Friday, May 27, 2005

Hate your neighbor

In case you missed the news, there were three cross burnings Wednesday night in Durham, NC, with Klan literature left at one scene:

The first burning was reported at 9:19 p.m. outside St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The next came at 9:54 p.m. atop a large pile of dirt near an apartment complex construction site; the third was at 10:28 p.m. at a downtown intersection. ... "I cannot think of any reason that any insider or anyone outside would be angry with us," said Bill Gutknecht, senior warden at St. Luke's. "I don't know what kind of point they're trying to make. ... I certainly hope and pray it had nothing to do directly with our church."

Gutknecht noted that on May 9, members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., picketed outside St. Luke's, among other churches, as part of a protest against the performance of "The Laramie Project" at Durham School of the Arts. The play is about the murder of a gay man, and the Westboro protesters carried anti-gay signs with slogans including "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for 9/11."

"That's the only thing of any kind of conflict, and it wasn't really a conflict," Gutknecht said, explaining that church members ignored the protesters.

There hasn't been a cross burning in Durham since 1968.

I've been working up a piece on radical right hate speech but can't seem to keep up with events. I already have two full pages of links on the increase in anti-gay incidents, crimes against Muslims, violence and threats directed at judges, the hostile climate and demonization of gays that's happening all over, institutionalized anti-gay actions by the Bush Administration, the hate speech spewing out of talk radio, religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy, and the truly chilling Dominionist hatred....

Every nationalist movement needs a good scapegoat or two.
UPDATE: In southern Maine, tune in Monday at 7:30pm to Portland's public access TV to hear Michael Heath of the Christian Civic League debate State Senator Ethan Strimling (D-District 8) on gay rights.

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