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Photo by Jack GouldThe Reverend Robert Schuller has quietly told self-styled "interfaith leader" William Baker to vacate his Crystal Cathedral office. The order came after an investigation published in OC Weekly revealed that Baker, who runs Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), has a long history of anti-Semitic politics and held a leadership position in neo-Nazi organizations. The investigation also revealed that Baker had manufactured much of his alleged academic qualifications.
"We have separated ourselves from the CAMP ministry, and Mr. Baker will be off the campus as of May 31," a Crystal Cathedral spokesman said.
Sources at Crystal Cathedral stated that the decision was based largely on revelations made in OC Weekly ("Hour of White Power," Feb. 15). Soon after that story appeared, the Crystal Cathedral removed from the church's website a link to Baker's CAMP site, where Baker had peddled an anti-Semitic book titled Theft of a Nation.
Baker was chairman of the neo-Nazi Populist Party in 1984 and organized its national convention that year. The Populist Party was established and directed by Willis Carto, head of the now-defunct Liberty Lobby. The dean of American neo-Nazi politics, Carto also founded the Costa Mesa-based Institute for Historical Review, a group whose central purpose is Holocaust denial. In a written statement, Baker claimed he did not know the Populist Party was racist and that he never shared Carto's racist politics.
"I never supported the views of Willis Carto," he wrote. "I was chairman of the Populist Party for a short time and publicly resigned due to infiltration from various racist individuals and organizations."
The printed Populist platform introduced at Baker's 1984 convention included states'-rights provisions that would allow states to restore segregation laws and repeal the public-accommodations sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The platform also expressed a clear intention to create Nazi-style Nuremberg Laws: "The Populist Party will not permit any racial minority, through control of the media, culture distortion or revolutionary political activity, to divide or factionalize [sic] the majority of the society-nation in which the minority lives."
In addition, evidence supplied by the Anti-Defamation League shows that Baker delivered a 1983 speech to the racist Christian Patriot Defense League in Licking, Missouri, in which he made several references to Carto's neo-Nazi newspaper, Spotlight. He also described his disgust at traveling to New York: "God help me. Why? 'Cause the first people I meet when I get off the plane are pushy, belligerent American Jews."
According to Baker's former website, CAMP is a Laguna Hills-based nonprofit organization, a legal status that allows donors to deduct contributions from income taxes. But according to the state Registrar of Nonprofit Corporations, CAMP is not registered as a nonprofit with the agency or with the state Franchise Tax Board. While Baker claimed graduate studies at Oxford and the "Near East Institute," he could only substantiate a bachelor's degree from Ozark Christian College.