14 May 2011

Boy indoctrinated with violent racist ideology charged with murdering his father who led neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement

The Guardian - UK May 11, 2011

Neo-Nazi's 10-year-old son charged with his murder

Jeff Hall, who led National Socialist Movement in south-west US, may have involved son in supremacist activities

by Ed Pilkington in New York

A 10-year-old boy charged with murdering his father at their home in California was being exposed to his father's extreme neo-Nazi ideology of racism and violence at the time he allegedly turned a gun against him.

Evidence is mounting that Jeff Hall, 32, a white supremacist who led the National Socialist Movement in the south-west of the US, was involving his son in neo-Nazi activities before his death on 1 May.

A possible link between the group's violent messages and the shooting – an act exceptionally rare for a child as young as 10 – could be an important factor in the boy's trial.

Police were called to the Halls' home in Riverside, California, outside Los Angeles, shortly after 4am last Sunday, where they found Hall dead on a sofa. He had been shot with the family handgun.

Hall used his home as the headquarters of the NSM, one of America's largest and most influential neo-Nazi groups. A reporter for the New York Times witnessed Hall preaching race hatred at a meeting in front of the boy, his eldest of five children, a day before the shooting. Hall told the newspaper he was teaching the boy how to use a gun as well as night-vision gear and had given him a belt bearing Nazi SS insignia.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors extreme right-wing groups, the NSM has a track record of recruiting very young children into its activities that surpasses that of any other organisation in the US. The party has created a children's wing called Viking Youth Corps, which is open to boys and girls with the proviso that they must be of European descent and the offspring of NSM members, or have their parents' consent.

The boy, unnamed by authorities due to his age, will be tried in a juvenile court. The local paper, the Press-Enterprise, described him as a "shaggy blond-haired, small, skinny, baby-faced boy". His defence lawyer indicated that he might pursue a plea of not guilty for reasons of insanity.

The boy's parents had been through a bitter divorce, and Hall and his former wife, Leticia Neal, had accused each other of abusing the child. The family has been monitored by social services since 2003.

The NSM was founded in 1994 and has grown in prominence over seven years. It now has about 400 members in 32 states. It advocates open race hatred, calling for the expatriation of all non-whites in America, and preaching antisemitism. Until 2007 its members wore Nazi uniforms with swastika armbands, but now wear black battle dress.

Hall, a plumber, was a prominent party member, involved in vigilantism along the Mexican border, organising patrols hunting illegal migrants. His house regularly attracted anti-racist protesters and he had put surveillance cameras on the property's exterior walls to keep guard on them. Hall's ashes are expected to be scattered along the Mexican border as a final political statement.

Jeff Schoep, NSM leader, described the dead man on the movement's website as a "dedicated father, his children were his life". He added: "See you in Valhalla!"

This article was found at:


New York Times  -  May 10, 2011

Neo-Nazi Father Is Killed; Son, 10, Steeped in Beliefs, Is Accused


RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The day before he allegedly shot his father, the sandy-haired 10-year-old boy showed off a prized possession to a visitor. It was a thin leather belt emblazoned with a silver insignia of the Nazi SS.

“Look what my dad got me,” the boy said shyly, perched on the living room stairs, one of the few quiet spots in a house with five children.

A little more than 12 hours later, the police say, the boy stood near those stairs with a handgun and killed his father, Jeff Hall, as he lay on the living room couch. It was about 4 a.m. on May 1; paramedics declared Mr. Hall dead when they arrived.

The police say that the killing was intentional, but that the motives behind it are still not fully understood. But whatever the reason, it has cast fresh light on the fringe group to which Mr. Hall devoted his life: the National Socialist Movement, the nation’s largest neo-Nazi party, whose message stands in surreal juxtaposition to the suburban, workaday trappings of many of its members.

Mr. Hall, who led a chapter of the group in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, had predicted that his political activities — in a world rife with hatred, suspicion and violence — would lead to his demise.

“I want a white society,” Mr. Hall said. “I believe in secession. I believe in giving my life for secession.”

What he could never have expected was that his death might come at the hand of his son, whom he was steeping in his beliefs of white supremacy and its obsessions with weapons, racist speech and Nazi regalia.

Over the last two months, The New York Times attended and documented a series of events held by Mr. Hall and the National Socialist Movement, or N.S.M., including virulent, hate-filled rallies as well as barbecues and baby showers in the backyard of his Southern California home.

