Robert Bruce Spencer, an ordained Catholic deacon at Our Lady of the Cedars Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights organiations as a "hate group leader."
His writing, which targets Muslims and the religion of Islam, was cited extensively by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who digested Spencer's views on Islam and slaughtered 77 people, mostly youth.
Robert Spencer is one of the individuals behind the inflammatory anti-Muslim metro and bus ads in New York, California, and Washington.
His organization, Stop the Islamization of America, was refused a trademark by the Federal Government because the group engaged in what the government deemed "hate speech."
As Catholics and people of all faiths, we believe that our religious traditions deserves better. We believe that Mr. Spencer's constant provocations and inflammatory comments about Muslims and their religious beliefs, as well as his associations with radical nationalist groups such as the English Defence League, cast a negative and unncessarily poor light on Our Lady of the Cedars church, the Melkite Catholic tradition, and the religion of Catholicism.
We also believe that Deacons and clergy should represent the loving spirit of God and that they have a responsibility to build bridges with people of other faiths, not burn them. We recognize that while we may have faith differences with our brothers and sisters in other traditions, those differences must be respected.
Clergy must not engage publically in confrontational battles, ideological or political, and prejudice has no place in our tradition.
We call of the Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas J. Samra and the Eparchy of Newton to carefully examine the biography of Robert Bruce Spencer, his remarks about Muslims, his blog Jihad Watch, his associations with such groups and individuals as the English Defence League and Pamela Geller, his status as a "hate group leader" and his connections to the mass murderer Anders Breivik.
We call on the Eparchy to remember that Catholics were once subjected to religious prejudice and discrimination and thus they (and especially not their clergy) should be know of its harmful effects, and the pain caused by those who fearmonger and stereotype.
We call on the Eparchy and Bishop Samra to remove Robert Bruce Spencer as a Deacon of the Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire. We pray that the Church will hold firm its moral obligation to be a beacon of hope and light, not division and mistrust.