I am writing this as a concerned resident of Moore County and the village of Pinehurst — and a member of Pinehurst Resort for the past eight years.

I recently took notice of an ad in The Pilot newspaper regarding an upcoming event at Pinehurst Resort, hosted by the Moore Republican Women’s group.

This event is titled “Understanding the Threat of Political Islam.” It is listed as being given by a man named Dr. Bill Warner. Warner’s real name is Bill French, and he is a widely known advocate of hate speech against Islam and Muslims.

He is listed first on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list titled “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.” He is a former professor of physics at a small college in Tennessee, and has no educational training or background in law or religious studies.

I am dismayed that this event is taking place in general. But more specifically, I’m shocked to learn that this will be hosted at the Pinehurst Member’s Club. While I am an ardent defender of free speech, such speech should not take place where I pay dues as a member.

I have always thought of Pinehurst Resort as a place of inclusion. I’m sure that the PGA, which hosts events like the U.S. Open at this facility, would also be troubled by the perceived tolerance of such hate speech by agreeing to host this event.

This country was founded on the tenet of religious freedom. That means that you have the freedom to pray to and believe in whatever God you like, or even no God at all. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever … nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief.”

I wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of hosting such an event that flies in the face of all the hardships they endured to create this great and free nation.

Furthermore, I wonder what Jesus himself would think of hosting such an event. There was a time when many Christians tried to live their lives by the saying “What would Jesus do?” That time seems behind us now in such a divided political and social environment.

What about Islamic terrorists? Yes, they are real and must be dealt with for the safety of our country as well as for that of the world.

What about Christian terrorists? I’m guessing the term sounds foreign to you. Perhaps consider that Islamic terrorists represent the entire Muslim world as much as Dylan Roof, Timothy McVeigh, the Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK claim to represent Christianity.

There have been more hate crimes by “Christians” against Muslims than there have been acts of Islamic terrorism in the U.S. It is precisely events like this that spread that hate and increase hate crimes in America.

Just recently, a report by Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding indicated that there has been a severe rise in violence against Muslims in the U.S. since the beginning of the 2016 presidential election campaign.

One needs to look no further than our own state, as evidenced by the gruesome execution-style murders of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill last year.

I’m disappointed to see that an organization such as the Moore Republican Women’s group is supporting such hate speech despite listing on the front page of their website that one of their core beliefs is “equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.”

How is hosting this controversial speaker holding true to your core Republican values when you are intentionally denigrating an entire group of people for their religious beliefs?

The hypocrisy comes to its fullest expression when you look at the Facebook page of the president of the Moore Republican Women’s group, Kay Wildt. She recently shared with her followers a genuinely insightful and touching quote: “Remember, it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs. them.’ It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye.”

This is indeed a powerful quote — one that I wish her party’s de facto nominee, her own local organization and Pinehurst Resort would keep in mind.

Dr. Michael Pritchett lives in Pinehurst.

(24) comments

Carl Danis

I do believe in free speech and the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion and the freedom to express such opinions. It is also the right of this group to bring in the speaker they choose. People can choose to go hear him or not, accept his words or not. But what seems to be lost is that people also have a right to call you on your opinion. If it's their opinion that this is hate, said opinion is no less valid than anyone else. But passing this person off as an expert and scholar in this area is just a complete lie. Yes the man has authored books on the subject, but they were published by the organization he fronts. Which, in a scholarly context, brings his views into question. But then each of us has the right to hate or love for what ever reason we choose.

Richard Wright

I agree. Like thinking AlGore or Bill Nye are climate scientists.

Willy Chu

We need to agree on what hate speech is before we can decide on the validity of Dr. Prichett's assertion that Dr. Warner's talk consisted of hate speech. Of course you can love or hate anything you wish, but the specific term "hate speech" has special meaning in our current vernacular and THIS was the term used in the editorial. It is a special term because it is often used as a blunt instrument to incorrectly or misguidedly squash true free speech.

Here is Facebook's definition and policy:

"Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their...religion. People can use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices."

Would you agree with this?

Dr. Warner begins his talk stating that his topic was not Muslims (the people), but the doctrines of political Islam. To compare and contrast Islam's (the institution and practice's) values with Judeo-Christian values is not hate speech. To theorize on how and why Mohammed's teachings have historically resulted in subjugation of civilizations where Islam gains a foothold is not hate speech. We can criticize the CatholIc Church's stand on birth control and no one calls this hate speech. We can call a statue of Jesus in a jar of urine "art," but we don't riot in the streets calling this hate speech (but I wouldn’t argue with you, if you thought this crossed the line). So, why does any critical (objective) analysis of Islam automatically qualify as hate speech?

Here is a link to Sunday’s program: https://vimeo.com/166893830 Would be interested in your thoughts after viewing it.

