YouTube Censors Videos Exposing Hagee's Pro-War & anti-Jewish Sermons
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:10:43 AM EST
Last week, on July the 1st, I received notice from YouTube that eight of my videos on YouTube's website had been taken down, allegedly for copyright violations. The videos included the notorious "God Sent Hitler" video which caused sufficient scandal, because it got shown widely on American and international TV, to force John McCain to renounce the political endorsement of Pastor John Hagee. JHM Ministries also targeted videos from Max Blumenthal, from People For The American Way and even from a Christian fundamentalist ministry critical of Hagee's "Prosperity Gospel" teaching. According to a Huffington Post story just posted by Sam Stein, in all over 120 videos were taken down at the request of John Hagee Ministries
The absurdity of the situation is such that Pastor John Hagee, in 2003, distributed through his nonprofit 501(c)(3) ministry a variant of the infamous anti-Jewish conspiracy theory, "The Protocols Of The Learned Elders Of Zion". In 1917, as described in Konrad Heiden's 1944 "Der Fuehrer: Hitler's Rise To Power" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1944) an anonymous man entered the the room of a young student then living in Moscow. The stranger placed a book on the student's reading table and left without a word.

That anecdote was told and retold by Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's propagandist and racial ideologue. Rosenberg maintained that the book left by the mysterious stranger played a pivotal role in the development of Rosenberg's political thought; the book was Russian Orthodox priest Sergei Nilus' 1905 "The Great within the Small and Antichrist, an Imminent Political Possibility. Notes of an Orthodox Believer" and, as an appendix to his book, Nilus included the first "full" version of the Protocols Of The Learned Elders of Zion. As forecast by Pastor John Hagee in a March 2003 sermon, Sergei Nilus also predicted that the Antichrist would be Jewish.

In the same 2003 trio of sermons, given March 9th, 16th and 23rd, which were later mass marketed by JHM Ministries and also probably broadcast, as all of Hagee sermons seem to be broadcast, on distribution networks that now in 2008 reach up to 100 million households around the world, pastor John Hagee not only declared that the Antichrist, which Hagee predicts to be immanent, will be German, a "blasphemer", gay and "partly Jewish - as was Adolf Hitler, as was Karl Marx", Hagee also proposed that an international satanic banking conspiracy, led by the Rothschild Banking family of Europe, was plotting to wreck the US economy by devaluing the US dollar. By requesting that YouTube take down my videos, and videos posted by scores of other parties, Pastor John Hagee and JHM Ministries has, in effect, claimed that Hagee's anti-Semitic hate-speech is protected by JHM's 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational license; JHM and Hagee are claiming, in effect, that the promotion of the worst sort of anti-Jewish propaganda is copyright protected under JHM's religious, "educational" mandate even though Hagee's claims are not derived from Biblical scripture.

Hagee himself, in the same March 2003 sermon in which he made such preposterous and viciously anti-Jewish claims, admitted that there's nothing in the Bible to support his claim that the Antichrist will be German, gay, a "blasphemer" and "partly-Jewish; it's not justified by the very Biblical scripture Hagee claims serves as the font of all his religious views. Whatever the actual technical nature of any legal argument over current copyright law is, Hagee's claim seems to violate the spirit if not the letter of the law.

Is Pastor John Hagee's promotion--of the concept of a coming gay, "Partly Jewish" Antichrist figure whom Hagee predicts will make Hitler "look like a choirboy" by slaughtering 1/3 of the Earth's population--appropriate to a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit ? If one argues that such a message is 'educational' then the question arises - well, what's the lesson ? Perhaps the didactic point is to demonstrate the continued existence of anti-Jewish animosity. But, such a lesson plan would be a bit tautological given that it would be perpetuating or even creating those attitudes.

It's hard to know how else to interpret pastor Hagee's promotion of a version of the notorious "Protocols" - if that's supposed to be educational, maybe the lesson is twofold - for American Jews it might be that they should consider fleeing the country while they still can. As a parallel educational track, perhaps Pastor John Hagee's claim that God sent Hitler and the Nazis, as "hunters", to persecute Europe's Jews and so drive them towards Palestine, where according to Pastor Hagee God really wanted them to live, as well as the pastor's forecast of a coming "partly Jewish", demonic and massively bloodthirsty world ruler and Hagee's promotion of a satanic Jewish banking conspiracy theory, are all part of an educational plan, on the part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit John Hagee Ministries, to convince Christian Americans that Jews are associated with the Devil, horribly bloodthirsty and also prone to engage in sneaky worldwide financial plots to get rich off hard-working peoples everywhere and, especially, through exploiting the American middle and lower economic strata least able to cope with fluctuations in currency values. But is fomenting viciously anti-Semitic views "educational" ?

