Confronting Hatred

Ozell Sutton

CRS Mediator, Atlanta Office

[Full Interview]

I listened to their story that people were trying to run them out of the area: they found dead dogs on the property, they found a dead one at the mailbox and other acts like this There'd been intimidation, there'd been shots fired over the farm, and over the house, and these kinds of things. And I was just sitting back, kind of in the woods. I was concerned about their welfare, really, because these acts were so anti-people, they went so much further than just disliking you. They go around, trying to destroy you. Anyway, I met with them, and listened to their stories, on the kind of intimidation and insults that they were experiencing. Then next I met with a group of townspeople lead by a Baptist preacher, and he got off on this thing about homosexuality was a sin against God, and all of this, and God was going to do this and do that.

So when I sat down with the preacher and about four other people he had with him, and he was ranting and raving about God was displeased and I said to him, "you're a Baptist and I'm a Baptist. So we worship the same God. And you say the wrath of God is going to be upon them, so I'll ask you one question."

He said, "What's that?"

I said, "Isn't that sufficient? If the wrath of God is going to be upon them, why don't you let God's wrath deal with it? I don't know where, in the Bible it says, "your wrath." I'm a fairly decent Bible student, there's nowhere in the Bible, it says 'God needs your wrath' to deal with a problem, so why don't you, since you're so sure God's going to take care of it, just leave it to God and you all get out of the way."

Even they had to laugh about that, but it still didn't stop. We finally came out of there with nothing resolved in that situation.

Did you bring the parties together in that instance?

No. No, I didn't bring the parties together. The preacher didn't want to be seen with them. They hated them more than they do black folk. There was no resolution brought to the problem. However, there was a great easing of the threats.