The Religious Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous|
and the Twelve Steps
by A. Orange
Chapter 23: Death of a Salesman;
Peter Howard Takes Over
Frank Buchman in 1960
The MRA followers continued to drop out and desert.
In 1935, 10,000 followers had gathered at "Hamlet Castle"
(Kronborg Castle) in
and in 1939 the Buchmanites had
bragged that 15,000 people attended
their New York City house party at Madison Square Garden (the
New York Times reported 12,000),
and that 30,000 people attended their Hollywood Bowl rally,
but by 1961 Moral Re-Armament was reduced to bragging that
1000 people had attended their World Assembly at Caux,
"The Movement" was dying out.
More and more, the MRA press releases were obituaries of the
leaders and long-time faithful, rather than cheery news of the
explosive growth of
OF M.R.A. IS DEAD
Founder of International
Spiritual Drive Was 83
Special to The New York Times.
BONN, Germany, Aug. 8 — Dr. Frank Buchman, founder of
the Moral Re-Armament movement, died last night of a
heart attack at Freudenstadt in southern Germany.
He was 83 years old.
Dr. Buchman died in the same Black Forest hotel in
which, according to his writings, he conceived the idea
of founding a world-wide movement for the spiritual
improvement of mankind. ...
The New York Times, August 9, 1961, page 1.
When Frank Buchman died in 1961, in Freudenstadt, Germany,
one of his disciples, Peter Howard, took over the leadership of
Moral Re-Armament, but he only lived for a few more years himself.
Still, Peter Howard managed to promote the same hateful insane ultra-Right-wing
philosophy of MRA during what little time he had remaining. He
wrote and published a book, Britain and the Beast,
which, among other things, continued the attacks on homosexuals.
Howard devoted two whole chapters, out of the 14 chapters in his book,
to attacking homosexuals.
In the chapter titled "Queens and Queers",
Howard complained bitterly about a Sunday sermon that he had heard
on the radio which preached tolerance and charity towards homosexuals:
Homosexuals use such broadcasts to justify their ways.
They protest that they are not propagandists. But it is a lie.
(Homosexuals tell many lies. It is part of their retreat and cover from life.)
They try to make others homosexual to ease the sting of their uncertainty.
It is this propagandizing of the homosexuals as well as their mutual protection
that creates the close-knit confraternity of the 'boys' around the world.
At one point 264 homosexuals were reported to have been
purged from the American State Department. Many of them moved from
Washington to New York and took jobs with the United Nations, drifting
back to Washington after a year or two.
But men of this sort have links with men of the same sort in Britain and
in other lands. There are no barriers of class, colour, country in the land
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 47.
A History of Addiction & Recovery in the United States,
Michael Lemanski, page 47.
Two hundred and sixty-four homosexuals in the State Department?
That sounds just like Senator Joseph McCarthy the Red-baiter, waving a
piece of paper in the air and claiming that he had the names of 205 Communists
who worked in the State Department (whom he never did identify, in
spite of many repeated requests from the Senate subcommittees that were investigating
And Peter Howard seems to have found homosexuals everywhere:
A boy who last year  left a well-known public school said to me,
'At the school I left recently, about eighty per cent of the boys went through
some homosexual experience.'
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 43.
From America, where a recent estimate made says that one man in six is homosexual,
a man wrote from Seattle, on 24 January 1963, 'In my lifetime I have known
personally at least 5,000 of those some people call security risks.
I am a homosexual myself.'
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 48.
With fascination I watched the little Sodoms functioning within Embassies and
foreign offices. Somehow homosexuals always seemed to come by the dozen,
not because they were cheaper that way but rather because a homosexual
ambassador or chargé d'affaires or Under-Secretary of State liked
to staff his 'team' with his own people.
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 49.
Peter Howard's history of
involvement with fascism, it was probably not just a coincidence
that Peter Howard's denunciations of homosexuals were very similar —
almost identical — to those voiced by Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler:
...he [Heinrich Himmler] explained how homosexuals in positions of influence,
instead of choosing subordinates for their professional competence, chose them
because they were homosexual. This was an argument Hitler had used a year before to
Diels; he had lectured him on the role of the homosexual in history. Now Himmler
used precisely the same analogy as Hitler had to explain the point. Diels, who
could not have heard or read Himmler's talk, described Hitler as saying:
'Look, if I have the choice between a lovely but incompetent girl as a secretary
and one who is capable but hideous, I decide all too easily in favour of the lovely
incompetent.' So it was with homosexuals appointing men to posts, he went on;
if they were to acquire influence the National Socialist state would soon be
in the hands of these creatures and their lovers'.50
Himmler was seldom content with making a point once. He continued at length to
explain how the man appointed for his sexual bent would act in the same way
when he came to make an appointment. Thus in a masculine state if you found
one man of such an inclination in a position 'you could with certainty find
three, four, eight, ten and still more people of the same bent.'
He added that the homosexual was a pathological liar. He, Himmler, had not known this
in the beginning, since to a normal person it was so alien. He and Heydrich and a
couple of other colleagues really had to learn in this area from vile experience.
Now he no longer asked a homosexual if he could give his word, for the homosexual
in the instant he said something was convinced it was true. Interestingly, this
is exactly what Professor Gebhardt had said of Himmler himself.
50. Diels, R., Lucifer ante Portas, pp. 381-2, Deutsche Verlags
Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1950.
Heinrich Himmler, Peter Padfield, pages 186-7.
Peter Howard and his wife Doe at Caux
About sex between married couples, Peter Howard wrote:
Indulgence by the married, while having the cloak of legitimacy, may
nevertheless be the source of irritable tempers and of inability to answer
to the real needs of the children. Parents indulgent inside marriage
need not be surprised if their children are indulgent outside marriage.
