Center for New Community

Center for New Community

[confronting Christian Identity and Scriptures for America]

by Kathy J. Fredericks

On Labor Day weekend, Pete Peters and Scriptures for America came to NE Wisconsin. With him, he invited many families and brought one of the most well-known preachers of hate from the Christian Identity movement, Richard Hoskins. The reasons they chose NE Wisconsin aren’t clear, but my speculation is that they figured this would be a quite breeding ground for their festival of hate. They may have also been aware that our area is changing from what was once a homogenous area to that of a wonderfully more diverse community. They may have been aware that white supremacists and hate crimes are on the rise in NE Wisconsin. Whatever their reasoning, we didn’t want them here.

Weeks before Pete Peters and his ilk were scheduled to arrive just outside of sleepy Waupaca; we were alerted by Center for New Community that they were coming. Along with this announcement, CNC provided us with some alarming details about Peters, Hoskins and others. Knowing a little bit about the Christian Identify movement, I knew that our community around us wouldn’t be aware of this presence right in their backyards so we decided to do something. Reverend Motely from Trinity in Waupaca had already decided to show up at the camp site and protest. Because of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we knew how important it was for the Church Community and the rest of the community to work together to fight the presence of evil. Gathering the troops together, Toward Community: Unity in Diversity quickly started making diversity-supportive signs and planning a counter Peace and Unity rally along with Trinity Lutheran.

On a damp and misty day, 50 individuals stood firm in a stance against hate and intolerance. Peters and the others at the camp were a bit surprised that they had not found a community that would just allow them to move in and sugar coat their doctrine. We sent a clear, loud message of ‘NOT IN OUR TOWN’. We also alerted local media to give them researched information about what Christian Identity and Scriptures for America was really about. This wasn’t some Christian Bible group attempting to gather to praise God as they were quoted as saying. This was a dangerous group with extremely dangerous ties. Followers of the hate mongers in the Identity movement have been some of the worst criminals in history…Timothy McVeigh and Benjamin Smith are two of the most celebrated men who follow the Identity teachings. Even upon investigation into the dragging death of James Byrd, the Jasper Police Department uncovered mountains of documents linking the killers of Byrd to the Identity movement. As you can see, the men running this camp were indeed dangerous. We were not going to let them get away with using the name of Christianity to help further their horrifying mission.

Because of Center for New Community, we were able to take back one of our rural towns on that weekend in September. We are hoping that they will not return to NE Wisconsin, but if they do, we’ll be there again. We know that when good people do nothing, evil prospers.