Posts Tagged ‘Hate group’

The Ku Klux Klan is Coming to Town

September 4, 2016

The Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has decided to honor my home town Madison, Indiana with a rally held the very same weekend as one of our more popular events, the Chautauqua/ Old Courthouse Days. Oh joy.

Our local newspaper, the Madison Courier, reports on this exciting development.

City, county and state law enforcement agencies are coordinating efforts to ensure public safety on Saturday, Sept. 24, when the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plan to hold a rally from noon to 2 p.m. at Madison’s Fireman’s Park on Vaughn Drive — during the Chautauqua Festival of Art and Old Court Days celebrations.

In a document submitted several weeks ago to Jefferson County Sheriff John Wallace, representatives from the Klan – Imperial Officers Larry Philmore of Fort Wayne and Robert Preston of Baltimore, MD. – requested to hold the rally on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

However, since the Courthouse will be surrounded by Old Court Days vendors and patrons, city and county attorneys sought advice from an Indianapolis attorney who specializes in 1st Amendment issues to see if it was legal to ask the Klan to hold the rally at another location, Mayor Damon Welch said.

The attorney advised that, because of the previously planned event, local officials had the right to offer the Klan another location for the rally, Welch said, adding that Klan officials ”verbally agreed” to move the rally to Fireman’s Park, which is outside of the footprint of both Old Court Days and the Chautauqua.

In a telephone interview Friday, Philmore confirmed that his organization did agree to hold the rally at the park.

“We did not know the festival was going on,” he said, adding it wasn’t the Klan’s intention for the rally to coincide with Chautauqua weekend, which draws thousands of visitors to Madison each year. “That’s not how we do things,” he said.

And how is it that we get the honor of hosting a Klan rally?

One reason Madison was chosen for the rally is because the KKK “has had a chapter there for years. It’s been passed down from generation to generation,” Philmore said.

Philmore said, too, that he doesn’t believe it’s an accident that the population of Indiana is still mostly white and that the races are, for the most part, segregated.

“Indiana has always been a big supporter of the Klan,” he said.

I did not know that we have a chapter of the KKK here in Madison, but somehow, I am not surprised. I did know that at one time, the Ku Klux Klan was very powerful in Indiana. Back in the 1920’s, virtually every Democratic politician was a member and the Klan dominated Indiana politics. This is not something most Hoosiers are proud of.

But we mustn’t assume that the planned rally has anything to do with race just because it is the Ku Klux Klan. Their concern is with the growing problem of drugs in small communities.

The subject of race will not be not the focus of the Sept. 24 rally in Madison planned by the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Klan spokesman told a Madison Courier reporter on Friday.

“Our main (issue) is drug trafficking and the drug problem” that is plaguing Jefferson County and other counties throughout southern Indiana, said Larry Philmore of Fort Wayne.

The rally, which will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at Fireman’s Park on Vaughn Drive, is intended to encourage people to “start standing up to drug dealers. It’s time to make a stand,” Philmore said. “If people have a problem with that, it’s on them.”

The Klan is not a hate group, after all.

Philmore said the rally will begin with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer, followed by a series of speakers. The event will be followed with a member “meet and greet,” he said, which will include “a cross lighting, not a cross burning,” held at an undisclosed location in the county.

“Cross-burning is what idiots do,” Philmore said. “It’s against our rules. It’s done by backyard rednecks that make the Klan look bad.”

Cross lighting, he explained, is simply a fraternal ritual of illuminating the cross with “the light of Jesus Christ. Out of the darkness comes the light,” he said, acknowledging that to be a member of the Klan, one must be a Christian.

“Do we allow any other races in? No. But, we’ve been here 151 years,” he said. “We’re the oldest civil rights organization in the country.”

I can hardly wait to see that burning, sorry lit, cross.

Now, the sensible thing to do when the Ku Klux Klan shows up in town would be to ignore them. Don’t protest them. Don’t drive by and gawk. Don’t argue with them. That only gives these pathetic losers the attention they can’t get any other way. Stay away from the site of the rally and enjoy the Chautauqua.

Of course there are people who do not plan to be sensible. I will call these people the Anti-Klan since they seem to have the same desire to stir people up and get attention for themselves.

A collection of concerned citizens calling themselves Jefferson County United hopes to discourage a late-September visit to Madison by the Ku Klux Klan.

In an open letter to Philmore and Richard Preston of Baltimore, Md., whose names and contact information appear on a document sent to Sheriff John Wallace announcing the Klan’s intent to rally, the group states:

“We pride ourselves on being an open, welcoming community. Maybe our reputation for hospitality was a factor in your decision to visit us. But if so, you take us too much for granted.