Mark Hayes

Seems that this country is wrapped up in so many issues, race, religion, illegals, LGBT, etc. Just where does the "average " White race come into play in all of this, seems to be a forgotten population, taken for granted and being ignored. Hopefully the younger generation of these Caucasians will start to realize that they are the prey and the rest are the predators, it is their future at stake and some had best realize all this other nonsense is slowly eroding those freedoms , your either dominate or become dominated, wake up, keep turning the other cheek and you will end up black and blue from being beaten.

David Hensley

Socialist revolutions have always started by the socialist leaders enlisting very small minorities of misfits, career criminals and the mentally disturbed. Once they achieve power, they socialist leaders generally kill the "useless fools" who brought them to power. Hitler did it, Stalin did it and Mao did it (Note; Three good socialists).

That should tell you everything you need to know about what is going on right now in the US. The only questions is will adults prevail and put a stop to what is occurring or will we continue the march to the inevitable conclusion of socialism.

Note: That is all in the past you say? Want a real-time example of the failure of socialism? Look no further than Venezuela.

Willy Chu

One last point--yes, this country was founded on the principle of religious freedom. Never was it suggested that Islam should be banned in America. But just do a little cursory research into how much religious freedom Islam allows. Just saying, we need to learn and move forward with our eyes wide open--without any rose-colored PC glasses.

Willy Chu

Regarding Christian “terrorists,” again that speaks to individuals, not the religion of Christianity. Christianity evolved from the Old Testament, “an eye for an eye,” to the New Testament “turn the other cheek,” the Golden Rule, and forgiveness of our sins. It does not condone killing sinners. Islam, however, has remained in the 7th century; there is no “New Testament,” no Golden Rule. In fact, the earlier third of the Quran, when Mohammed’s fledgling Islam was competing with other religions in Mecca, does have peaceful verses which speak of tolerance of Jews and others; but after he went to Medina, he became powerful through raids and slave trading—these LATER verses are the violent, intolerant ones!

“Remember, it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs. them.’ It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye.”

I have a different interpretation. It starts with Political Correctness, an "intolerance" of those who wish to openly study or criticize a political or religious philosophy, because someone's feelings may get hurt. It is up to each of us individually to decide, if POLITICAL Islam is a threat to Western civilization. But before we can do so, we must learn as much as we can about it through programs such as Dr. Warner’s; we cannot be “desensitized and turn a blind eye,” that which allowed normal German citizens to ignore the gas chambers, because no one wanted to make a fuss.

David Hensley

Political Correctness is the modern day equivalent of book burning.

Like their National Socialist predecessors, today's leftists/socialists have their brown shirts running around stifling free speech.

David Hensley

Dr Pritchett,

I resent you trying to shut down an event being held by other Pinehurst Club members. I looked you up in the NC voting records and of course you are a Democrat. Shutting down free speech by labeling it “hate speech” or “politically incorrect” is the tactical of the radical left. This tactic isn’t new. A group of fellow socialists (actually National Socialists) likewise shutdown free speech in the 1930s by having their brown shirts conduct book burnings throughout Germany.

Citing the agenda ridden and radical leftist SPLC (who’s currently “Featured Hate Group” is the American Family Association!) to buttress your position only undermines it. Did you actually research the writings and words of the presenter or are you only going to regurgitate the hate spewing forth from the SPLC to support your position?

I have noted that the event with Dr Warner was sold out. It appears that you Dr Pritchett are out of step with the members of Pinehurst Country Club.

David Hensley

One other note to add:

As for your threat to contact the PGA because PCC dares host a speaker with which you disagree. Perhaps we should write letters to First Health and the NC Medical Licensing board stating that we believe your leftist positions are indications of mental instability and ask them to revoke your privileges to practice at First Health and your license to practice in NC, respectively?

Matt Horsley

Dr. Pritchett, after getting "ratcheted up" by people like you and Dr. Dempsey, I wasn't sure what I'd be walking into, today. Now that it's over, I don't know whether it's your wisdom or your veracity that is unsound. You took the time and effort to write a public article out of either ignorance wilful disregard for the facts. In either case, your credibility is low.

David Hensley

The two people you reference appear to be political Brown Shirts who simply echo the tired rhetoric of their leftist overlords.

Willy Chu

Let’s start with the facts. Mike, have you seen any of Dr. Warner’s YouTube videos? Do not let others tell you who espouses hate speech. Today’s presentation was not about Muslims, but about the doctrine underpinning Islam. A video of the Dr. Warner’s talk today will be posted on the Moore Republican Women’s website when ready. Go to www.mrwnc.org and decide for yourself, if this is hate speech.

