The Look in Brief
Tennessee faith leaders denounce white supremacy conference at Montgomery Bell State Park
White nationalists attend a rally on October 28, 2017 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
An organization of Tennessee faith leaders from multiple denominations, is denouncing an annual conference of white supremacists at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tenn.
Every year since 2017, the New Century Foundation holds its annual American Renaissance conference at the park. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the New Century Foundation as “a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship.”
An open letter signed by more than 300 faith leaders, including 67 Cumberland Presbyterian pastors, denounced not only the ideology espoused at the conference but also the location of it, as the denomination was founded in 1810 near the site of what is now Montgomery Bell.
“On the hallowed grounds where the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was born, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and klansmen will meet again Nov. 18 to 20, 2022, to espouse their hateful beliefs,” reads the letter, in part. “We denounce White (sic) supremacy as evil and a threat to justice, peace and the common welfare. We petition the State of Tennessee and Tennessee State Parks to cease sheltering hate speech and providing a platform to individuals and groups promoting white supremacy.”
The New Century Foundation was launched in 1994 by Jared Taylor, four years after he founded American Renaissance magazine. The 71-year-old Taylor is a graduate of Yale University, taught Japanese at Harvard University and was at one time viewed as an expert on Japan.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, categorizes the New Century Foundation as an “extremist group.”
New Century’s website states that “Race is an important aspect of individual and group identity . . . We also believe that whites, like all racial groups, have legitimate interests that must be defended. The defense of those interests is white advocacy.”
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