The former Towson University student who made a name for himself spouting racist, anti-gay vitriol has thrown in the racist towel, for now at least.
You may remember Matthew Heimbach. In 2011, he presided over Youth for Western Civilization’s TU chapter. After that group was shut down in 2012(the faculty advisor jumped ship), he formed the White Student Union. Never officially recognized by the university, WSU counted several non-students among its members, who occasionally went hunting for “black-male-on-white-female crime” on the campus at night.
Eventually, WSU was supplanted by the far more ambitious Traditionalist Youth Network, a white supremacist group with a nationwide mission to post deeply confused essays on its blog and to start local chapters at high schools and colleges.
Currently, Matthew Heimbach finds himself in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was accepted into the Eastern Orthodox church on April 12. Less than two weeks later, he was photographed brandishing an Orthodox cross while he and fellow TradYouth member Thomas Buhls beat up an onlooker while protesting an anti-rape Slut Walk. Another Heimbach associate confirms that the cross was even used “as a weapon.”
As you probably could have guessed, the Orthodox church, a mainstream Christian denomination, doesn’t condone white nationalism. And its members had a pretty serious problem with one of its symbols being associated with racist bigotry.
At first, TradYouth boasted about the violent incident. After Heimbach’s parish priest threatened him with excommunication unless he “cease and desist all activities, both online, in print, and in person, promoting racist and seperationist [sic] ideologies, effective immediately,” Heimbach cohort Matt Parrott announced that he and Heimbach would be leaving the “project” for an indefinite length of time, “anywhere from a few days to permanent, depending on how things play out.”
While I’m not holding my breath waiting for Heimbach to do a 180, it seems that his recent religious conversion has marginally softened some of his views (he and Parrott no longer believe in “supremacism” per se), and I’m hopeful that he will continue to find inconsistencies in his misguided ideology.
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