Mr. Hall was a rising force in the party, which has capitalized on a tide of anti-immigrant sentiment to attract members — young racist skinheads, aging Ku Klux Klan members, and extremists on the left and the right.

Based in Detroit, it is the largest supremacist group, with about 400 members in 32 states, though much of its prominence followed the decay of Aryan Nation and other neo-Nazi groups, experts say. The movement is led by Jeff Schoep, a suit-wearing spokesman for what he calls a “white civil rights movement,” which he views as no different from other groups that defend minorities.

“If we’re a hate group,” said Mr. Schoep in an interview, “then Martin Luther King is a racist or a bigot also.”

Mr. Hall, 32, had embraced the movement and vice versa, earning a loyal following with his energy, unapologetic stands on race and frequent meetings and parties at his home. In recent years, he and other members had staged rallies that sparked street battles in several states, including a skirmish in Pemberton, N.J., during the group’s national conference in April, where rocks, tree branches, folding chairs and pepper spray were used as weapons.

After the fight, Mr. Hall — wearing a black Nazi military uniform — was hungry for more. “That’s why I joined N.S.M.,” Mr. Hall said, his eyes red from Mace. “What a night! I can’t wait for tomorrow!”

Mr. Hall, a garrulous plumber with a cross and a skull tattooed on the back of his shaved head, ran as a National Socialist for a seat on a local water district last fall and won a surprising 28 percent of the vote. He planned to run for office again.

Mr. Schoep has said the group wants to try its hand at more elections, and it has even tried to mimic the populist language used by some candidates during the 2010 campaign, railing against banks receiving “tax-funded federal bailouts” while Americans continue to struggle.

“The government tells us we’re in recovery,” Mr. Schoep told a crowd in New Jersey. “Well yeah, if you’re a fat cat on Wall Street, if you’re some greedy Jew running a bank that got a whole bunch of kickbacks, maybe it is better. But not for us.”

Illegal immigration has also emerged as a potent neo-Nazi talking point, and Mr. Hall relished heading to the desert on armed “border patrols.” He organized his members and spent his plumbing proceeds on night-vision goggles and ham radio licenses. Mr. Hall also bragged that he was teaching his son to use night vision equipment and shoot a gun.

And while many of those involved in the N.S.M. are alienated from their families, or struggle to explain their beliefs, Mr. Hall was open about his activities with his children. His two-story home in Riverside served as the movement’s headquarters in Southern California. Inside, photos of his five children lined the walls and a copy of “Cinderella” sat on the bookshelf.

At a recent meeting, Mr. Hall showed a video he had made of the national gathering in New Jersey and the brawl. As the end credits rolled, a version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” played, with modified lyrics.

“The white man marches on!” it said.

One of Mr. Hall’s young daughters was watching through a screen door and chimed in.

“I love that song, Daddy,” she said.

Raphael Ezekiel, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health who studied skinheads for his book “The Racist Mind,” said: “They’re people who feel very weak. So they’re a pushover if a person with a little bit of charisma comes along.”

And indeed, in March, Mr. Hall led a rally in Claremont, Calif., at which he preached discipline to his followers while grumbling about pat-downs from a large police contingent. About two dozen of the party followers traded insults with a larger group of counterprotesters. Mr. Hall took joy in the taunts of “Nazi Go Home!”

“I have some bad news for you,” he said. “We are home.”

A few hours later, at a St. Patrick’s Day party complete with green shot glasses and German beer, Mr. Hall gamely officiated at a sack race for his children, using the same bullhorn that he had used to lead chants of “White power!” just hours before.

In one corner of the yard, a blue-eyed blond woman wore a white supremacist T-shirt that said, “Because the beauty of white Aryan women must not perish from the earth.” Nearby, a vendor had set up a stand, selling a ragtag variety of racially tinged paraphernalia.

Fund-raising was a constant concern for Mr. Hall. He told the vendor to look into selling Che Guevara T-shirts. “He’s a murderous communist,” Mr. Hall said, “but you sell those shirts, and you fund the movement.”

At a meeting the day before he was shot, Mr. Hall hoisted a swastika banner, not far from his newborn’s bassinet. His 10-year-old son listened as Mr. Hall spoke of finding rotting bodies on the border and discussed fears of being attacked with “AIDS-infected blood” if the group was to rally in San Francisco.

After the meeting, members drifted outside to smoke and drink.

The boy sat nearby on the steps. Was he having a good time? a reporter asked. Yes, he said, though he was annoyed by his four younger sisters. But he was the eldest, he added, and a boy. “And boys are more important,” he said.