A union which could otherwise be powerful for remaking the nation
thus remains a soft and uninspiring association.
Remaking Men, Paul Campbell and Peter Howard, 1954, quoted in
The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of
Frank Buchman and His Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, page 258.
Notice the completely groundless declarations: Sexual indulgence by
married couples produces irritable tempers.
Since when? What study or poll or survey ever found that? It seems like not getting laid
is far more likely to produce irritable tempers.
Likewise, how does sexual indulgence by married couples
make parents unable to "answer
to the real needs of the children"? Who ever established anything like that?
That is completely baseless.
Nevertheless, undisturbed by the lack of any supporting facts for their
crazy ideas, Peter Howard and Paul Campbell dogmatically declared that
sex between married couples is bad.
Thus, it was standard MRA practice at their centers like Mackinac Island
and Caux to demand that even married couples sleep in sexually-segregated
quarters. It seems that because Frank Buchman could not openly indulge his
sexual appetites, nobody else could either.
Unlikely as it may seem, Peter Howard still somehow managed to come up with two sons,
Philip and Anthony, and a daughter,
Anne, who married a British member of Parliament in
We have to ask, "Was Peter Howard actually another closeted homosexual?
Or was he bi?"
Frank Buchman put on a big show of homophobia to hide his own homosexuality,
and one has to ask whether Peter Howard was doing the same thing.
Howard was married, but he was also one of the MRA leaders who
condemned sex between a man and his wife...
Peter Howard had close homosexual friends when he
was a student at Oxford:
Of the recruits Mosley was able to secure, the most prestigious was the
Hon. Harold Nicolson, ...
[a] fastidious, well-connected habitué of London's
intellectual, literary world, with his dreams of youth and glory ...
Nicolson was a homosexual who was attracted to virile and manly youths
of the better classes. His young Oxford friends comprised not just
intellectuals like Christopher Hobhouse, but also undergraduates of a
quite different type, like Peter Howard, 'charming and forceful but
terribly immature', captain of the Oxford, and soon to be captain of the
England, Rugby team.
Oswald Mosley, Robert Skidelsky, 1975, pages 249-250.
So just how friendly were Harold Nicolson and the "charming and
forceful" Peter Howard, anyway?
Then funny phrases keep turning up in Peter Howard's writings — Freudian slips? — like
"licked by impurity" and
The heterosexual, promiscuous person ordinarily has an aggressive spirit,
and not infrequently is possessed by a short volatile temper.
A most reliable sign of sexual defeat is piosity. Men who
are unctuous and unreal are licked by impurity.
Remaking Men, Paul Campbell, M.D., and
Peter Howard, 1954, page 61,
also quoted in
The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of
Frank Buchman and His Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, page 259.
"Licked by impurity"? Now that sounds sexy. And who was more
pious than Frank Buchman and his "moral" and "absolutely pure" followers?
(Oh, and I have to ask: If
promiscuous person ordinarily has an aggressive spirit,
and not infrequently is possessed by a short volatile temper",
does that mean that the homosexual
promiscuous person has a passive spirit and a mellow temper?)
Frank Buchman attracted a lot of attention
and criticism back in the nineteen-thirties
for associating with high-ranking Nazis like
Peter Howard wrote that Buchman never met Hitler
(which was probably untrue), and then added:
Nor was Buchman an intimate of Himmler or of any other member of the Nazi
Peter Howard, quoted in
The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of
Frank Buchman and His Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, page 66.
Not an intimate of Himmler? That is avoiding the question.
Nobody was asking whether Frank Buchman and Heinrich Himmler got in bed together; they were
asking how sympathetic Frank Buchman was to the Nazi philosophy and goals.
An old Peter Howard, talking to Brazilian fishermen near the end of his life.
Peter Howard denied that Moral Re-Armament was basically dead on its feet, an
idea whose time had gone. He alternated between declaring it victorious
and wallowing in self-pity, complaining about the criticism that MRA received:
Moral Re-Armament is an army on the march throughout the world united
by an idea whose time in history has come. Such warriors cannot be lured
by favours, nor halted by lies, threats or ruthless bullying. It is a winning march.
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 120.
In Britain today, the easy course would be to drift with the stream
and to yield the effort to turn the tide.
Anybody who tries to restore God to leadership in Britain today, to bring
purity to homes, unselfishness to business and industry,
honesty to politics, and love to answer the snobbery of the new elite
and the frustrated superiority of the old, has a rough time. Often they
are misrepresented, misunderstood, gagged, smeared, and ostracized.
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 121.
There was once a man who, after inspecting the Louvre pictures, told a gallery
guard, 'I don't think much of the pictures.' The guard answered, 'It's not the
pictures that are on trial here. It's the folk who look at them.'
Those darkened souls who want to force the earth into acceptance of their
own compromise needs must hate Moral Re-Armament. It is the reaction of Materialism
against the reality of the Holy Spirit at work in human hearts.
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, pages 118-119.
We are said to be more idealistic and less real than the man who tries
to change the world without changing human nature. ...
Communist and non-Communist worlds share a common need and a common
failure. It is a refusal to pay the price and learn the art of changing men. ...
Is this politics? Some accuse Moral Re-Armament of playing in politics.
We have no aim in politics except that all politicians and all political parties
shall be governed by God and so govern nations.
Britain and the Beast, Peter Howard, 1963, page 119.
("We have no political ambitions.
We just want to control everybody who controls the world.")
Peter Howard died suddenly in March, 1965,
less than four years after Frank Buchman,
while on an evangelical tour of South America. He was only 56.
Next: The Last Hurrah: Up With People
Previous: Partying in a Fairy-Tale Castle
Click Fruit for Menu
Last updated 18 February 2019.
The most recent version of this file can be found at