To the Editor:

Just as pots have handles so do issues in the form of attack words. These are words used to attack issues and shut-down conversation. The Rev. Lorenzen has used a number of them. “White nationalist organization,” “hateful,” “bigoted,” “ignorant,” “terrorism,” “hate-speech,” “vile neighbors” and “hatred.”

Unlike society of the colonial period that was homogenous, white, Congregational and not very tolerant, today, what passes for society is none of these. Still, those bigoted folk back then did produce one heck of a state and country and a beautiful town in Woodbury.

As hateful as those people were, they built churches, birthed babies, farmed, herded livestock and generally produced an environment that created and supported a life we only see the evidence of in today’s Woodbury. Life was the core competency.

Today, our American society is one that does not nurture life. This may be seen not only in birth control that was illegal when I was a youth in New Milford, but abortion, feminism that tears away at the fabric of the family, Sunday shopping that used to be illegal, sexualization of society including children and proliferation of indecency and pornography, all of which together, displace those things that society was at one time focused on, building life-affirming values into the community.

I am familiar with Patriot Front and view them as a very vigorous counter-culture movement seeking to draw attention to the old life-affirming values. Their methods, I agree, are unconventional, but that is undoubtedly because counter-culture demonstrations have historically been opposed by violence.

I would ask readers rather to focus on their message of a return to core American values, which I agree are not very permissive, but still worth hearing and reflecting upon.

Patrick Pappano

Southbury

(1) comment

The Rev. Tony Lorenzen

Thanks for your engagement, Mr. Pappano. I too, think we need civil discourse and there is too much divisiveness in our culture. However one of my jobs as a minister is to call out evil when I see it. You may disagree with my definition of evil, but white supremacy, white supremacy culture, and racism are evil. If you, Mr. Pappano, are familiar with the Patriot Front, then you knows it is, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (a watchdog organization that tracks hate groups) "a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017." The SPLC has quotes from the Patriot Front’s Manifesto on it’s website. Here’s one: "An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labelled, an African in America. The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people as well as to those who do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora.” I truly hope that you, Mr. Pappano are not as familiar with the Patriot Front as you claim, or I hope that you do not consider people of color lesser citizens just because of their skin color and continent of origin.

I stand by my statement that those who support The Patriot Front and white nationalsim are ignorant and hateful. There are no two sides when it comes to this type of ideology. There were NOT good people on both sides at Charlottesville, VA in the summer of 2017. Rather those present were either decent Americans OR they were white nationalist. The great American writer James Baldwin taught us, “We can disagree and still love each other. Unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” The Patriot Front denies the right of Black, Jewish, and non-Christian people to exist. They would rather have an America without certain people. And therefore I can not agree to disagree with them. They are evil and I stand by the statements in my letter to the editor of Voices.

(See https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/patriot-front for more info on the Patriot Front.)

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