That night, Jeff Hall apparently went out with some of his members. He arrived home about midnight and, four hours later, the police received a call about shots fired.

The boy is expected to appear in court later this month; he has been charged as a juvenile with murder, and his public defender said he might plead insanity. The boy and a younger sister had been the subject of a bitter custody battle with Mr. Hall’s first wife, with a series of allegations of abuse on each side. But Mr. Hall had eventually been granted legal custody.

On Saturday, a group of Mr. Hall’s followers gathered in Southern California to mourn their leader. One, an N.S.M. official who asked not to be identified because of the attention Mr. Hall’s death had brought to the group, said that the rallies would continue, and that Mr. Hall’s ashes would be spread on the border during a patrol. The boy was not mentioned.

“Today was all about Jeff, how he would want us to carry on,” the official said. “Nobody was looking for answers.”

Ian Lovett and Julie Platner contributed reporting from Los Angeles, and Malia Wollan from San Francisco.

This article was found at:


Thousands of U.S. children of Nazi parents are being indoctrinated with racism and taught to idolize Hitler

10-year-old preacher of hate indoctrinated by white pride parents is face of youth movement in U.S. KKK

German Police Raids Nazi Youth Camp

Parents who gave their children Nazi names lose custody for failing to protect them from harm

Manitoba judge rejects custody bid by neo-Nazi parents who painted swastikas on kids to promote racist views


  1. Activist Son of Key Racist Leader Renounces White Nationalism

    by Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center July 17, 2013

    Derek Black, son of the former Alabama Klan leader who now runs the largest racist Web forum in the world, has renounced white nationalism, saying that he had been through “a gradual awakening process” and apologizing for his past activism.

    In an E-mail (pdf) to the editor of this blog earlier this week, Black, 24, wrote that he had come to see the arguments of white nationalism as “principally flawed,” adding that he had realized that American society is marked by an “overwhelming disparity between white power and that of everyone else” and that white nationalism was really about “an entrenched desire to preserve white power at the expense of others.”

    “Advocating for white nationalism means that we are opposed to minority attempts to elevate themselves to a position equal to our own,” wrote Black, who recently finished his third year at the elite New College of Florida. “It is an advocacy that I cannot support, having grown past my bubble, talked to the people I affected, read more widely, and realized the necessary impact my actions had on people I never wanted to harm.”

    It was a remarkable statement for Black, whose father, Don Black, once served time in prison for plotting a racist invasion of a small Caribbean nation and founded and still runs Stormfront, a white supremacist Web forum. The younger Black was raised in the racist movement, had by age 12 created a racist children’s page on his father’s website, and until recently hosted a radio show featuring racist guests.

    But it was also the latest step in a fairly clear evolution.

    Last November, Derek Black posted a statement on a students-only forum at his college in which he explicitly said he was not a white supremacist, a neo-Nazi or a Klansman, and revealing that he had some unexpected views, such as support for same-sex marriage, environmental regulation, and legal abortion. But he also said in the statement, which was made public on this blog in December, that he was not renouncing white nationalism and did not see it as incompatible with his other views.

    continued below

  2. In his E-mail this week, Black said that he was already moving away from white nationalism at the time, but that “I was not prepared to risk driving any wedge” into his relationship with his family, “whom I respect greatly, particularly my father.” But, he added, “After a great deal of thought since then, I have resolved that it is in the best interests of everyone involved, directly or indirectly, to be honest about my slow but steady disaffiliation from white nationalism.” He described himself as having spent “the past few years … disentangling myself from white nationalism,” and added that he had closed down his radio show permanently this January. He said that he had not posted at all on Stormfront this year, and only once in 2012. He said he did attend a Stormfront conference in 2012, but would not do so again this year.

    Black also directly confronted some of the main arguments of white nationalism, such as the idea that whites are being victimized by non-white immigration, mixed-race marriages and affirmative action — what amounts, in the arguments of white nationalists, to “genocide” aimed at destroying the white race. He also ridiculed many white nationalists’ “particularly bizarre” hatred of Jews.

    “I now consider this belief system principally flawed,” he said. “Most arguments that racial equity programs disadvantage whites who would otherwise be hired or accepted to academic programs mask underlying anxieties about the growth of non-white social status. It is impossible to argue rationally that in our society, with its overwhelming disparity between white power and that of everyone else, racial equity programs intended to affect the deep-rooted situation represent oppression of whites.” Indeed, Black added, “The advancement of minorities in the US is not insignificant, but has not ended (let alone reversed) their circumstances.”

