Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Father Coughlin

May 6, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Voltaire was an outspoken champion of tolerance but when he was exposed to ridicule through an unfortunate financial transaction at Potsdam in which a Jewish banker was also involved, he became bitter and hostile towards all Jews. Personal revenge and vindictiveness have all too frequently motivated the animus of the Jew-balter.

We wonder whether Father Coughlin is not on the way to become a first rate anti-Semite goaded by a similar private resentment. Father Coughlin has been a strong advocate of the remonetization of silver. He believes that at the root of all our economic misfortunes is the Gold Standard. Many share his belief. However, he was not content merely to preach his silver gospel. He was so sure that President Roosevelt was about to remonetize silver, (Father Coughlin’s “The New Deal in Money,” p. 38) that he had his radio guild buy five hundred thousand ounces of silver on a ten per cent margin. In other words he speculated in silver. Father Coughlin is, of course, opposed to stock speculation-generally speaking. So are we all. But, says he, he relied on President Rosevelt’s word to increase commodity prices-and so there was no element of speculation in what he did… The Father had evidently forgotten his own words of admonition. “If the American people prefer to be hypocrites by gambling on the stock market, that is not necessarily the fault of the President.” (Father Coughlin’s “Radio Discourses” 1931-32, p. 124.)

Father Coughlin speculated in silver and unfortunately the Treasury Department found it expedient to make public the names of the large owners of silver stocks-and the name of his radio league was among them. The Father has accordingly been exposed to sharp and painful criticism. Men are saying many unkind things about him. It is suggested that his ardent championing of silver was not altogether an act of disinterested humanitarianism. Now, who is to blame for this public discomfiture of the good Father? The Secretary of the Treasury, of course. And who is he? Why it is Mr. Henry Morgenthau Jr.-a Jew!

This is a fortunate break for Father Coughlin-the fact that Mr. Morgenthau is a Jew. One can now easily distract the attention of people from the real issue-by dragging the red herring of anti-Semitism across its path. Father Coughlin lost no time in encasing himself in the shining silver armor of Christian righteousness in moral combat against the satanic gold hosts of international Jewry.

“Mr. Henry Morgenthau Jr., secretary of the treasury, has completed his clumsy effort to protect the gold advocates, the Federal Reserve bankers and the international bankers of ill-repute.”…

“It was expected of Mr. Morgenthau and will still be expected of him to prevent any silver legislation for the ultimate benefit of 1,000,000,000. Orientals who from time immemorial have identified their trade and commerce with Gentile (sic!) silver and especially for the benefit of the American people who today are in bondage to the gold controllers.”

“If he were astute he would have investigated the profiteers in the gold transactions. Through our process of revaluation we simply multiplied by billions of dollars the gold in the hands of the internationalists-the European Warburgs, the Rothschilds and the rest of that group-who are the financial Dillingers of world control and internationalism.”

“The financial caliphs of today who follow the prescription of the elder Rothschild when he said ‘Give me the gold and I will control the world,’ cared little for anyone be he poverty-stricken Jew or the unsuspecting Gentile, save themselves.”

Please note that silver has now been baptized by Father Coughlin and has become a “Gentile” metal. Gold, presumably, remains a circumcized Jewish metal… One recalls the distinction made by the Nazi Gottfried Feder between “loan” capital and “industrial” capital, in an effort to explain why the capital of “Aryans” was “kosher” while the capital of Jews was “trefa.”

Please note too that among the malefactors who are opposed to the remonetization of silver-the financial Dillingers-only the names of Jews are mentioned, whereas up to the time of the expose, Father Coughlin used to mention in his radio addresses quite a number of Gentiles, chief among whom was J. P. Morgan. It was J. P. Morgan who was the chief conspirator-up to two weeks ago. It was the Federal Reserve Bank that was opposed to “our foresaking the Gold Standard,” that was “adverse to the revaluation of gold”… that “thrives upon war bonds, foreclosed mortgages and misery”… And this Federal Reserve Bank was “inspired by the House of Morgan, the hired and able servant of the British Empire” (“The New Deal in Money,” p. 30). But now it is only the “European Warburgs, the Rothschilds and the rest of that group” who are mentioned and who are charged with seeking world control and with exploiting the “unsuspecting Gentile.”

There is much more than a trace in all this of classic anti-Semitic propaganda and of the evil odor of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”; and we wonder how long it will be before Father Coughlin will be broadcasting to his radio audience stories of gigantic secret plots of world Jewry to destroy Christendom and to dominate the world. Father Coughlin must surely know that the “Jewish plan for world dominion through the domination of all countries by international high finance” is the king-pin argument in Nazi Jewbaiting. Is that the reason why, to our best knowledge, he has not raised his voice even once during the whole of last year in protest of the horrors and cruelties of the Hitler regime?…

One is amazed that a Catholic priest, who knows to what infamous slander and libel his own church is frequently submitted in this country and elsewhere, would abuse his office, his gifts and his powers by giving utterance to such false and dangerously provocative expressions. Is he not aware that the Catholic Church and the Pope are as often the targets of the same sort of innuendos and conspiracy-charges as are the Jews?

When the Protestant Bishop James Cannon Jr., Dry leader, was indicted for misappropriation of campaign funds, he quickly drew the red herring across his trail by proclaiming to the world that he was the victim of a Roman Catholic conspiracy. And Father Coughlin rose in righteous wrath to repudiate this infamous charge: “Decent citizens are just about surfeited by such lying implications,” he said. (“Radio Discourses,” p. 29.)

And now Father Coughlin himself is guilty of the self-same crime of bearing false witness against his neighbor, of appealing to latent racial and religious prejudices and of trying to obfuscate a situation in which he is unfortunately involved-by means of laying down a poison-gas barrage of anti-Semitic insinuations.

“Greed must go and charity must remain,” proclaims Father Coughlin in one of his sermons. We agree. May we suggest, however, that charity should begin at home even as greed frequently does…

Recommended from JTA