Islam is a very difficult religion to understand, as it is fundamentally different than any other. Today Dr. Warner gave a factual, dispassionate lecture on the political doctrines of Islam, in particular the Hijrah, or migration—certainly a timely topic. Dr. Warner answered many questions that we all have. What is the best way to learn about Islam? How do you explain the apparent contradiction between a religion of peace and one of violence? Can the Sharia be compatible with our Western liberal Constitutional society? Why is assimilation so difficult in Islam?

The light of knowledge dispels prejudice. If the MRW hosted a speaker from the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), I would not ban them; but quite the opposite, would want to hear what they had to say. See Dr. Warner’s video first and then we can have a meaningful discussion.

Julia Latham

When a speaker has been quoted as saying, "I hate Islam," I'm comfortable with calling it hate speech. While I think it's appropriate for our club to host groups with speakers across the political and social spectrum, I agree with Dr. Pritchett that this is a bridge too far.

Mariann Benway

Do, please, show me the YouTube video where Dr. Warner says "I hate Islam." I was at the event today and he never once said anything like that He spoke about Allah, Muhammed and the Qu'ran. Please cite your source, so that I might find it, also. Truth is, he never said it, but I await your reply.

Willy Chu

After viewing numerous of his YouTube videos and hearing him today, he does not demean or speak of violence against Muslims (i.e. hate speech); it's an academic intellectual study of the religious and political principles that are the foundation of Islam. True, he doesn't agree with many of these principles. Would you? Islam does not allow freedom of speech. It does not allow freedom of the press. No freedom of religion; if you leave you are an apostate, punishable by death. It doesn't allow civil rights for women, non-believers, gays, not to mention transgenders. No separation between church and state; it espouses a theocracy.

These tenets are not stray passages in the Quran open to interpretation, but are the clearly defined foundations of Islam based on Mohammed's life and teachings. I think most of us would agree that these tenets are incompatible with our liberal Western ideology. Again, I am not talking about Muslims, but of the religion itself.

David Hensley

Generally speaking, liberals are incapable of critical thinking or independent thought. Both Dr Pritchett and Charleston are simply re-regurgitating what the radical leftist SPLC publish on their website.

Julia Latham

Sorry, I haven't checked comments in awhile. Here is a link to the clip I was thinking of. http://www.islamophobia.org/center-for-the-study-of-political-islam.html

Julia Latham

StenoGal, in case you didn't see my earlier reply. I didn't add your name, so it may be difficult to find. I included a link to the quote I was thinking of, and have since found it on Dr. Warner's website: https://www.politicalislam.com/sharia-and-the-virtue-of-hate/ While Dr. Warner draws a distinction between hating Islam, per se, and hating Muslims, in this political climate especially, this seems a distinction without much of a difference to me. His insistence on painting Islam with such an incredibly broad brush, as though all Muslims follow the same schools of ideology and thought, baffles me. A huge percentage of the world's Muslims live in non-Islamic political systems. 90% of Indonesia's citizens are Muslim, but it's a republic, not an Islamic state.

Richard Wright

Yep. Our club should only host speakers with whom spare my opinion of things. Of course, the club (or resort - same wallet, different pocket) was paid to hold the event. You do not own the club and do not set club policies.

Joe Mack

Charleston, re-read it yourself, the writer states that speech that he does not agree with should not be at a club where he pays dues. The Pinehurst Resort holds a multitude of conferences and political events, without censorship. The harm here is that many of our misguided liberals in town made a concerted attempt to pressure the Resort into cancelling the event since they didn't want it happen. That, in my opinion, is not supporting free speech. Oh, by the way, liberals and CAIR don't have the privilege of declaring what is "hate speech".

Julia Latham

Dr. Pritchett is not the government, so free speech is not an issue. In fact, he clearly says he supports free speech. Further, nothing in his op-ed backs radical Islam. Please reread.

Richard Wright

I did. You might reread my comment as I said "why do liberals hate free speech?". He clearly claims that the presentation given at the resort will be hate speech and intolerant of Muslims wihtout hearing the speaker. And no where did I accuse the fine Doctor of supporting Muslims only asked why do liberals not look at the facts. He mentions three UNC students. He failed to mention the UNC Muslim student who drove over nine students. He fails to mention the shootings in Nashville or at Fort Hood by those inspired by radical Islam. The doctor paints a rather biased picture of the issue and appears concerned that others could disagree. That sir is intolerance.

Richard Wright

Dr. Pritchett - Why do liberals condemn free speech? Why do liberals believe that only they can tell what is the real truth? Why do liberals believe that radical Islam is not a threat? Intolerance is when someone refuses to accept the beliefs of those who have an opposiing opinion. Sounds like you.
Discussion and debate is an important tennant of our society - or was until the liberals decided that only they know what is good for us. You should believe more of your fellow man, that we can determine what is real or not, and then determine our opinion. I am sorry that you feel compelled to condemn those who want to hear more and then form a rational opinion.

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