In 1940, a group of armed, anti-Semitic Catholic militants were arrested by the FBI in Brooklyn and charged with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government.

All were members of the Christian Front, a radical rightwing group inspired by Catholic theology and galvanized by the preaching of notorious “radio priest” Fr. Charles Coughlin.

On this episode, we speak with Charles Gallagher, a historian at Boston College and author of the new book The Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front.

Gallagher’s work doesn’t just fill a major gap in our understanding of the history of Christian extremism. It tells a story about faith curdling into violence, one that holds important lessons for us today.

For further reading:

From the archives:

  • The Hypnotized,” a 1940 Commonweal editorial on the Christian Front trial
“The Christian Front is an embarrassment for two institutions: the Roman Catholic Church and the U.S. government.”—Charles Gallagher
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