A Naval Officer and an AntiSemite

Not exactly an "Officer and a Gentleman" from what is reported by the Navy Times. Mr. Sharpe appears to run some white supremacist web sites: "The Legion of St. Louis (LSL) and IHS Press -- two of the most nakedly anti-Semitic organizations in the entire radical traditionalist Catholic pantheon (SPLC)."

Officer target of Navy inquiry

Lt. cmdr. denies accusations of anti-Semitism
By Andrew Scutro - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 18, 2007 14:01:58 EDT

Norfolk, Va. — Lt. Cmdr. John Sharpe Jr. looks like a naval officer sent straight from central casting in Hollywood: A fit-looking, gregarious 1993 Naval Academy graduate with short blond hair and eyeglasses, he looks just his part as public affairs officer aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

But in his off-duty hours, Sharpe operates Web sites that have landed him in a brewing controversy in this singularly Navy town. Accused of being an anti-Semite, he was temporarily relieved of his duties March 7 and is now under investigation for allegedly violating Navy regulations against supremacist activities. An editorial in The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot on March 15 slammed Sharpe, calling his ideas “crazy” and “dangerous.”

Sharpe and his Web sites are on a “dirty dozen” list of anti-Semitic organizations compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that tracks racism, hate groups and organized crime. His relief came after a reporter for PortFolio Weekly, a Norfolk-area alternative newspaper, saw his name in a law center newsletter article and asked the Navy about his activities.

Sharpe acknowledges that he operates the Web sites, but denies the charge that he is anti-Semitic.

“I am just trying to be a good Catholic as I see it,” he said in an interview.

The law center accuses Sharpe of writing anti-Semitic dispatches on the Internet, defending Holocaust deniers and attending “white pride” gatherings.

Heidi Beirich, a law center investigator who has focused on Sharpe, said he is a “radical traditionalist Catholic” who believes that Jews, Masons and others have conspired to undermine the Roman Catholic Church for the past 300 years.

She called a 2005 speech she saw Sharpe give “quite the anti-Zionist screed,” and said she witnessed him selling books at a gathering of a group, known as “American Renaissance,” that welcomes activists to “help the cause of whites,” according to its Web site.

Sharpe admits to attending the gathering but claims little knowledge of the group, describing it as perhaps “the white man’s version of the NAACP.” He defended his selling books at the event, and added that he has sold books at a meeting of progressive Democrats.

Beirich scoffed at Sharpe’s apparent ignorance of American Renaissance.

“Literally next to him, in the next booth, was a guy selling ‘White Power’ T-shirts,” Beirich said. “You had to be an idiot not to know where you were.”

Beirich said she knew Sharpe graduated from Annapolis but did not know he was still on active duty.

“I assumed he was long gone from the military,” she said.

Sharpe denies any ill will.

“I don’t hate anyone,” he said in an interview.

“I have no anti-Semitic views. I have no association with groups that have anti-Semitic views.”

But two Web sites run by Sharpe suggest otherwise.

One is IHS Press, a nonprofit firm directed by Sharpe that reprints and sells books by early-20th-century authors, such as Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, mostly on Catholic subjects. He admires their views that embrace an economic system of self-reliance that offered a so-called “third way” from capitalism and socialism.

But another Web site run by Sharpe — and friends, he says — called the Legion of St. Louis contains a book list that includes a large number of anti-Semitic titles, such as “Strange Gods of Judaism,” “The Jews,” and “The International Jew.”

Sharpe claims his interest lies in the old economic theories and “the competition in the marketplace of ideas” that often pits one religious outlook against another.

He said he sees the world as a struggle between the doctrine of the Catholic Church and secular forces.

“These two worldviews have been in competition for a long time, especially since the Reformation,” he says. “And that’s the beginning and the end of it.”

The IHS Press, which Sharpe runs from his home, touts itself as “the only Catholic Publisher dedicated exclusively to the Social Doctrine of the Church.”

The Legion of St. Louis site contains several essays Sharpe says he wrote. They include a series of commentaries about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and an article titled “Judaism and the Vatican: Part II,” in which he wrote: “On the socio-political front, do those leading the Church realize that to preach against anti-Semitism — on Jewish terms — is not to condemn irrational hatred based on race or creed?” The article concludes with the admonition from one of Sharpe’s intellectual heroes, who said that “every sane thinker should be an anti-Semite.”

About Sept. 11, he wrote: “Anti-terrorism would not be a question of a better luggage X-ray machine, but ... better still, how to declare war on Islam and wage at the same time a war of independence on behalf of the U.S. government and the world financial system against international Judeo-Masonry.”

“I had my own take on the whole World Trade Center thing,” he said. “It’s nothing I can say I am ashamed to have written. It’s all things I think. It’s very valid.”

In an interview, Sharpe disavowed any interest in the Holocaust.

“I’ve tried to avoid it like the plague because it’s an area of interest I don’t want to get into,” he said.

But in the same article referenced above, he wrote: “That event, dubbed The Holocaust, is the focal point for the Jews insofar as it can be used to ensure that Christian civilization will never rise again ... because of the unacceptable consequences of its previous existence.”

Yet while denying that he espouses anti-Semitic theories, Sharpe stands by his articles.

“All I can say is what I’ve written is what I believe,” he said.

“I have never written, said or uttered any of the standard supposed anti-Jewish positions, that Jews run the banks, they are the lawyers and they run the newspapers. I’ve never said any of that,” he said. “Because of my convictions, I look at modernity, I look at things the way a Catholic would see things.”

Ironically, however, Sharpe’s “Judaism and the Vatican: Part II” article challenges the very leadership of the Catholic Church. The article criticizes a statement by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was then the chief theologian of the church and is now Pope Benedict XVI.

Stephen Neill, a spokesman for the Diocese of Richmond, Va., said neither he nor the diocesan theologian had ever heard of Sharpe or his publishing firm.

“He’s making claims he speaks as an official of the Catholic Church, and he does not,” Neill said.

Sharpe is now on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Navy’s investigation. He said he would gladly continue serving if his religion and politics are not an obstacle to the Navy.

“I don’t think the Navy has a dog in this fight,” he said.

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