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The Resistance Prays

November 16, 2018
By Daniel Williams

Today's Top Story

"Federal Judge Allows Whitefish Lawsuit Against Neo-Nazi Publisher To Proceed," via Montana Public Radio.

  • Shortly after the 2016 election, a neo-Nazi website unleashed a “troll storm” on a Jewish resident of Whitefish, Montana, who was involved in a conflict with the mother of infamous white supremacist and anti-semite Richard Spencer.
  • Tanya Gersh and her family received more than 700 threatening and harassing messages, instigated by a neo-Nazi named Andrew Anglin and his website, the Daily Stormer.
  • This week, a federal judge ruled that the First Amendment does not prevent Gersh and the Southern Poverty Law Center from pursuing legal action against Anglin over the harassment. "Online campaigns of hate, threats and intimidation have no place in a civil society, and do not enjoy protection under our constitution," said John Morrison, one of the attorneys representing Gersh.
Scripture 

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill."
- Matthew 25:21-22, The Message

When Words Aren't Just Words
  • “It’s a free country!” It’s a common taunt from children who have no other defense of their actions. Increasingly far-right radicals like neo-Nazis and their allies are attempting to redefine basic American notions of free speech to immunize themselves from any consequences of their hateful, violent words and actions.
  • Sending a twelve-year old Jewish child a picture of an oven to evoke the horrors of the Shoah is not free speech, it is violence. Encouraging hundreds of racists and anti-Semites to take similar action via a repulsive neo-Nazi website is not free speech. To suggest that it is is to do serious violence to our nation’s understanding of our basic civil liberties.

  • 2017 saw a 37% increase in anti-semitic hate crimes, according to FBI statistics. This news can hardly be surprising, and must be even more horrifying in the wake of the deadliest attack on the US Jewish community in our country’s history. As racist and anti-semitic speech is normalized in too many spheres of our collective life, anyone whose senses are not numbed by hate and prejudice can see the connection between violent words and violent acts.

  • As Christians, we call our savior the “Word Made Flesh.” Our tradition teaches us that while words are never just words. They are never simply words, never merely words. We must ever strive that they be just words, always loving words, always compassionate words, always words of justice and peace.

Act
The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate, teaches tolerance, and seeks justice. They maintain an active database of US hate groups and are representing Tanya Gersh in her suit against the Daily Stormer. Check out their website to find ways to support their work.
Pray

O Word Made Flesh, with your words, your deeds, and your very self , you teach us what justice, compassion and peace mean. Inspire in us words and deeds that give life, that engender hope, that build beloved community, so that we might continue to do the work to which you call us. In your holy and mysterious name we pray, amen.

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