“We have been working hard for many years to create a strong, supportive community that welcomes people of all faiths, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and people from all parts of the world. Not everyone in the community shares our ideals, but many of us in Jefferson County strive nonetheless to embrace all people. … We must speak out, therefore, against detestable messages of division, resentment, hatred and white supremacy. … We are keenly aware of the disgraceful history of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana … but this is not the Indiana of the 1920s. … We decry your idealogy.”

On Tuesday, the group held an informal meeting, inviting members of the Human Relations Commission, as well as law enforcement and representatives of Hanover College, said fellow member James Buckwalter. He said at least 50 people attended, all representing various segments of Jefferson County’s population.

“We are in the process now of trying to think what an appropriate, peaceful, nonconfrontational response would look like,” Buckwalter said. Coming to a consensus is difficult, particularly because of the group’s diversity.

Emphasizing that he was not speaking for the group, Buckwalter said he doesn’t believe anyone wants to confront the Klan. “If there’s a consensus about anything, it’s that (the KKK) is not a good group. We’re concerned about their presence here and we are discussing a possible constructive, peaceful response.”

I really don’t think any response at all is necessary.  After all when the Klan and Anti-Klan meet there can only be one result.

 

 

But, seriously, I really think that protesting or rallying against the Klan is not a good idea. Of course the Anti-Klan doesn’t believe that we should ignore the Klan.

The movement, she said, is also more than being a response to the KKK’s presence.

“I see their visit as an opportunity to open up a conversation that maybe we have been avoiding as a community, about how we welcome people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people of all faiths,” said Arico.

“Many people told us the best thing to do is ignore (the Klan) and they’ll go away and everything will return to normal,” Buckwalter said, building on Arico’s comments. “But we don’t want to go back to normal. (Hopefully) their decision to come here will have the opposite effect of what they intended.”

But that is exactly what I want, for the Klan to stay away and everything to stay normal. I do not want this conversation about how we welcome people of color, etc with these people because the conversations always end up the same way. If you don’t tow the liberal line from A to Z than you get called a racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, etc. These kinds of conversations do no good and only turn people against each other, which perhaps is the intent of the progressives who are always clamoring for them.

I think that if we stopped talking about race relations and just tried to treat everyone decently, we would find after a time that there would no longer be anything to talk about, and groups like the Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan wouldn’t exist anymore.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center

August 27, 2012

There are a number of advocacy groups around who agitate for or against a particular cause. They try to get useful legislation passed, or raise awareness of an issue, or collect money to help victims, or any of a number of ways to advance their particular causes. What happens, though, when they have largely succeeded in their goals? When there is really little further need for their advocacy?

They could simply disband. This almost never happens. Any group that is at all successful has managed to accumulate a great amount of funds and managers who can commands large salaries. Hardly anyone is willing to simply walk away from a good paying job.

The March of Dimes faced such a crisis. They were founded by President Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio. They did a wonderful job funding research and taking care of polio victims. However, their mission became largely obsolete when Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955, which led to the rapid elimination of polio as a threat, at least in the developed world. The leaders of the March of Dimes decided to change their focus on birth defects and premature births and have remained relevant to this day.

Another alternative to resolving this crisis is to simply double down on previous efforts, past the point of diminishing returns. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded by Candice Lighter in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD was done a lot to limit the damage done by drunk driving. They have successfully lobbied to have a national standard blood alcohol limit of .08% and have worked to raise the drinking age to 21 nationwide. They have also been instrumental in making drunk driving more socially unacceptable. Drunk driving will always be a problem, but the problem with MADD is that they have done almost everything that can be done to reduce drunk driving. They have lobbied for even stricter blood alcohol limits and their focus has slowly shifted to a neo-prohibitionist stance. Candice Lighter left the organization over this change in focus and it is clear that MADD, having largely accomplished its goal really has no further purpose, except, perhaps to join forces with the Prohibitionist Party.

Then we come to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in  1971 by Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin, for the purpose of handling civil rights cases and fighting hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations. They have achieved many notable successes, including putting the Aryan Nations out of business and have done a lot of good. The problem is that like MADD and the March of Dimes, the Southern Poverty Law Center has largely succeeded in its mission. Hate groups will always be with us, but “right-wing” racist groups have been marginalized to an extent never before seen in American society and their combined membership must surely be at record lows. It would seem that there is little left for the SPLC to do and that they had best disband or refocus their mission. Morris Dees  and the SPLC have decided not to do that.

Instead they have decided to pursue a dishonest path by redefining “hate group” and fudging numbers. They have redefined the term hate group to mean any vaguely Conservative organization and they lump them together with Nazis and racists who have openly called for violence. For example, according to the SPLC, the Family Research Council is a hate group. Why are they labeled a hate group? Because they are opposed to same-sex marriage and some of the demands of the more radical homosexuals. Have they ever called for violence or discrimination against homosexuals? Not to my knowledge. As Daniel Horowitz at Red State explains.