The issues inherent to John Hagee Ministries' censorship, and the challenge it poses to the healthy functioning of American Democracy, are profound. Corporate charters, whether for profit or nonprofit corporations, are in theory at least granted by states or by the federal government and originally the idea was that corporate entities, which initially were granted charters of limited duration, would be granted corporate charters on the basis that their corporate mission would in some way serve the collective good.

The admixture of religion with non-profit corporate status can be, as illustrated by John Hagee Ministries' attempt at censorship, corrosive to democracy. Pastor John Hagee has, through JHM, engaged in extensive political speech but, with this recent attempt at squelching critical treatment of that political speech, Hagee has at the same time claimed immunity from criticism.

By acceding to the request of John Hagee ministries and censoring videos critical of Pastor John Hagee, Hagee's sermons, and CUFI YouTube has in effect agreed with John Hagee Ministries' assertion that JHM has copyright protection over Hagee sermons which promote heavily anti-Jewish slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories and which also serve as pro-war propaganda, militating for a US attack on Iran.

However, there are currently, on YouTube, probably over a hundred videos which feature the sort of footage that Hagee's lawyer claimed John Hagee Ministries had demanded YouTube pull because the videos violate JHM Ministry copyright. If you do a simple search on YouTube, on the name "Hagee", the 3rd video you'll get is a YoungTurks production which features my "God Sent Hitler" video in its entirety, but I don't consider that any infringement, on my own artistic claim to copyright, by the Turks because I suggested that they use my video in whatever way they wanted to - that was the point. Here it is:

A lawyer working for John Hagee Minstries has stated that the nonprofit Ministry asked YouTube to take down ALL video with footage that John Hagee Ministries might lay copyright claim to, but so far only a portion of all the YouTube videos with such Hagee footage have been removed from YouTube's website, and among those videos have been some of the most heavily educational, videos with the most structured analysis on Hagee's political and hate-speech and concerning Hagee's Christians United For Israel group and its events.

YouTube also pulled Max Blumenthal's and Thomas Shomaker's 10-minute mini-documentary that Blumenthal and Shomaker shot at the July 2007 Christians United For Israel Conference in Washington DC, and CUFI allowed Blumenthal and Shoemaker to shoot that footage - thus, Max Blumenthal has an extremely strong claim to co-ownership, with Thomas Shomaker, of the copyright to "Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United For Israel Tour". And, I feel I have strong fair-use claim to my videos that YouTube has erased from its site because 1) they were educational; most were, in effect, mini-documentaries advancing public awareness of the bigoted, anti-Jewish (and anti-Muslim) nature of Hagee's public speech and the extent to which Hagee's CUFI amounts to a pro-war lobbying group, and  2) I didn't derive profit from those videos.

Here are two more of my videos that Hagee and YouTube have censored:

A story from a news service called Cutting Edge News reported yesterday, July 7th, that:

In a statement to The Cutting Edge News on Independence Day, Hagee spokesperson Juda Engelmayer confirmed, "John Hagee Ministries, through its copyright attorneys, issued a request that YouTube remove any and all copyrighted materials belonging to John Hagee copyrights." He added, "The request was accepted.". . .

According to information obtained by The Cutting Edge News, Hagee's attorneys set forth criteria for videos to be removed by YouTube. These included: "1) Any and all pre-recorded material garnered from works owned and distributed by JHM or John Hagee Copyrights; 2) Any material depicting a JHM or John Hagee copyrighted service or performance of the service or sermon, and 3) Any material that is no longer free use material by having been effectively made into a derivative work using materials mentioned above."

