Organized Anti-Semitism in America: The Rise of Group Prejudice during the Decade 1930-40

By Donald S. Strong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
Defenders of the Christian Faith

The supreme need is a great sweeping revival, a spiritual awakening. Without it our doom is sealed! . . . I now affirm that America must choose between Revival and Revolution.

If we are to be spared the agonies of a bloody revolution, it will be because the Nation turns to God. . . . BACK TO GOD, BACK TO THE BIBLE, BACK TO RUGGED EVANGELISM THAT PUTS THE FEAR OF GOD IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE.

HERE is the basic creed of the Defenders of the Christian Faith. Although its membership is a mailing list, although its government is one man, this organization has taken it upon itself to deluge the nation with literature compounded of fiery Protestant Fundamentalism and bitter anti-semitism. Ever since 1925, when the organization was born, the Rev. Gerald B. Winrod, its founder, has been a foe of modernism in religion; but not until January (or February) 1933, did he discover that behind modernism -- and every other evil in the materialistic world -- was "Jewish Bolshevism."


LEADERSHIP

Winrod entered the ministry by following in the footsteps of his father. The elder Winrod spent his early life as a bartender in a Wichita saloon that was among the first to feel the wrath of Carrie Nation and her hatchet. During Carrie's raid, Winrod the elder looked on philosophically, making no effort to protect the property. He came to see the error of his calling abandoned it, and, eventually, became an evangelist. As he put it,1 "We [Mrs. Winrod and himself] felt directed to begin a distinctly evangelistic testimony in Wichita." Offspring Gerald, born in 1898, spent all his youth in Wichita. Early in his life he was taken in charge by a traveling evangelist, who tutored him for several years and made a "boy preacher" out of him. This is important to note, for Gerald Winrod has never had any formal theological training. His degree of D.D. is an honorary one conferred upon him in 1935 by the Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary. The president of that institution stated:

Our academic records show that on June 2nd, 1935, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon Gerald B. Winrod of Wichita,

-71-

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