Thursday, September 19, 2002

This is from the "THE ACLU IS A BUNCH OF TURDS" File. They apparently wanna sue if these idiots don't get the chance to spew their hate.

Racists to meet at library

Wade Runge stood on the podium and cried.

He cried out of frustration. And he cried out of anger.

But mostly, he cried because Chesterfield County had just decided to allow a racist group to meet on taxpayer property.

"I am married to a black woman. I represent the type of people that would be shot and killed by this group," he told the Board of Supervisors. "Our county should have taken a stand."

Acting on its attorney's advice, the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors decided yesterday to allow the World Church of the Creator, a national white-supremacist organization, to meet at the Chester Library at 5 p.m. Saturday as scheduled.

The church, based in Illinois, calls itself one of the fastest-growing white-supremacist, racist groups in the country. Its leader, Matt Hale, has upheld acts of violence against minorities, who he said "shouldn't be in America in the first place."

Board members, visibly shaken, said they had no choice but to allow the church to meet.

"We have to bear the unbearable," said Supervisor Jack McHale.

Many in the packed audience shook their heads in disgust. They said the board let them down.

"Someone should have taken a stand for us," said Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, one of the county's largest black congregations. "We look to you as our elected officials. I am ashamed."

Freddie Nicholas Sr., a former Chesterfield board member, said there comes a time when a county must run the risk of a lawsuit. "This was one of those times," he said.

The supervisors made their decision after a closed, executive session that lasted more than an hour. The session followed a request by board members McHale and Edward B. Barber, who asked County Administrator Lane B. Ramsey to cancel the church meeting.

As the board met, John King, Virginia leader of the World Church of the Creator, waited with his security guard. They sat in the back of the county's public meeting room, seven rows behind Glenn.

After the board's decision, King applauded the county for upholding the U.S. Constitution.

"I thank you for choosing wisely and respecting my right to speak freely," he told the board. He then directed his attention to Barber.

Before he could finish speaking, however, Chairman Kelly E. Miller cut him off, advising King that there would be no personal attacks.

"I would welcome his venom in my direction," Barber said. King was told to sit down.

One by one, Glenn and members of his congregation walked out as the board members spoke. Others joined Glenn, saying the issue had crossed racial lines.

"I feel like Glenn. I am mad and I am incensed," said Barbara Turner, a county resident.

No one in the audience, with the exception of King, spoke yesterday in favor of allowing the church to meet.

One person cautioned the county to take additional security measures.

"I strongly advise you to have a large police presence," said David Childress, a county resident and Richmond police officer.

Ramsey has said the area will be secure. King said yesterday that county police are planning to escort him to the library for his safety.

The board adopted a resolution that requires future groups to pay for their own security. This will not apply to the church.

There was a substantial police presence in York County in May when the World Church held a similar gathering. There were no injuries and no arrests.

Chesterfield supervisors said that if they could have blocked the meeting legally, they would have. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia threatened legal action if the county tried to shut down the meeting.

Although many people had left the room, board members took a few minutes to address members of the public still in their seats.

"Racism of any sort will not be tolerated in Chesterfield County," said Supervisor Arthur S. Warren. Miller added that, unfortunately, the Constitution can be "both a sword and shield."

Barber called the church "professional domestic terrorists," and McHale noted that "this is the most difficult issue I have faced."

Supervisor Renny B. Humphrey started to cry. "We don't want these folks here," she said.

Steven Micas, county attorney, told the board that of the 20 communities the church has tried to speak in, not one has successfully blocked its request. He said it is a lost court battle.

Standing outside the meeting, Glenn said he did not care.

"Even if it cost a million dollars," he said. "If we lost, at least we would have lost with dignity."

Dozens of churches and civic organizations across the Richmond area have issued statements condemning the group and its meeting. Some are planning protests and silent vigils. Many called The Times-Dispatch yesterday to voice their opinions.

Chester Clergy, a multiracial and multidenominational association, issued a statement that said discrimination of any kind would not be tolerated.

Tommy Baer, honorary president of B'nai B'rith International, said, "Hate is an incitement to violence. If the ACLU wants to sue, then we should let them sue."

Members of the Chester community are holding a unity meeting at Thomas Dale High School at 5 p.m. Saturday, which board members encouraged people to attend.

The Chesterfield County Democratic Committee will hold a stand for unity outside the library. The Rev. Harold Braxton said a number of groups of different races, including members of the Chesterfield branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will gather outside the library at 4 p.m. to be there when members of the World Church arrive.

Glenn said he not only plans to protest the World Church's meeting, he plans to attend it.

"I cannot sit by and watch this happen," he said. "We will take a stand."

If Chesterfield is your home, and you're pissed at this, go to that unity meeting and be with your brothers and sisters. I encourage anyone who is angry about this not to retailate. Don't stoop to their level. Pray for peace, keep the peace, and if you do go to protest at the library, please be safe. But if you do get hurt, sue the pants off of this "Church" as well as the ACLU.

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