Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter December 5, 2000

Dear Friends,

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long long ago."

-Christina Rossetti (1830-94)

In northern climates, the beginning of December seems the bleakest and darkest of all the year. This isn't at all imaginary. Although the days get shorter still throughout the month, the earliest sunsets come at the beginning of the month. We can give way to the darkness. And, indeed, it is no accident that it is far northern countries where suicide rates are highest. No doubt, if any large number of people lived in Antarctica, we would see the same there. And so, in the northern hemisphere, especially in the northern part of it, we seek to reassure ourselves of the return of light, regardless of spiritual belief.

There can be times when we similarly can be overwhelmed by the darkness of our own deeds. The many and varied forms of hate and unkindness, both of the active and inactive kind, can overwhelm us, if we let them. And they sometimes do. So it is not at all wrong to follow the seasonal approach, and remind ourselves that even small things make a difference. As the Christophers like to say, "it is better to light one candle than curse the dark."

Over the past month, our attention was drawn to two more bits of darkness. Megan posted a call for help on our bulletin board. have a look at it, and see if you can do anything to help. Unfortunately, there is more of this than is readily admitted, and there used to be more when homosexuality was a criminal act. We have pointed out earlier that anybody can become a victim of hate simply by being at a disadvantage. This case is one where the appearance of being gay matters even more than being gay. Anyway, if you'd like to help, the "snail mail" address is:

Bank One, NA
Legal Defense Fund for Joseph Pryor
Account #631489444
5200 Pleasant Avenue
Fairfield, OH 45014

Or you could get more information through the following e-mail address:

We heard privately from a lady in Cincinnati, who contacted us saying she had been harassed since 1997. Unfortunately, the e-mail address she left us doesn't work. If she's reading this, could you send one which works? We don't have any particular expertise, but we're beginning to develop some contacts which might be able to.

And we had a message on the message board which serves to show why we exist. The darkness is real and it does exist.

Before we leave this off, we'd like again to refer you another case we've mentioned several times already. if you haven't checked it out, have a look at:

Passing from Lamentations to Revelations (remedial, not apocalyptic, we hope!), we'll begin by noting yet another artistic statement. This one, another in memorial of Matthew Shepard, was written by Bill green, and it's worth checking out. Bill has left a link both on our message board, and in our guest book.

Jim Hastings has posted a news story about the aversion of a hate crime on our board. It is encouraging that these things do happen, and we need to hear about them. Thanks Jim.

And David the Webmaster has added some more information links, which we hope are valuable.

Now that elections have come (if not quite gone) in both Canada and the United States, it may be a little safer to say something about politics and our collective. We represent quite a wide spectrum of political opinion, and cross international borders, so we try to be careful not to tilt too far in any one partisan direction. In the end, we are trying to change attitudes, and that can take a great many forms, some of which can reasonably be the cause of political disagreement.

We have mentioned things which clearly have a political connotation, however. We generally take the view that if we provide the information, you will be able to judge for yourself how and what may be the best way forward. So far, we've taken the view that if any of our group has an interest in something, it is worth mentioning. that applies to any helpful suggestions we get from any of you.

Had we anything to say in time for either election, we would have suggested that voting, even if it meant protesting by casting a blank ballot, is one of those bits of candle-lighting which lies in the power of any citizen. Particularly in the American election, we would have urged you to pay careful attention to local candidates and issues. They are not often well publicized, but they can be the most significant in changing attitudes.

And so, we look forward to trying to light candles with you, not only this month, but in the New Year. And, if you can forgive a certain religious connotation, Christina Rossetti's concluding verse seems to sum it up:

"What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise man I would do my part,
Yet what can I give him? Give my heart."

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Saturnine Saturnalia, and a Happy New Year!

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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