Regardless of public statements from JHM ministry lawyer Englemayer, YouTube enforced JHM's alleged copyright protection highly selectively and so the question is: did Hagee's ministry provide YouTube with a specific list of videos to censor ? YouTube itself would have no reason to create such a selective list, which includes many of the most heavily viewed and controversial educational videos on Pastor John Hagee and CUFI.

I haven't yet been able to re-post another educational mini-documentary of mine, censored by Hagee/YouTube, in which I demonstrate, in factually and logically rigorous terms, that Pastor John Hagee lied to Jewish bloggers, in a 2007 conference call, by claiming that his support and the support of Christians United For Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with end-times prophecy and with Christian apocalyptic dispensationalist eschatological views.

John Hagee Ministries is claiming, in effect, that Hagee can disseminate political propaganda, hate-speech and even bald-faced lies which cannot be directly criticized because no one can directly show Hagee's 'copyright protected' political propaganda and hate-speech to a wider public. This amounts to a massive abuse of 501(c)(3) status - nonprofit, educational corporate status cannot and must not be a license for the promotion of factually dubious political propaganda and hate speech.

Should nonprofit 501(c)(3) ministries be able to distribute copyright protected material claiming that Jewish bankers rule the world and are plotting to attack America ? That's the claim Hagee's ministry seems to be making: under Hagee's nonprofit 501(c)(3) ministry Hagee can say just about anything - he could demand that Jew and Muslims be ground into hamburger or that the entire Middle East be nuked to vitrified glass and such speech, apparently, would be copyright protected. Should it be ? To ask is not to advocate censorship in any way but, rather, to raise the question as to whether or not such hateful political speech should be immune from public criticism which references the exact nature of that speech. And, should that speech be publicly subsidized ? Again, the question has nothing to do with censorship.

Regardless of the legal minutia, John Hagee Ministries is in effect claiming that John Hagee, for his 501(c)(3) "educational" nonprofit broadcast ministry can advocate for a US war with Iran, making highly fanciful claims about the alleged threat Iran poses, in sermons that get broadcast literally around the World (that reach up to 100 million households Globally), and assert that "God sent Hitler" to drive European Jews towards Palestine (where God really wanted them to live according to Hagee) and that Jews are not "spiritually alive" but that no one has a right to show what John Hagee is saying, and how he is saying it, to the rest of the world.

Indeed, though Hagee's ministry hasn't tried to suppress this video documentary of mine (yet) Hagee's claim of copyright infringement would seem to extend to my 10 minute documentary showing that in 2003 John Hagee gave a sermon, which Hagee's ministry then mass marketed, in which Hagee proposed that Jewish bankers (the European Rothschild family in fact) were plotting, as part of an international conspiracy, to attack American patriotism and wreck the American economy by devaluing the US dollar. In effect, Hagee's ministry is claiming that Hagee's promotion of a version of "The Protocols Of The Elders of Zion" is protected by copyright too.

In caving to the demands of John Hagee Ministries, YouTube has censored what clearly is political speech, and the absurdity of it includes the fact that John Hagee Ministries broadcast the "God Sent Hitler""Jews aren't Sprititually Alive" Hagee sermon literally around the world.

Furthermore, Hagee's Ministry currently sells the "God sent Hitler" sermon and the video version of the sermon is even more gratuitously offensive than simply the audio track of Hagee's "God Sent Hitler" sermon; in the video version of the "God sent Hitler" sermon, which Pastor John Hagee gave sometime between September 24, 2005 and January 1st, 2006 (in the sermon, Hagee mentions that the year is 2005 and also refers to Hurricane Rita - which made landfall Sept. 24, 2005), Hagee, while claiming the Nazis were "sent by God" to hunt down Europe's Jews, pantomimes before Hagee's church audience a Nazi holding a rifle and aiming it - at Jews. That would be "copyright protected" too, according to claims made by Hagee's ministry.

JHM Ministries has so refrained or neglected (so far at least) from censoring my 10-minute video documentary showcasing US Senator Joseph Lieberman's comparison, in a tribute the Connecticut Senator gave at Hagee's 2007 CUFI conference, of Pastor John Hagee to Moses. But in time the ministry may get around to it.

