AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE REVEREND DONALD MADER
This autobiography was written by the American scholar, clergyman and photographer Donald H. Mader (1948-2022) sometimes between 2006 (the latest date mentioned) and 2021, by when he had distributed it for preservation.
Nigger-lover, draft dodger, commie, pinko, faggot, heretic, child molester, pornographer, criminal conspirator, scientific child-rapist: all epithets applied to Donald Mader, clergyman, photographer, critic, radical scholar, translator, activist and publisher.
Mader was born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, United States, in 1948, and graduated magna cum laude from Michigan State University in 1970, receiving his M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, in 1975. Following a year of clinical pastoral training at Bellevue Hospital, he was ordained to the ministry in the Reformed Church in America (R.C.A.) in 1976. As a student pastor and pastor, he served inner city parishes for the R.C.A. in New York City from 1971 to 1986. As President of Brooklyn Classis, in a case which led to the legalization of women clergy in the R.C.A. and to calls that he be charged with heresy, at the 1979 R.C.A. General Synod he spearheaded the successful defence of Brooklyn’s ordination of a woman to the ministry. From 1992 he was associated with the controversial inner city ministry at the Pauluskerk in Rotterdam, where he was responsible for English language work and assisting work with sexual minorities. In 2003 he was dismissed from the Reformed Church in America to the Remonstrantse Broederschap in The Netherlands. During the City Council elections in 2006 the Pauluskerk and its work was attacked in a book sponsored by a foundation supporting the neo-Nazi political movement left by Pim Fortuyn; one chapter dealt with Mader, labeling him a ‘scientific child rapist’, pairing him with Pastor Joseph Douce (the Belgian homophile activist and clergyman murdered by the French Security Police, whose ministry had also been supported by the Pauluskerk), and predicting Mader would meet the same end.
His career as a radical began at age 14 when he and two schoolmates wrote a letter to a suburban Detroit weekly newspaper regarding the murder of a Detroit woman doing civil rights work in the South; the editor of the paper turned the letter over to the FBI for investigation, and Mader and his schoolmates were called into the principal’s office to be interrogated about their Communist sympathies. When registering for military conscription in 1966, during the Vietnam War, he was the first person in the history of his local draft board to declare as a conscientious objector. At Michigan State he was active in draft counseling, campaigns against ROTC and Dow Chemical's napalm production, and first wrote for and then in 1967-8 co-edited the campus underground newspaper, The Paper. During the summer of 1968 he was a technical advisor in creating the Mississippi Student News Project and their underground paper, Kudzu. In New York he was again involved in draft counseling, in the Angela Davis Support Committee, and in refusal of Federal taxes for military purposes. He wrote and spoke widely in the Reformed Church on urban issues, and wrote on pacifism and anti-militarism.
He also wrote on homosexuality and pedophilia, in 1978 publishing pioneering research which identified the pseudonymous editor of Men and Boys, America’s first anthology of male homosexual verse. The same year he also began reviewing for Gay Books Bulletin and Pan magazine. He was present at the Boston conference at which NAMBLA was founded in 1978, and spoke at their New York conference a year later. After moving to The Netherlands in 1986 he was co-founder of Paidika, wrote the articles on homosexual photographers and co-authored the article on pedophilia for the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, and wrote for and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Homosexuality. He also published reviews and articles regularly in the German gay magazine Euros and in the American magazine Gayme, and wrote occasionally for various Dutch gay magazines and annuals, the NAMBLA Bulletin and the Dutch pedophile magazine OK. For his own micro-press, Entimos, he designed and published five books: Handful of Angels, a collection of the drawings of American artist Sidney Smith; With Innocent Eyes, boy nudes from the 1960’s; two volumes of contemporary boy-love poetry, O Tribe that Loves Boys, translations of Abu Nuwas by Hakim Bey, and Yes Is Such a Long Word, by Richard George-Murray; and the first English translation of the Renaissance classic Alcibiades the Schoolboy, for which he wrote an afterword. He was perpetually at work on a doctoral dissertation at the University of Amsterdam on five early 20th century Christian boy-love poets.
Except for NAMBLA’s founding conference, where he asked to be identified only as “Don the social worker,” Mader was open about his attraction to boys, making a point of publishing his articles and photographs over his own name. As a photographer, his fascination with the process by which boys become men was the basis of his series of nude portraits of boys. While he objected to pigeon-holing people by their sexuality, he publicly stated that if he must be so identified, he preferred the term “boy-lover”.
During his years in The Netherlands he built up a reputation as a photographic critic and arts translator, and served on the editorial board of the Rotterdam photography magazine Perspektief. His own career as a photographer had begun with a commission to document historic Dutch churches of the lower Hudson Valley, which resulted in his first one man show in 1981. He also exhibited young male nudes in group shows at New York’s pioneering gay art space, the Leslie Lohman Gallery, in 1979 and 1981. After his move to The Netherlands, his work became the focus of a test case for the new Dutch child pornography law when a show of his photographs at Amsterdam’s Intermale Bookstore and Gallery was raided in 1987; initially convicted on child pornography charges in 1990, he was acquitted on appeal in 1992. His work was again seized from a show at Amsterdam’s Serieuze Zaken gallery in 1994, but ordered returned by the court. In November 1995 he was arrested, his home raided and his own work and his scholarly archives seized as the result of charges of criminal conspiracy to distribute child pornography arising from his having assisted the American attorney and anti-censorship activist Lawrence Stanley in preparing a 1994 submission to the Dutch parliament arguing against proposals to rewrite Dutch child pornography statutes. In the final act of his photographic career, eight of his nude portraits which had escaped the Dutch raid were destroyed by a Swedish Nazi youth group while on show in a Stockholm museum in the summer of 1997.
In 1984 he had been arrested on four charges of statutory rape. After a year’s pre-trial proceedings in which one of the alleged “victims”, age 11, countered with accusations that the charges were the product of psychological abuse which he and the other boys had suffered at the hands of the police during interrogation, the case was settled in a plea bargain involving a nolo contendere plea to two charges, one year’s probation and Mader’s departure from the United States. He retained the support of his community and parish during the proceedings, and remained pastor of the church until his 1986 move to The Netherlands. With his parents’ permission, the boy who had made the accusations of police abuse, now 12, accompanied him to The Netherlands, where he was officially recognized as Mader’s foster son. Both Mader and the boy eventually became Dutch citizens.
 The first issue of Pan, “a magazine about boy-love” was not actually published until June 1979. [Website’s footnote]
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