Friday, August 31, 2018

#2064: Preston Noell III and the TFP

Preston Noell III is the Chicago bureau director the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) –  a Catholic extremist, fundamentalist, pseudo-military, anti-gay group linked to Brazilian neo-fascists; the American branch is one of many autonomous national TFPs that together claim to form “the world’s largest anticommunist and antisocialist network of Catholic inspiration”, a “counter-revolution” to combat “The Protestant ‘Pseudo-Reformation’ and its rejection of religious authority and inequality,” the “‘Enlightenment’” and “its rejection of temporal authority, in particular the King and nobility”, any “rejection of economic inequality”, as well as communism’s attempts “to eradicate the Church and Christian civilization while […] implementing neo-paganism” (they seem to have read Marx somewhat cursorily). The American TFP accordingly campaigns for gun rights, capitalism, war and theocracy, but as a group it is perhaps even better defined by the long list of things they oppose, including “contraception, abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, the social acceptance of homosexual practice, anti-discrimination laws” of the kind “that give homosexuals a privileged status” [i.e. that actually protects them from discrimination], “homosexual adoption; domestic partnerships, civil unions, and same-sex ‘marriage’, transgenderism,” as well as “homosexual films, theater plays [and] events;” moreover “pro-homosexual clubs on Catholic college campuses [apparently a particularly sore point], public blasphemy, nudism, socialist childcare, socialist healthcare, socialist allocation of federal waters,” and anything that smacks of communism according to how they define communism, which seems to be more or less as whatever they don’t fancy at any particular point for whatever reason. Moreover, they are opposed to “progressivism, liberation theology, […] the enactment of State laws forcing clergy to violate the seal of Confession in cases of child abuse [militant Catholics, remember], […] the ecological movement, pacifism, imprudent [any, really] nuclear disarmament and the Occupy Wall Street movement.” You cannot really parody a group like this. And yes, its arguments against gay marriage are the common ones: gay marriage is an attack on Christianity, “an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment” (an Amendment they explicitly don’t support themselves anyways, as spelled out in the above list), is extremely intolerant (therefore homosexuality should be banned), and poisons “the soul of America”. The arguments are light on the hows, beyond theological handwaving and red-baiting.

The TFP is possibly most famous for Noell’s America Needs Fatima campaign, which apparently visits private homes with a four-foot statue of Mary, opposes all the stuff mentioned above, and focuses in particular on protesting movies, shows and art Noell doesn’t like, including (a small sample) The Da Vinci CodeThe Crime of Father AmaroDogmaJerry Springer: The Opera and the A Fire in My Belly art show.

Diagnosis: Profoundly silly and rather scary at the same time. A bit like Pennywise. In all manner of respects, really. 

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