    Black was explicitly apologetic. “I acknowledge that things I have said as well as my actions have been harmful to people of color, people of Jewish descent, activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all, and others affected.”

    “I can’t support a movement that tells me I can’t be a friend to whomever I wish or that other people’s races requires me to think about them in a certain way or be suspicious of their advancements,” Black wrote toward the end of his four-page statement. “Minorities must have the ability to rise to positions of power, and many supposed ‘race’ issues are in fact issues of structural oppression, poor educational prospects, and limited opportunity. The differences I thought I observed didn’t go nearly as deeply as I imagined. I believe we can move beyond the sort of mind-boggling emphasis white nationalism puts on maintaining an oppressive, exclusive sense of identity — oppressive for others and stifling for our society.”


  3. Boy who killed neo-Nazi father placed in juvenile custody for 7 years

    By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times October 31, 2013

    A judge ruled Thursday that a Riverside County boy found guilty of killing his neo-Nazi father should be placed in a state-run juvenile justice facility for seven years.

    In her decision, Judge Jean P. Leonard agreed with prosecutors that the boy, 13, had a history of violence and posed a threat to public safety.

    The boy's first parole hearing is scheduled to take place when he is 20, but he could get out earlier with good behavior, Leonard said.

    Lawyers for the boy had argued that he has social and emotional disabilities, as well as difficulties with speech and vision. If he is rehabilitated by the time he becomes an adult, he will need services that the lawyers say the state facility cannot offer him.

    They had advocated sending him to a private, residential treatment facility that could meet those needs while also restricting his access to the outside world. It became apparent during the hearing, however, that such a place might be difficult to find.

    Leonard found in January that the boy — who was 10 when he shot his father, Jeffrey Hall, in the head as he slept on a couch in the family's living room — possessed the mental capacity to know that killing his father was wrong. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and using a gun while committing a felony.

    The boy, who was charged as a juvenile, can be held in state custody until he is 23. The Times is withholding his identity because of his age.

    During his closing arguments, Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Soccio said the boy has demonstrated a propensity for violence beyond killing his father, calling it a "hallmark of his early life." Soccio recounted instances of aggression, including attacking teachers. He said those inclinations had continued during the two years he has been incarcerated.

    The boy's lawyers agreed that it's crucial that the boy be placed in a secure, highly structured environment. But they contended that he needed more than what the state facilities could offer him.

    The boy "has considerable, pervasive and complicated disabilities" that are partly the result of a decade of abuse at the hands of his father, attorney Punam Grewal said.

    Hall was a West Coast leader of a neo-Nazi organization known as the National Socialist Movement. During the trial, an attorney for the boy said Hall had routinely beaten him. Shortly before Hall was killed, he had threatened to leave the family and to set the house on fire with his children and wife inside.

    The boy, his attorneys argued, probably believed he was acting to protect his family when, on the morning of May 1, 2011, he shot his father point-blank in the head.


  4. Tom Olsen describes life as a Neo-Nazi thug and how he was ‘de-radicalised’

    by Debra Killalea NEWS.com.au APRIL 08, 2014

    TOM Olsen was just 16 years old when he joined an ultra-right Neo-Nazi group.

    The young Norwegian teenager had a fascination with world war history and began to sympathise with the Nazi cause.

    He immersed himself in Neo-Nazi literature, further fuelling his extreme views before eventually becoming the leader of a white supremacist group in the 1990s.

    But it didn’t stop there: He was soon involved in acts of violence, twice spent time in jail and he even plotted to kill non-sympathisers.

    His hatred spiralled out of control and he joined the KKK in the US and went to South Africa in 1998 to join the AWB, another white supremacy movement.

    “We enjoyed the respect and fear we got from people, it became quite violent,” he told news.com.au from Norway.

    “It went from fun and exiting to quite stressful and challenging. But we had ourselves, we were brothers and did not see other friends and extended family slip away.”

    He was so convinced his views were right, that he never questioned them or those of the white supremacists around him.

    “I felt like a born-again Christian,” he said.

    “I saw the truth that most people did not. I felt like I had been living a life in a tiny box and now I could see the world for what it really was. I did not question things at all.”

    But it took a lot of pain, suffering, jail time and ultimately learning about what it meant to be human to finally change his ways.

    Mr Olsen’s story tonight features on Changing A Mindset on SBS Insight program. The documentary explores de-radicalisation and changing extreme beliefs.

