business. The reality is that the society is against monopoly capitalism which many big business advocates support. Has Sheirer written any columns exposing the green capitalists that get taxpayer money from the government to fight non-existent man-made global warming, or the fact that Goldman Sachs would have been given a monopoly over the sale of carbon credits had Congress gone along with the scheme?

Of course not. So he is in favor of some big business. I am certain that Sheirer’s fellow progressives have no qualms about taking money from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. While I have never met members of the family of the author Claire Conner, I have friends who knew them and held them in high regard.

Sheirer said that the Conner family was “dysfunctional.” Progressives see families that adhere to Christianity and Patriotism as dysfunctional. But if he wants to find dysfunction, he needs to look into the families of his fellow progressives. I would recommend the book “My Life without God” by William O’Hair, son of atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

He referred to Robert Welch as “infamous.” He wasn’t infamous to the thousands who knew him, to his two sons who cherish his memory and to his numerous grandchildren. Sheirer made reference to sex scandals. The John Birch Society is made up of men and women and therefore make mistakes. Of course, members of the John Birch Society, unlike progressives who believe character doesn’t matter, stand for moral principles and values and believe people should be held accountable.

The columnist made reference to “white supremacist Revilo Oliver.” Professor Oliver had his membership revoked and he became a bitter foe of the society because it didn’t adhere to his racist and anti-Semitic views. The society also revoked the membership of presidential candidate John Schmitz, who Sheier also mentions.

Sheirer writes that “Conner does her readers the essential service of showing the connections between the John Birch Society and today’s right-wingers.”

The John Birch Society’s influence does indeed go well beyond our membership base. Many of our members are actively involved in various tea party groups, and we have taken a leadership role against Agenda 21 and many other issues.

Readers who would like information about the society are welcome to contact me at 12 March Ave., West Roxbury, MA 02132, or they can visit our website, www.jbs.org.

Hal Shurtleff wrote on behalf of the John Birch Society.

Legacy Comments2

Unfortunately, space limitations here prevent a serious rebuttal of the numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations contained in Hal Shurtleff's column. However, anybody interested in a detailed understanding of the poisonous falsehoods circulated by the Birch Society over the past 5 decades may review my 184-age online report about the JBS which is based, primarily, upon FBI investigative files and military intelligence reports. See: https://sites.google.com/site/ernie124102/jbs-1 With respect to Revilo P. Oliver, Hal claims that Oliver had his membership "revoked". That, too, is a falsehood. Oliver resigned from the JBS and Mr. Welch traveled to Oliver's home in Urbana IL to encourage him to reconsider. Furthermore, despite the fact that Oliver's racist and anti-semitic sentiments were long-standing and well-known, Welch had described Oliver, a year prior to his resignation, as "an authentic genius of the first water, and quite possibly the world’s greatest living scholar.”

Hal Shurtleff's column is filled with factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. EISENHOWER According to Hal, the JBS never called President Eisenhower "a communist sympathizer". Robert Welch's book-length "private letter" explicitly identified Eisenhower as a Communist traitor. In 1959 and 1960, Mr. Welch used his "private letter" to recruit members into the JBS. In other words, it was the position of Welch that prospective members should read and believe the substance of The Politician and then join the JBS to do something about "the conspiracy of gangsters" which Welch contended was revealed in the pages of The Politician.

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