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October 3, 2014 0

Sectarian Legislative Prayer – Walking In The Religious Minority’s Shoes

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent leg­isla­tive prayer deci­sion (Greece v. Gal­loway) gen­er­ally sanc­tions sec­tar­ian prayers before meet­ings of local leg­isla­tive bod­ies except for the most egre­gious cir­cum­stances.  In oppos­ing the Court’s deci­sion, Jus­tice Elana Kagan astutely con­cluded that “[w]hen the cit­i­zens of this coun­try approach their gov­ern­ment, they do so only as Amer­i­cans, not as mem­bers of one faith or another.  And that means that even in a partly leg­isla­tive body, they should not con­front government-sponsored wor­ship that divides them along reli­gious lines.”  At a recent county com­mis­sion meet­ing, a local com­mis­sioner may have expe­ri­enced the les­son of Jus­tice Kagan’s admonition.seal-of-escambia-county

The Escam­bia County, FL Com­mis­sion allows sec­tar­ian invo­ca­tions at its pub­lic meet­ings by a com­mu­nity mem­ber of any faith or reli­gion.  At the Sep­tem­ber 25th Com­mis­sion meet­ing, David Suhor, who is Pagan, recited a pagan prayer song “call­ing of the direc­tions north, east, south and west.”  Regard­ing his prayer, Mr. Suhor later stated “[i]n a way I would like for other peo­ple to expe­ri­ence what it’s like when I go to a meet­ing and am asked to pray against my conscience.”

Mr. Suhor’s prayer appar­ently offended at least one per­son in the room. Accord­ing to a news report, County Com­mis­sioner Wil­son Robert­son, “left the room because of his Chris­t­ian beliefs,” and he stated “[p]eople may not real­ize it, but when we invite some­one a min­is­ter to pray they are pray­ing for the county com­mis­sion­ers for us to make wise deci­sions and I’m just not going to have a pagan or satanic min­is­ter pray for me.”

ADL opposes sec­tar­ian leg­isla­tive prayer prac­tices because of the reli­gious exclu­sion and divi­sion result­ing from them – par­tic­u­larly for reli­gious minori­ties.  If the com­mis­sioner does not want a com­mu­nity mem­ber to pray for him in a faith that offends his con­science, per­haps he and other com­mis­sion mem­bers should adopt a moment of silence pol­icy or at least a non-sectarian invo­ca­tion policy.

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October 2, 2014 2

American Racist Group Will Hold Meeting in Hungary Despite Ban

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Richard Spencer at National Pol­icy Institute

Update — 10/06/14: On Octo­ber 3, Hun­gar­ian police arrested National Pol­icy Insti­tute (NPI) head Richard Spencer for not hav­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion papers with him at an infor­mal gath­er­ing of peo­ple who had planned to attend NPI’s con­fer­ence in Budapest. Jared Tay­lor, work­ing with oth­ers, held an NPI meet­ing at a restau­rant in Budapest where he and Tom Sunic spoke to about 75 peo­ple. Spencer is expected to be deported from Hun­gary today.


Richard Spencer
, the head of the National Pol­icy Insti­tute (NPI), a white suprema­cist think tank based in White­fish, Mon­tana, asserts that his group will still hold a meet­ing in Budapest on Octo­ber 3–5, despite the Hun­gar­ian government’s ban on the con­fer­ence. In addi­tion, the venue in Hun­gary where the con­fer­ence was to be held has report­edly can­celled its con­tract with NPI organizers.

Per­versely invok­ing the civil rights anthem, “We shall over­come,” Spencer declared to sup­port­ers in an email that NPI would per­se­vere and that peo­ple plan­ning to attend would still be able to meet and exchange ideas. Spencer usu­ally holds NPI con­fer­ences in Wash­ing­ton, DC where he reg­u­larly invites Euro­pean and Amer­i­can racists to share their ideas about white nation­al­ism in Europe and the U.S.

Spencer, 36, is the new face of white supremacy who over­sees a num­ber of projects in addi­tion to NPI. He cre­ated an online jour­nal Radix, which fea­tures the work of intel­lec­tual racists and runs Wash­ing­ton Sum­mit Pub­lish­ers, which pub­lishes racist tracts. Prior to openly embrac­ing white nation­al­ism in 2009, he worked at the Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor, a main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive mag­a­zine. In 2010, he founded Alter­na­tive Right, a white suprema­cist online jour­nal, which cur­tailed oper­a­tions in Decem­ber 2013.

