We ran a spread on a Florida hate group a few days back and it would feel somehow, oh, I guess the word is "inadequate" to leave out at least a few other states while we're in the process of exposing these thugs. With that cheery thought in mind, walk with me this way and we'll take a gander at Arizona. What's that? If you could walk this way you'd be afraid to visit Arizona? Good answer.
According to our good friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nice folks who study hate crimes, Arizona has the shame of the nation to bear with its seventeen active hate groups. One of these is the Arizona Boarder Patrol, a group which, as you might expect, does not like people they consider to be immigrants. The group creates its own non-viral videos that rant about Mexicans coming to the USA to spread crime, drugs and disease, not that any Europeans ever did something very similar to the Indians, unless you count murder as a crime, alcohol as a drug and smallpox as a disease. The American Border Patrol uses its website, American Patrol Report, and self-produced videos like “Treachery and Treason in America” and “Conquest of Aztlán” to vilify Mexicans, deride so-called fifth-column Latinos, and rant about the allegedly long-planned Mexican invasion of the American Southwest. On the site, Spencer attacked Mario Obledo, a leading Latino activist and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as “Pinche [a slang Spanish term often translated as “worthless” or “fucking”] Cockroach and 1998 Asshole of the Year.” A cartoon character was depicted urinating on Obledo’s picture. (Bizarrely, Spencer later denied to reporters that the site had ever carried such a caricature.) Spencer posts material on his site from such men as H. Millard, an infamous columnist for the racist Council of Conservative Citizens who once bemoaned the “slimy brown mass of glop” that immigration and interracial families were making of the U.S. population. They're idiots, but proud idiots.
The American Third Position is based in California but has chapters here. Wait, chapters sound sort of literary, doesn't it? They have clubhouse meetings in Arizona. These white nationalists are a lot like the clowns picked up near Disney World in Florida two weeks ago in the sense that they advocate "neither right nor left, just good sense" politics, meaning, as far as they're concerned, as long as you support white supremacy, you're okay with them. They think of themselves as anarchists but I would classify them more as nihilists. They're dangerous people. Watch out.
The Southern Poverty Law Center places the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on its hate-crimes list and not just because they practice polygamy. They are on the list because they are homophobic, virulently nationalistic, pro-Caucasian, and big fans of authoritarianism. In common with many of their Mormon brethren, the Fundamentalists believe that it all goes back to Cain and Seth and Abel. Cain killed Abel and Cain was black. Cain was the voice of Satan and Seth was the good boy who represents God. Therefore black people, the theory goes, stand for evil. I wish I could tell you I was making this up. If you don't think this philosophy has remnants in contemporary Mormonism, just ask a devout Mormon what he thinks about Cain. Then get ready to run.
You might remember reading about Stephen Anderson's Faithful Word Baptist Church, a bunch of rightist zealots who had one of their members carry an assault rifle outside the auditorium where the President was speaking a couple years back. Anderson proudly admits to hating blacks and gays and is presently looking for someone new to despise. Anderson, who calls himself a pastor, started Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona on Christmas Day 2005 as a “totally independent” organization. With “well over a hundred chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word,” Anderson quickly led his congregation into a series of extremely radical stands. Much of his venom was aimed at homosexuals, who he suggests should be killed (“The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers but not for homosexuals”). In an August 2009 sermon, he attacked the United Methodist Church, saying “10% of their preachers are queers” and adding, “they got a dyke and a faggot behind the pulpit.” He has described gays as “sodomites” who “recruit through rape” and “recruit through molestation.”
Anderson is also a virulent government hater. As operator of the True Sons of Liberty website, the pastor calls for abolishing the IRS, the Federal Reserve, Social Security and Child Protective Services state agencies. In April 2009, he refused to get out of his car or answer questions from Border Patrol agents at the California-Arizona border. Agents broke his window and tased him as a result.
Anderson brought his church national notoriety in August 2009, when a member of his congregation, Christopher Broughton, went to an Obama appearance in Phoenix legally carrying an assault rifle and a pistol. It turned out that Anderson had preached a day earlier to Broughton and others that he “hates Obama” and would “pray that he dies and goes to hell.” Two weeks later, he told openly gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile that he “would not judge or condemn” anyone who killed the president. Then, for good measure, he told Signorile at the end of the interview, “If you’re a homosexual, I hope you get brain cancer and die like Ted Kennedy.”
Let's hop across the country now on our journey to weed out hate. Ah, here we are, back in my old stomping grounds in the pretty and handsome state of Ohio. I see that my old town of Circleville has no hate groups listed. that's good. Let's see. . . we have something called ISD Records out of the nearby town of Lancaster. They think of themselves as the "voice of blood and honour." I always get a little nervous with that particular spelling of honor. Okay, they have their own online radio station that plays what they call "white power music." a level of excrement one can purchase on the company's website, a site that shows a picture of a smug skinhead dude up at the top.
The town of Chilicothe lies fifteen miles south of my hometown. There we find the shattered debris of the once-mighty Creativity Movement. After the 1993 suicide of Ben Klassen, who initially formed the group in 1973 as the Church of the Creator and wrote a number of foundational texts, new leader Matt Hale renamed it the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) in 1996. The group, largely composed of racist skinheads, developed a reputation for the rampant criminal violence of its members and the verbal violence of Hale. After Hale was convicted of soliciting the murder of a federal judge in 2004 — and the group was ordered to change its name because of a ruling in a copyright infringement trial — the once-formidable outfit now known as the Creativity Movement all but collapsed, leaving only weak remnants.
That is about all the virulent stupidity and proud imbecility I can take for one day. We'll have to reschedule the remainder of our trip for a time when we all have a bit more Pepto-Bismol on hand.
In the meantime, be sure to join us on May 30 for our Summer Reading Spectacular!