Heath Campbell is just like other fathers. The 40-year-old New Jersey native loves his four children and wants to be a good parent. Where he differs, however, is in his support for Nazism. Donning a World War II Nazi uniform, Campbell showed up to family court on Monday with a Hitler mustache to face a judge during his custody hearing. He was asking the court for visitation rights of his youngest son, who was taken into state custody just hours after his birth.
Campbell's other children, Adolf Hitler, 7, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, 6, and 5-year-old Honzlynn Jeannie were also placed in foster care after evidence of domestic abuse came to light.
Last year, a court ruled that Campbell and his wife, who have since separated, cannot have their children back. This hearing was to determine whether he can have visitation rights -- the decision will not be made public. Campbell, who is the leader of the neo-Nazi group "Hitler’s Order", claims there was no abuse and that the state took the children away because of their names.
We all know parents whose belief systems differ from ours. There are some who are militant breastfeeding advocates who will eviscerate with words any mother who feeds her baby formula. There are children born into religious households in which they're required to wear Burkas, or eat Kosher, or eat the body of Christ every Sunday.
Is one viewpoint better? Is one worse? Can you be a good parent and be an Atheist, or a devout Catholic, or an Orthodox Jew? Most of us would argue yes, you can be. Who are we to decide how others raise their children.
In Campbell's case, though, there seems to be a striking difference. The hate, violence, and biological racism of Nazism aside, the core distinction is his contradictions.
He told the Star Ledger last year that he'd give up his Nazi beliefs if that meant he could have his children back, yet he showed up to court dressed like a Nazi soldier. He was there to make a point, and his point had nothing to do with getting his children back.
Campbell was convicted a few years ago of making terroristic threats against one of his ex-wives and has a detailed history of violence. His oldest son Adolf apparently learned this behavior and, when put into foster care, displayed an alarming amount of rage, even threatening to kill his 3-year-old sister. After a few months in care, he showed "phenomenal progress."
It sounds like the children are better off without Campbell in their lives, despite his professed love for them. Regardless of his Nazism, Campbell cannot read and has been unemployed for years ... yet another reason his four children are fortunate to be in the care of others.
Do you think Campbell should be allowed custody or visitation rights?
Photo via NBC10