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   issue #73  posted 6 / 28 /2023            
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Battles Over Twisting Love into Hate

in the news: A few days ago, Robert Bowers, the man accused of carrying out a massacre that's been called "the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history" was found guilty in federal court, convicted of all 63 charges, including dozens of hate crimes. Bowers believes in "Great Replacement" a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory says the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate crimes. Among the hate groups it monitors are Christian Identity churchescentered around racist and anti-Semitic ideologies.

commentary and analysis by Stephen P. Cook, Managing Director, project Worldview:                           To me, loving your neighbor is at the heart of what Jesus taught and what Christians should embrace. A Christian worldview should thus most basically embrace #32B Culture of Tolerance and  #202B Relaxed, Generous, Loving  themesalong with others such as #16B   The Golden Rule, Village Ethic of Mutual Help. (see note 1). That many Christians (in places a majority)  value their own salvationsupposedly attained by believing in #14A  Salvation & Moralistic God  to escape going to hellfar more than love, is one example of how love has been twisted. (see note 2). Of even greater concern are thoselike some Christian Identity church goerswho trade the love and tolerance Jesus preached, for hate, bigotry, and themes like #39B Blaming / Scapegoating.  

Twisting love into hate has a long history. At one time a variation of the symbol commonly known as a swastika was associated with prosperity and good luck. The word itself derives from the Sanskrit meaning "conducive to well-being." Of course todayrather than being viewed as a symbol of divinity and spirituality as it once wasthe swastika is recognized as a symbol of Nazi and neo-Nazi ideology, and worldviews built around hate and bigotry. 

Fundamental differences in worldviews are behind today's culture wars. One battleground is the small town of Harrison, Arkansaswhere I taught at a community college in the 1970s--1980s, and recently visited. I was shocked to learn of what the SPLC reports with respect to it: "Two Christian Identity churches, the Christian Revival Center and Kingdom Identity Ministries, and the mailing address for the National Director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are located in Harrison, Arkansas. Christian Identity churches have been recognized as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center and are centered around racist and anti-Semitic ideologies. The Christian Revival Center is headed by Thomas Robb who is also the National Director of the KKK. Kingdom Identity Ministries is the largest producer of Christian Identity propaganda in the country. There is considerable support for the town of Harrison to retain its reputation as a town steeped in hate from the community. On the contrary, there have been several anti-hate organizations formed in this region which function to denounce the current image of Harrison and promote diversity and change. The small town was dubbed the most racist town in America by British tabloid the Daily Mirror in 2016, yet it is continuously at odds with itself."

It's possible to take the four "L" s that can be rotated and used to make a swastika and instead position them to make a cross. I think of such a crossin contrast to those often seen in Catholic churches as having Christ suffering on itas standing for spreading love. Each of those "L" s representing spreading love in a different direction: to north, south, east, and west throughout the world. I like to imagine that someday what such a symbol represents spreading love and peacewill be valued much more than symbols associated with suffering, violence, and hate.


1) In Figure 8 "The Christian Love / Stewardship Worldview" on page 143 of my book Choices We Make in the Global Village I list the 20 themes which make up this worldview. 

2) In Figure 7 "The Christian Salvation / Having Dominion Over Worldview" on page 138 of my book Choices We Make in the Global Village I list the 20 themes which make up this worldview.


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