In a 2011 inter­view, Spencer said, “By 2009, I was much more will­ing to express hereti­cal views on race and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, as well as write more forth­rightly on cul­ture.” Spencer has advo­cated for a white ethno-state in the U.S. In 2011, he became the head of NPI and his annual con­fer­ences have attracted dozens of attend­ing, includ­ing a num­ber of young people.

The con­fer­ence in Hun­gary was sched­uled to fea­ture a num­ber of other Amer­i­cans includ­ing Jared Tay­lor, head of the white suprema­cist jour­nal Amer­i­can Renais­sance and John Mor­gan, an Amer­i­can who heads Ark­tos Media, based in Budapest. Ark­tos, a co-sponsor of the NPI con­fer­ence, pub­lishes books that pro­mote the Iden­ti­tar­ian move­ment in Europe. Iden­ti­tar­ian groups are pro-white, anti-immigrant and stress racial/ethnic iden­tity. Tom Sunic, who is Croa­t­ian and a leader in Amer­i­can Free­dom Party (for­merly known as Amer­i­can Third Posi­tion), was also sched­uled to address the NPI gath­er­ing. The Amer­i­can Free­dom Party is a white suprema­cist polit­i­cal party that runs extrem­ist can­di­dates in the U.S. Other speak­ers included Mar­ton Gyongyosi, a leader in the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Hun­gar­ian party Job­bik, who has since report­edly bowed out of the NPI event and Alexan­der Dugin, a Russ­ian ultra­na­tion­al­ist ideologue.

The con­fer­ence would build fur­ther ties between Amer­i­can and Euro­pean racists and nation­al­ists and exploit ris­ing ultra­na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ment in Hun­gary as evi­denced by Jobbik’s elec­toral gains in the April 2014 elections.

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September 16, 2014 0

From The Archives: Violence Against Women Act 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago, on Sep­tem­ber 13, 1994, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton signed the Vio­lence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law which reflects a core part of ADL’s mis­sion: the pre­ven­tion of bias-motivated crim­i­nal behav­ior. VAWA autho­rized gov­ern­ment action to improve crim­i­nal jus­tice and com­mu­nity responses to domes­tic and sex­ual vio­lence and pro­vided fund­ing for the estab­lish­ment of the National Domes­tic Vio­lence Hot­line. ADL’s sup­port for the law, which aimed to pro­tect women from vio­lence directed against them because of their gen­der, was a nat­ural exten­sion of its work on hate crimes. pres-clinton-bill-signing-1994-09-13

In 1996, two years after VAWA’s enact­ment, ADL added gen­der to its model hate crimes leg­is­la­tion, cit­ing the fact that gender-based hate crimes could not be eas­ily dis­tin­guished from other forms of hate-motivated vio­lence. In response to legal chal­lenges to VAWA fol­low­ing its enact­ment, ADL joined sev­eral ami­cus (friend of the court) briefs in sup­port of the Act. In 2000, in U.S. v. Mor­ri­son, ADL, along with a num­ber of other civil rights orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way, the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Con­gress, and Hadas­sah, filed an ami­cus brief sup­port­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of VAWA’s civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, which allowed sur­vivors of gender-motivated vio­lence to sue their attack­ers in fed­eral court.

Fol­low­ing the Court’s deci­sion to strike down the civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, ADL con­tin­ued its sup­port for leg­is­la­tion that coun­ters dis­crim­i­na­tion and bias crimes—including on the basis of gen­der or gen­der iden­tity. In 2009, Con­gress enacted the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act crim­i­nal­iz­ing hate crimes tar­get­ing vic­tims because of race, color, reli­gion, national ori­gin, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity or dis­abil­ity.  ADL spear­headed coali­tion efforts to pass the bill for more than a decade.

After fail­ing to reau­tho­rize an update to VAWA in 2012, Con­gress enacted new leg­is­la­tion in 2013, which included addi­tional pro­grams specif­i­cally designed to address domes­tic vio­lence against women of color, Native Amer­i­cans, new cam­pus hate crime require­ments, and inti­mate part­ner vio­lence involv­ing mem­bers of the LGBT community.

On this impor­tant anniver­sary, ADL reaf­firms its long-standing com­mit­ment to advo­cat­ing for legally-sound statutes at the fed­eral and state level that counter dis­crim­i­na­tion, bias crimes, and vio­lence against women.

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