For years, the SPLC has ingratiated themselves to the public by evincing an image of a politically neutral organization that serves as the one-stop resource for information on bigoted and violent organizations.? But instead of focusing exclusively on true ?hate organizations? like white supremacists and Islamic jihadists, the SPLC has pursued a political agenda in recent years to defame conservative organizations by lumping them in with neo-Nazis and skinheads.

The SPLC has prided itself as the preeminent authority on racism because they have gathered every last morsel of data on neo-Nazi organizations with a membership 3.4 people, most of which have never been heard from.? However, they use their reputation as the authority on white supremacist groups as a front to assail legitimate conservative policy organizations by seamlessly lumping them in with white supremacists and labeling them as hate groups.? They list people like David Horowitz and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the same ?hate reports? as white supremacists serving prison time for murder.

In 2010, SPLC labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group and listed them together with no-name neo-Nazi groups on their site.? They did the same for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that simply advocates lower levels of immigration out of fiscal and national security concerns.? When did we get to a point where groups that have a different political agenda from the SPLC are branded as hate groups?

The SPLC would have you believe that an organization that doesn?t want their children to be exposed to a homosexual curriculum or opposes open homosexual promiscuity in the military is a hate group.? If you?re concerned about your children being exposed to literature about sex-change operations, you are a racist according to them.? Anyone who opposes their licentious agenda and upholds Judeo-Christian values ? the very values upon which this country was founded ? is tantamount to a white supremacist.? In their view, FRC is like the Westboro Baptist Church.? It?s surprising that they haven?t yet labeled God a hater or condemned the Bible from the public square.

If I were to stoop to the same intellectual level as the SPLC, I would label them a hate group for equating civil rights to the so-called plight of transgendered individuals.

They fatuously label people as racists simply for taking a different position on a specific piece of legislation.? Do you support the right of states to define marriage as ?marriage?? You?re a racist.? Do you believe that the 14th amendment was conceived to protect native-born blacks from disenfranchisement and not the children of illegal aliens?? You are a hater.? Are you concerned about the pervasiveness of pedophilia among homosexuals?? You?re like the KKK.? We?re rapidly approaching the point when support for the Ryan budget will be labeled as bigoted activity.

They fudge the numbers too. If your hate group has chapters in two different cities in the same state, than each one is labeled a separate group. If your membership increases from 4 to 5 than that is an alarming 25% increase in membership. Here is an interesting post in Legal Insurrection about the alarming increase of the number of hate groups in that hotbed of hatred and prejudice, Rhode Island.

I decided to look at SPLC’s most recent annual hate group report, covering 2011, to see what was listed for Rhode Island.

I was pleased to see that SPLC had dropped the claim of a Klan group, but now there is listed a neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement.

But once again, my suspicions were raised because no city was listed for the group in Rhode Island, unlike the listing for some other states.

The website of the National Socialist Movement listed a Rhode Island branch, but again no city or information, only a link to a Gmail account.  I assume the listing in the website was the source of SPLC’s information.  If so, that was a very thin basis on which to list the National Socialist Movement as having a real branch in Rhode Island.

I live in Rhode Island, and I have not heard of any active neo-Nazi groups.  I searched the state’s paper of record, The Providence Journal, and found no references to such groups.  I did Google searches, and still nothing.  Google searches turn up the SPLC’s listing.

I checked the SPLC website, and the last hate crime listed in Rhode Island was in 2010, when a swastika was painted on a synagogue.  Could that be the group?  No, that was two ignorant youths who painted the swastika backwards, and when caught, were described by the police as very remorseful and not motivated by anti-Semitism.

As with the prior listing of the Klan, I can’t say that there isn’t some guy or gal someplace in Rhode Island who has a Nazi flag hanging on the wall or who shares the sentiments of the National Socialist Movement.  If there is such a group, they are doing a really good job of keeping it quiet.

The notion that Rhode Island has a real, active neo-Nazi movement in the state appears to be just another exaggeration by the SPLC.

These exaggerations, as I have pointed out in my prior posts, cause real damage.  Every minute or resource we spend chasing SPLC’s phantom hate groups is a minute or resource we do not devote to real threats:

Real threats, Islamic extremists or environmental terrorists are not so politically correct and don’t give the SPLC the opportunity to bash Conservatives. The point I want to make in this overly long and rambling post is that the Southern Poverty Law Center is simply not to be trusted as any sort of authority on the subject of hate groups. Maybe they were in the past, but their leadership has decided to adapt to changing circumstances by becoming politicized and dishonest.


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