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.