    He said it was while in South Africa that he began to see his extreme views for what they were, even if he wasn’t ready to leave them just yet.

    Becoming disillusioned with the back-stabbing and in-fighting taking place back in his group in Norway, he slowly began to question the ideology.

    But it wasn’t until he had his life spared by a black man who robbed him in South Africa that things really began to change. Even though Mr Olsen was wearing a swastika t-shirt, the armed black man chose not to shoot him ... instead, he spared his life.

    Mr Olsen went back to Norway and was jailed for another assault and it was while in jail for the second time that he decided he needed to de-radicalise his life.

    “I got time to think and found out I could not stand for this anymore,” he said.

    “So I decided to leave. I called my parents and said it was over. I’ve never looked back.”

    Now 39 and married with a young son, the crime prevention co-ordinator works alongside Tore Bjorgo, a man he once wanted dead, helping to change people who hold radical views he once held himself.

    continued below

  5. He said people could always change their views no matter how extreme.

    If he could talk to his younger self, he would say this: “Rethink your life, I know you don’t feel hate in your heart, life is too short to spend it hating.”
    Mr Olsen is not alone in learning how to change extreme views.

    Insight will also hear from other guests whose thinking and views were so radically different from today it’s hard to believe they are even the same people.

    Yeonmi Park was just a teenager when she escaped North Korea with her parents.

    Ms Park grew up believing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il was a god who could read her mind and anyone harbouring bad thoughts about him would surely die.

    She was convinced her leader wasn’t even human — something she blames on the country’s propaganda system.

    “I had seen movies from the outside world and had learned some unapproved things, but still, I couldn’t think of them as being human,” she said.

    “In school, we learned that they had almighty powers and could make miracles. So basically I couldn’t think about them being normal people, they were like Gods.”

    Having a middle class upbringing, she enjoyed a comfortable existence in North Korea until her father got arrested and sent to 17 years in jail for apparently trading metals with China.

    “There is guilt by association in North Korea, so my blood was also considered to be tainted,” she said.

    Her family escaped and she was sent to the government-run ‘Hanawon’ resettlement centre, which aims to help defectors discard their old beliefs and integrate into South Korean society.

    But it wasn’t easy changing such a radical mindset.

    “The propaganda is there 24/7, the statues praising them are everywhere, the education system is built on brainwashing people from birth,” the now 20-year-old said.

    “I suppose some people will start to question it after they have the kind of bad experience that my family had, some others it will take time.”
    Matthew Klein and daughter Tessa will also appear on the program revealing how radicalised they were during their time within what he describes as a cult-like commune.

    The father and daughter were part of the Twelve Tribes commune on a farm at Picton, outside Sydney.

    Mr Klein reveals how he was attracted by the group’s reputation as a religious community based on Bible teachings.

    He joined the group with his wife and kids after selling all his family’s possessions.

    But he now believes the group is a cult, and draws on his experience to help others who want to get out.

    Matthew’s daughter Tessa also left the group but her mother — Matthew’s wife — has refused to leave.


  6. White supremacist home schooling

    by Jonny Scaramanga, Leaving Fundamentalism August 26, 2014


    So here’s the most horrible thing I’ve found in a while: White Pride Homeschooling. I don’t even want to give their page the extra traffic, so I’m linking to an archived version of their website (from August 2014).

    From their website (Warning: you are about to read racist propaganda):

    The biggest increase in intermarriage has occurred in recent years, due to the social interaction of children of different races in the school room and subsequently the board room and then bedroom. In the year 2000 – 9 percent of married men and women below age 30 were intermarried, compared with 7 percent of those ages 30 to 44, 5 percent for those ages 45 to 59, and about 3 percent among those age 60 and older. Obviously school busing, the promotion of interracial marriages by “Christian” preachers, visible images in all types of media, and 12 (plus) years of social conditioning in the schools for each and every child has had a devastating effect on the racial integrity of white America.

    Gotta love the use of square quotes around “Christian” in the above paragraph, because obviously true Christians are racist Christians.

    Yup, this is a Christian organisation. No doubt you are wondering which curriculums they suggest parents can use without polluting the minds of their pure Aryan offspring.

    In no particular order:

    Bob Jones University Press

    Alpha Omega (pretty much a clone of ACE, but reputedly more academically challenging)

    CLASS (the Christian Liberty Academy School System, which produces a custom curriculum based on a mixture of texts from publishers including A Beka and Bob Jones)

    And, of course, Lighthouse Christian Academy, which is the homeschool wing of Accelerated Christian Education.

