Press Release for Thursday, October 3, 2013
The FBI, Father Charles Coughlin and Militant Anti-Semitism in America
Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
Charles Gallagher, S.J., assistant history professor at Boston College, will discuss "The FBI, Father Charles Coughlin and Militant Anti-Semitism in America: Prosecuting the Christian Front"at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the University of North Florida's Adam W. Herbert University Center, Building 43, Banquet Hall, as part of the College of Arts and Sciences Pre-Law Lecture Series.
The 1940 Christian Front case, John T. Prout Jr. v. United States, involved an alleged plot by a small group of American Catholic anti-Semites who saw violence as a legitimate response to a rising tide of "Judeo-Bolshevism" in the United States. Gallagher argues that the plot marked the first time in the modern era that the U.S. government identified religiously motivated individuals as "terrorists."
He suggests that the Front case materialized precisely at a time when the U.S. government was struggling to find an adequate counterterrorism paradigm and that the case shifted "terror" away with labor radicalism and sedition to a new strategy that based prosecution of alleged terrorists on intent and conspiracy-a strategy that had held firm through the 9/11 era.
Prior to becoming a Jesuit priest and a history professor, Gallagher was the archivist for the Diocese of St. Augustine. His work on Martin Luther King Jr. and the St. Augustine march has appeared in the Florida Historical Quarterly. In 2008, he published the "Vatican Secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII," which won the John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association. He is currently writing a book examining the role of U.S. counterintelligence and the American Catholic Church prior to and during World War II.
Gallagher went to Boston College from the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations in 2010, where he was a visiting fellow, teaching undergraduate and doctoral courses on religion and international relations. His interests include American Catholicism, papal diplomacy, international relations, the Holocaust and intelligence history.
For more information about this lecture, which is free and open to the public, contact Dr. David Courtwright, UNF history professor, at (904) 620-2886 or at
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