Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrott, the founders of the white supremacist Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), have decided to take a sabbatical from their activities. The two took this step after the priest of the Orthodox Christian church they belong to publicly released a statement on April 29 saying that Heimbach must “cease and desist all activities, both online, in print, and in person, promoting racist and separationist ideologies….”
The same priest earlier that month had overseen Heimbach’s communion in the Orthodox Church. Although it is unclear where Parrott stands in terms of his own communion, he and Heimbach have both apparently chosen to take time off from their activities at the request of the priest. On the TYN site, Parrott writes that he and Heimbach do not know if their leave of absence will be temporary or permanent.
Parrott and especially Heimbach have openly talked about their religious beliefs on the TYN blog. Their priest noted that he made the communion a public issue because Heimbach “makes inflammatory public statements in the name of the Orthodox Faith.” Both Heimbach and Parrott ostensibly see their white supremacist beliefs as compatible with their vision of Christianity. Though the two are racist and anti-Semitic, Parrott has tried to justify their views by claiming they have no ill will towards other religious and ethnic groups.
It is unclear how Parrott and Heimbach plan to spend their sabbatical. Even after Heimbach’s priest asked him to cease activities and do penance to be received back into the Orthodox communion, Heimbach participated in a demonstration led by the racist League of the South (LOS) in Washington, DC, on May 1. LOS had only recently allowed Heimbach back into the group after kicking him out in October 2013 for taking part in a neo-Nazi event. A week before the LOS DC event, Heimbach attended the white supremacist American Renaissance conference in Tennessee. In addition, TYN continues to function as a group, despite Heimbach and Parrot’s leave.
The reaction from the white supremacist community has been somewhat mixed, with most people supporting Heimbach and Parrott’s sabbatical while the two figure out their next moves. One well-known white supremacist, Greg Johnson, who runs the online white supremacist publication Counter-Currents, has attacked Heimbach and Parrott for abandoning the white supremacist cause for the sake of Christianity. Others, like Brad Griffin, aka Hunter Wallace, who runs the racist Occidental Dissent blog, believe that Heimbach and Parrott will be able to reconcile their racist views with Christianity and make a full return to the white supremacist movement.