    You may be surprised. You should not be.

    Now, I am not saying that Accelerated Christian Education is a white supremacist organisation. I’m sure ACE would prefer to distance itself from such racism (Side note: Dear ACE, if you publicly condemn this organisation, I will write one blog post in which I say nothing but nice things about you). But it is telling that the bigots at White Christian Homeschool find ACE’s materials entirely compatible with their aims.

    The fact that ACE’s cartoons depict segregated classrooms means that Mrs White Supremacist Homeschool Mom can rest assured that the materials will reinforce what she is already telling her children: White kids should be separated from the other kids. After all, these white supremacists don’t hate black people. They even link to the National Black Home Educators Resource Association, explaining: “As we encourage a Christian lifestyle for all races and do not believe in integrated classrooms – we are providing this link.” See, they’re thoughtful really.

    Bob Jones University’s presence in this company is even less of a surprise, given that organisation’s history of white supremacism. It’s not entirely clear when BJU would have abandoned its discriminatory entrance policy if the political climate had not forced it to do so by 1975.

    If all this is shocking you, clearly you need to bone up on your history. Biblical literalism lends itself quite comfortably to racism. “Slaves obey your masters” is a clear-cut instruction. Although my Christian teachers loved to remind me that the British Abolitionist William Wilberforce was a Christian, they tended to gloss over the fact that most of those opposing him were Christians too.

    continued below

  7. As Mark Noll noted of the US Civil War, and Carolyn Renee Dupont argued about American segregation, racists have always found ammunition in the pages of the Bible. And this is partly because of the way they read it.

    Because these fundamentalists believed that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God, this meant that it obviously contained no contradictions. They also believe that the Bible is the eternal Word of God, so it applies equally to all people at all times, and there is little need to consider historical context. This means that if you can find one verse which supports your argument, you have proved your case. Some literalists might be a little more circumspect, referring to the Biblical rule that “every matter must be established by the presence of two or three witnesses”. Some take this to mean that you need three Bible verses to prove your point. But still, three verses and you’re golden.

    The Bible is a long book. With enough determination, you can find three verses to prove just about anything. That’s why the prosperity gospel preachers can tell people that the Bible is a get-rich-quick scheme. The method they use for reading the Bible is perfectly adapted to this. It’s what Fred Clark calls the Clobber-Text Hermeneutic.

    Early in this blog’s history, I wrote a post called Jesus Jihad: Could there be a Christian Bin Laden? In it, I gathered Bible verses and wrote a mock tract which made out that the Bible encouraged Christians to become terrorists. My point (which I didn’t make very clearly at the time) was that if you read the Bible in this crass way, it can be open to all kinds of abuse.

    So today fundamentalists condemn racism (and they find Bible verses to support that, too). But the way they encourage children to read the Bible has not changed. As a non-believer, of course, I don’t hold the Bible sacred at all, but it seems clear to me that if you’re going to study it, you need to pay attention to the context in which things were written. The Bible is a compilation of books by different authors who made different points, so you cannot conclude “what the Bible says about X” from any single passage.

    It’s funny, isn’t it, that Christians suddenly started noticing that the Bible was opposed to racism shortly after it became culturally unacceptable to be racist.

    I don’t care whether you can find more verses in the Bible to support racism or to condemn it. All that matters is that it’s possible to support both positions quite well from the text. And this proves that the way ACE (and its ilk) teach children to read the Bible in fact does nothing to prepare them for the real world.

    Related posts:

    I would not have written this post had I not been inspired by the Christian blogger Fred Clark. I’ve linked to several of his posts above. Here are the most important:

    Of clobber-texts and anti-clobber-texts
    Why Young Earth Creationism needs to be killed with fire
    The clobber verses of slavery and the slavery of clobber verses
    Related posts from me:

    Jesus Jihad: Could there be a Christian Bin Laden?
    Who cares about atheism?
    How Accelerated Christian Education is racist

    To read the numerous links embedded in this article go to:


  8. Is There a Christian Double Standard on Religious Violence

    Nearly 80 percent of Christians don’t think a terrorist acting in the name of Christianity is Christian. But more than half say terrorists acting in the name of Islam are Muslims.

