Church Militant, a Catholic website and webcaster based in Michigan, has become the target of an effort by the Michigan People’s Defense Network (MPDN), which is a self-described “anti-racist, anti-fascist, action group dedicated to fighting all forms of oppression.” The Catholic group, which is led by founder Michael Voris, is organizing an August 4-6 men’s conference to be held in Detroit-suburbs Ferndale and Sterling Heights.

Church Militant editor-in-chief Christine Niles is preparing theological materials in advance of the planned conference, which is based on traditional Catholic teachings about masculinity and the responsibilities of men in society. She told Fox News “Police have reached out to both sides and will have patrol cars observing.” Niles said, “But we don’t know who the activists are associated with and we don’t know what will happen.”

The theological conference is titled “Strength and Honor” and offers “talks on the essential role of sacrificial masculinity of Catholic men to be good husbands and fathers” and offer to those attending the means to  “gain the spiritual and mental tools to be strong leaders among the faithful.”

According to the Michigan People’s Defense Network, because the conference is run by Church Militant exclusively for men, it supposedly it “promotes a hateful, anti-woman message.” MPN is looking for support to shut down the event.

According to an MPDN Facebook post that calls for activists’ support, “Many of the church’s points are lifted from or are identical to ‘men’s rights’ discourse, which focuses on reducing women’s agency and reproductive rights.’” The Facebook post added,  “The community will picket and protest to shut down the hateful messages spread at this conference.” The activists are being called to descend upon the meeting in Sterling Heights on August 5.

MPDN, as well as the similar Antifa groups nationwide, was founded in response to President Trump’s election. Arguing that his ascent to the presidency has “emboldened the most right-wing, racist elements and encouraged a culture of hate,” MPDN that it is “necessary to come out in defense of anyone under attacks by racists and fascists.” In their view, the Catholic Church, and Church Militant (which is not under the authority of the Catholic hierarchy), fits the bill. According to MPDN, “The church also peddles racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric, painting Muslim migrants and refugees as sexual predators.” It added, “As the radical Christian right rises in America, having supported Donald Trump’s campaign of hatred against the most marginalized, it is more vital than ever that the community stands against hate draped in a cross.”

In a statement, Church Militant argued: “The real bone of contention that MPDN has with Church Militant is not the spurious claims and lies it’s telling, but the positions we take on morality and decency.” Church Militant stated: “Church Militant is not a hate group; MPDN is the real hate group, trying to intimidate religious organizations into silence and shut down a conference meant to help men by fostering the virtues of humility, charity and sacrifice.”

Antifa protesters caused thousands of dollars in damage at University of California Berkeley when the group shut down a talk by gay provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Likewise, Antifa protesters were evident in Washington DC on Trump's inauguration day, engaging with police and incinerating a car. Scores of Antifa protesters have been arrested in multiple riots in Portland, Oregon, where they blocked traffic, set fires, and damaged public and private property. 

Antifa leader Yvette Felarca was arrested last week for being ring leader at a violent 2016 Sacramento protest, after video showed her punching a peaceful Trump supporter.

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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