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Rome's Response to Neo-Nazi Rally

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Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). As Christians in the Greater Rome area, we affirm this core teaching and principle of the Christian faith. Conversely, anything that breeds hatred or division is contrary to our shared Christian faith.

With a united voice, we condemn the ideology of the National Socialist Movement and their neo‐Nazi message of racism and hatred. We are deeply disappointed that this group intends to hold a rally on April 23rd in our community.

Furthermore, we recognize that the National Socialist Movement seeks publicity and attention. They hope for a counter rally and perhaps even conflict between their group and our citizens. Were this to happen, the group would receive even more publicity and attain one of its rally goals. A climate of agitation may exist, which can easily turn to violence as evidenced so recently in Anaheim, CA. We pray and hope that any in the Rome community who intend to counter protest will make compassion and grace the forefront of their event.

We commit to pray for the members of the National Socialist Movement, for our faith affirms that even the hardest heart may be transformed by the power of God’s redeeming love. We reject the provocation offered by the presence of the National Socialist Movement and further commit ourselves to work towards justice in the spirit of compassion as Jesus taught.

On April 23rd, the day of the neo‐Nazi rally, we encourage all Romans to ignore the National Socialist Movement’s presence in our community and to intentionally practice acts of compassion, encouragement, kindness and forgiveness. Collectively, our community will speak a message of love to counter their message of hatred.

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; Love illuminates it.” ‐ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Signed in Hope and Love,

Rev. Chris Barbieri, United Methodist Church (Deacon At-Large)

[If clergy, please include the name of your congregation when signing]

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