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Have you talked about a hate group recently?

February 23, 2011

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that, for the first time, it’s annual count of active extremist groups in the U.S.  has surpassed 1,000 groups.; a 7.5 % increase from 2009 and a 66% rise since 2000. Thirteen of them are in Washington State: Washington State Hate Groups Map. These groups gain strength when they remain unchallenged and mostly invisible.  Have you talked about hate groups recently?

It’s challenging to look at the violence that is being generated by extremist groups, but to look away is dangerous for us all.

In an 11-day period this January, a neo-Nazi was arrested as he headed for the Arizona border with a dozen homemade grenades; a terrorist bomb attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was averted when police dismantled a sophisticated bomb; and a man who officials said had a long history of antigovernment activities was arrested in a car filled with explosives outside a packed mosque in Dearborn, Mich. U.S. Hate groups top 1,000

A combination of factors are cited as fueling this growth:

resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the lagging economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at minorities and the government.

The powerful words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, in the 1940s,  remind us today to speak out against such hate.

First They came… – Pastor Martin Niemoller
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Let’s keep talking about hate groups and not let them hide in the shadows of evil.

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