He titled his book about the Protocols "Warrant for Genocide," as indeed the book was. John Hagee is unfortunately seeing to it that the book's message spreads.

by khughes1963 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:56:06 PM EST
Sergei Nilus and John Hagee both maintained the allegedly coming AntiChrist would be Jewish, or partly Jewish.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:35:07 PM EST

is already backfiring.  Let's make sure that it continues.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:02:18 PM EST
On a related note, this attack on PCUSA, for alleged anti-Semitism, seems ill-founded to me in light of Hagee's antics

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:32:39 PM EST

Youtube, unfortunately, does have a well-documented history of caving to complaints by groups attempting to stifle particular, caving in to "DMCA SLAPPs" by coercive religious groups in general attempting to stifle criticism.

Among others, Bill Gothard, Kent Hovind, and the Church of Scientology are those who've attempted to send "DMCA SLAPPs" to groups demanding that supposedly "copyrighted material" (which is quoted in the context of fair use, or is part of publically available court records, or (in Hovind's case) was even explicitly placed in the public domain) that happened to be critical of the group be removed.  

Scientology's use of the tactic isn't surprising, largely because they pretty much originated the tactic of the "DMCA SLAPP" in order to shut down not only persons distributing potentially damaging material but entire conduits of promotion; the pseudonymous mail service (and its attendant email-to-Usenet gateways) were shut down in the mid-90s primarily because of an early "DMCA SLAPP" of this sort.  The use of the tactic is relatively new among dominionist groups, however...and can be seen as a rather disturbing sign that, more and more, they are taking on more overt characteristics of coercive religious groups in actively attempting to stifle data.

What I suspect may be necessary--and is an approach that has been explicitly taken re material critical of Hovind as well as with material critical of CoS--is a "mass mirroring" project.  The main reason material critical of CoS and Hovind still exists, despite SLAPPs and misuse of copyright law in attempts to squelch critical info, is because of mass-mirroring projects, including in jurisdictions where SLAPPs and DMCA takedown notices may not be so effective.   (The Netherlands, of note, is a particularly safe area if archives are needed; does have fairly cheap hosting services, strict privacy regs re accounts, and has in fact not only won judgements against Scientology but has set court precedent in the Netherlands that makes these sorts of abuses of copyright law a non-issue in that country.)

Not only should "mass mirroring" be encouraged on Youtube itself, but preferably also on other online sites hosting video (among them, Google Videos and seem to be is in particular seen as a potential competitor to Youtube, especially in regards to hosting content censored from Youtube).

This is an area you probably want to talk to people who've had prior experience with dealing with "DMCA SLAPPs" and Youtube.  For starters, such things have been reported on at (and they'd definitely be able to point you to alternate hosting sites and even organise a mass-mirror campaign); Rational Responders (who have dealt with similar "DMCA SLAPPage" from Kent Hovind) and (who've dealt with much of the same from the Scientologists) can probably give some helpful pointers as well (heck, I know that at least some folks on the forums who have explicitly expressed interest in expanding the "Anonymous" protest campaign to dominionist groups after CoS's tax exemption is revoked, and I do think that their experience could be useful).

by dogemperor on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 11:43:59 PM EST

There are multiple additional options for mass distribution/archival that would be difficult to shut down in practice:

a) Torrents.  This method of mass-mirroring is already popular among anti-CoS protesters and has also been used by Rational Responders to distribute material critical of Hovind.

b) Distribution via other P2P programs.

c) Sending copies of the relevant videos, etc. to Wikileaks. was and is designed to be relatively robust against attempts at both private and governmental censorship (including wide mass mirroring, archiving on anonymising systems such as Tor and Freenet, location of its central contact addresses in jurisdictions where SLAPPs and governmental takedown notices are not likely to be effective and which have strong protection laws re privacy) and has successfully fought off at least one lawsuit which was aimed at shutting down the site (and has fought off attempts at SLAPPs by Scientology as well).

And yes, Wikileaks eats up this kind of stuff :D

by dogemperor on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:02:54 AM EST

It sounds to me as though Hagee is using the "educational" flim-flam to hide his real concern: making money off the DVD sales, which, as a 501-3C, is something he can do but I'm sure would smack some as "unseemly". After all, churches aren't in the business of making money on "God's Word", are they?

I agree with the previous posters who advocate for wide distribution regardless of Hagee's protests. The more people know the truth, the better we can counteract the hatred.

by RevRuthUCC on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 10:17:07 PM EST

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