    by BRANDON WITHROW, Daily Beast March 04, 2017

    Shortly after September 11, 2001, then President George W. Bush spoke directly to Muslims. “We respect your faith,” he said, calling it “good and peaceful.” Terrorists, he added, “are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.”
    Recently, TODAY’s Matt Lauer reminded Bush of his words. “I understood right off the bat, Matt, that this was an ideological conflict—that people who murder the innocent are not religious people,” Bush explained.
    Those words epitomize an important, but controversial question: is someone who acts violently in the name of a faith truly a member of that faith? According to recently highlighted data from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)—which focuses primarily on Christian responses to that yes/no question—potential answers may result in a “double standard.” Christians are more likely to say that other Christians acting violently are not true Christians, while failing to provide the same latitude for Muslims.
    But how closely does this represent the reality? When I asked Christian theologians the why behind that simple survey, the answers were—perhaps surprisingly—more complicated and diverse.
    According to PRRI, 50 percent of Americans in general say that violence in the name of Islam does not represent Islam—75 percent say the same of Christianity. The numbers shift, however, the more specific the demographic gets, creating the alleged “double standard.” White mainline Protestants (77 percent) and Catholics (79 percent) reject the idea that true Christians act violently, with 41 percent and 58 percent respectively being willing to say the same of Muslims.
    White evangelicals stand out the most, having what PRRI calls the “larger double-standard”—87 percent disown Christians who commit violent acts, with only 44 percent willing to say the same about Muslims.
    Many, however, believe that Christians who commit acts of terror are overlooked in the West—that “terrorist” is a biased word used only of non-white violent acts done in the name of Islam.
    Early in February, the White House issued a report of 78 terror attacks the Trump administration says were ignored by the media. The list was widely dissected by the press and pundits, with news outlets challenging the claims (listing their own coverage as proof), taking the metaphorical red pencil to the list’s many clear spelling errors, and noting the conspicuous absence of attacks by professed white Christians. Notably, the list did not include the recent attack on a mosque in Quebec, as CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out.
    Understandably, most people are unlikely to associate willfully with anyone who acts horribly in the name of a faith they love. When terrorist attacks do occur, faith representatives frequently waste little time in denouncing them (PRRI’s “double standard”) but not all are sure that these open repudiations represent the reality.
    Reverend Susan Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at the United Church of Christ’s Chicago Theological Seminary, for example, believes there is value in calling violent actors by their chosen faith.
    “Christians who commit terrorists acts in the name of their religion are, of course, Christian terrorists,” she says. This does not mean that “Christianity is only a violent religion,” but “it has been complicit in horrific and systemic violence across history, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Nazis, and today’s Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.”

    continued below

  9. She believes it is important that Christians face the issue honestly. “Christians don’t get a ‘hall pass’ to go innocently through the bloody history of what has been done by Christians in the name of Christianity over time. It is absolutely critical that Christians not turn away from the Christian theological elements in such religiously inspired terrorism.”
    The same goes for Islam, she says.
    “When Muslims commit horrific acts in the name of their religion, I do not think they cease to be Muslims.” She recognizes that Muslims who distance themselves from ISIS might say, “That’s not Islam,” but she believes it is more complicated than that.
    “I know many thoughtful Muslims who know they need to dig deeply into their own faith in order to look at the temptations to violence, such as thinking you are doing the ‘will of God’ when what you are really doing is using Islam in order to gain political power.”

    Daniel Kirk, pastoral director at Newbigin House of Studies, agrees that violence does not negate one’s Christian or Muslim status.
    “Each religion and every religious text holds potential for harm as well as good. Acts of violence can be, and often are, religious expressions. It is critical that we recognize the human component involved when religious communities shape behavior. If we deny the religious component we misinterpret the action and lose our opportunity to respond to it appropriately.”
    When shooters (or potential shooters) like Dylan Roof, Benjamin McDowell, Robert Doggart, and Robert Dear, identify themselves as Christians, many might hope to rescind their membership or say it was never valid, but others, like Kirk, believe that approach is problematic.
    “Unless a person is being intentionally deceitful, someone who claims to be acting on the basis of religious fervor should be treated as an adherent to that religion. I do not get to judge whether or not a person is ‘really’ of their faith. As a Christian I can only try to persuade other Christians as to why certain behaviors are incompatible with the Christian faith.”
    Others believe that the difference between Christians and Muslims is more distinct—that the religion of Jesus rejects violence, but that Islam does not.
    “The alleged double-standard claimed by the PRRI survey essentially dissolves when we consider the example and teachings of the respective founders, Jesus and Muhammad,” says evangelical professor Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. “Jesus repudiated violence—that is, the unjust use of force—done in his name.”
    “By contrast, Muhammad himself engaged in violent, ruthless actions during his career,” he adds. “He taught such ruthlessness as normative in the Quran.”
    While agreeing with the larger results of the survey, Copan says the discussion has layers, noting particularly the role of Christians in the military who—assuming they have a just cause—may have to kill. They are in a different situation. It is also possible, he says, for “misguided” Christians to act violently (and therefore, “unjustly”), even if it is contrary to the faith.

