“ All our future lies with our children and the youth of tomorrow. That is why this organization is based upon family values and the education to our youth of tomorrow.”
- National Socialist Movement (American Nazis) -
“I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
- Psalm 139:22 -
When the National Socialist Movement (NSM) rallied in Madison, Wisconsin, this August to proclaim their hatred for Jews, African Americans, Latinos and homosexuals, a photograph taken by Brian Ebner appeared in The Capital Times. In the picture a dozen beefy, tattooed skinheads in brown military style shirts and swastika armbands are giving the fascist salute while shouting, “Sieg Heil.”
One of the storm troopers is holding his skinhead son, who looks to be no more than three or four years old. To the boy’s credit, his arm is not raised.
Six years ago this October, members of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church along with their children rallied at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year old gay college student who was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left to die along a lonely stretch of road outside Laramie, Wyoming.
Just yards from Shepard’s gravesite and grieving family and friends, the Westboro flock held up placards that read; “God Hates Fags,” No Fags in Heaven,” “Matt in Hell.” The Rev. Phelps staged a sermon spewing out his hatred for homosexuals.
In both the Nazi and the Westboro Baptist church “hate fests,” a family value was being passed from one generation to the next, like the willing of a precious heirloom.
As members of a sentient species we are born equipped to hate. As members of a particular family we may be born into hate. But we are not born hating. Our first hates, big and small, must be learned; and who better to teach us than our parents. The words they choose as we learn our native tongue prepare us to parrot their hate, and then to feel it.
But even the most hate-filled and articulate parent needs help passing the torch. It is too large a blaze for one person to carry.
On Martin Luther King Day, 2002, the National Alliance, a white supremacy group, began advertising the videogame, “Ethnic Cleansing” on its web site. The object of the game is to kill “sub-humans” (Blacks and Latinos) and their Jewish masters. “This game is just what the White teens of the world need . . . I LOVE IT!!” Suzan R. wrote and posted on the National Alliance web site.
Also available exclusively from NSM Records is “Zog’s Nightmare,” a videogame in which “whitey’s” job is to defend the NSM Party headquarters against Abraham Kikenstein’s terror team and “black gangsters lusting for white blood.” The advertisement reads, “With plenty of bullets, blood and bodies it’s a bad day to be a jew [sic].
Coming out this October in time for the Christmas season, the Christian videogame, “Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” is based on the first four novels of Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Dominionist bestselling “Left Behind” series. Over 65 million copies have been sold worldwide, placing the series second behind the Bible in sales of Christian texts.
The action in the game takes place during the seven years of tribulation following the rapture. The object of the game is for members of the Christian Tribulation Force to either convert or to kill the infidels [anyone rejecting Jesus as their personal savior] roaming the streets of New York City. Each time an infidel is blown away the shooter shouts, “Praise the Lord,” and the body is left to rot where it falls.
One million advanced copies of the game will be distributed to churches nationwide. “We hope teenagers like the game, “ LaHaye said. “Our goal is to leave no one behind,” or, it would seem, no child left untouched by their bigotry and hate.
Which of the “training” videogames is the most reprehensible? In one, hate goosesteps proudly before the swastika and smacks us on the right cheek. In the other, it hides behind the cross and kisses us on the left.
Storm troopers in brown shirts and jackboots are caricatures of hate. They are dangerous, to be sure. But they are easy to pick out of a crowd. We can choose to avoid them or to defend ourselves. We must never let them become the crowd, however.
It is hate with the face of a parent or a neighbor or a teacher or a pastor that is the most insidious and difficult to defend against. It is the normal face of “everyday” hate that will not “Love the Sinner; Hate the Sin.” It cannot. It is never that discriminating.
Hate is not an ideology. It is not a creed. It is a human emotion and, too often, a family heirloom.
Robert Weitzel lives in Middleton, WI. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has also been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, Freethought Today and on the web sites, smirkingchimp.com and CommonDreams.org. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org