    continued below

  10. When it comes to Islam he adds that he’s known “plenty of gracious, hospitable Muslims” who “repudiate violence done in the name of Islam” by “screening off any violent texts of the Quran,” though he can’t say that violence in the name of Islam is inconsistent with the faith.
    Evangelical J. Robert Douglass, associate professor of theological studies at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, takes a cautious approach to the question, recognizing that both faiths have sacred texts that could be understood violently.
    “My understanding of the Christian faith does not permit violence in the name of Christ,” he says. “However, I am not prepared to say that a person who acts in a way contradictory to the teachings of Christ is excluded from being a Christian.” He recognizes that there are complications behind violence, like ignorance, manipulation, and mental illness.
    “If behaving in opposition to the teachings of Christ kept one from being a Christian, I could not consider myself one.”
    He admits that due to competing factions in Islam with varying interpretations vying for “authentic representation”—some advocating violence and others peace—the question is more difficult to answer “definitively.”
    “Both the Bible and the Quran have passages that advocate violence, at least within particular historical contexts,” says Douglass. He says he doesn’t find “a sizable faction within Christianity that is still explicitly advocating the legitimacy of violence in a manner that we presently see in Islam,” but “since Christianity had a historical head start, perhaps in 500 or 600 years this will no longer be true for Islam either.”
    Other theologians readily reject the face value of a faith label attached to an act of violence, agreeing with Christians or Muslims who say, “That’s not my faith.”
    Greg Boyd, senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and an outspoken pacifist, finds himself taking a very different stance, saying that anyone—Christian or Muslim—who acts out in violence is not truly a part of those faiths.
    “Jesus made one’s commitment to refrain from violence, and to instead love and bless one’s enemies, the precondition for being considered ‘a child of your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:39-45). Though followers of Jesus are never allowed to judge another person’s heart or ‘salvation,’ Jesus’ teaching rules out killing another human for any reason, let alone doing so as an act of terror in his name!”
    “While the Quran allows Muslims to take the lives of others under certain conditions,” he adds, “these conditions rule out murdering innocent people to install terror in others (6:151). I therefore side with the majority of Muslims who do not consider Islamic terrorists to be true Muslims.”

    continued below

  11. The briefest dive into this conversation about religious identity quickly reveals an undeniable mosaic of views. And—perhaps to the surprise of some—it should be noted that the flipside of this conversation among Muslims may result in conclusions similar to these Christian perspectives.
    “If someone claiming to be Christian commits an act of violence in the name of Christianity,” says Harris Zafar, National Spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, “it certainly cannot be my place as a Muslim to decide whether or not that person is a true Christian.” He sees that as “the burden” of his “Christian friends,” though he does believe violence contradicts the “teachings of Christianity.”
    “And to be honest,” he adds, “the same holds true with regards to a Muslim. As a Muslim, if I were to look at those Muslims who commit horrible acts of violence and terrorism and say they are not real Muslims, I’m committing the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.”
    The goal of Islam is not to judge others, he says, noting that the Prophet Muhammad saw such actions as a “sin.”
    Instead he “would focus on highlighting all of the teachings of Islam that this person is violating. And Muslims who commit acts of terror can certainly call themselves Muslims if they would like, but I can easily illustrate the fundamental teachings of Islam that they are starkly violating.”
    Islam, says Zafar, calls its adherents to “stop that injustice” and “unite people together through a bond of humanity and mutual respect—not to divide people with injustice or violence.”
    Undeniably, this is a conversation and debate with years of life left in it. The diversity of opinion belies the reality: there is no such thing as a single or simple Christian perspective on how to understand violence and religiosity.
    It was former president and self-professed Christian, Barack Obama, for example, who once offered a similar sentiment to that of Bush. When asked in a CNN town hall why he wouldn’t use the words “radical Islamic terrorist,” he said didn’t want to lump “these murderers” with the world’s billions of peaceful Muslims.
    “There is no doubt that these folks think and claim that they are speaking for Islam,” he said, “but I don’t want to validate what they do. If you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity.’ As a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘you’re killing for Christ.’ I would say, that’s ridiculous.”