I want to register a complaint about the depiction of the Celtic cross as a hate symbol ("The Racist Next Door," David Schwab Abel, February 19). The symbol [from the Stormfront Website] accompanying the article is a cross of uniform dimensions, with an overlaid circle. This is not a Celtic cross. To state such is to besmirch the memory and faith of generations of Irish men and women and equate their beliefs with hate mongering and bigotry. The Celtic cross is a symbol of deep religious conviction, a reminder of centuries of oppression, when the Irish were denied the right to practice their own religion in their own land. It consists of an elongated (typically triangular) base leg, with the upper section and arms having equal length, and the cross point being enclosed with a circle, typically bearing Celtic imagery and symbols.
The Celtic cross melds art and symbols of ancient (pre-Christian) Ireland with Christian tradition and is the penultimate expression of Irish culture and heritage. To identify the symbol shown in your article as a Celtic cross not only defames an entire nation and its heritage but insults people of Irish descent worldwide! Send Mr. Abel back to school, to teach him cultural sensitivity. I would like to suggest he attend lectures on the Great Famine, being held in South Florida in February and March of this year, to mark the 150th anniversary of the attempted genocide of a proud and cultured people at the hands of British oppressors.
David Schwab Abel responds: I appreciate Mr. Anderson's revulsion to the expropriation of his heritage for racist purposes. It seems, though, his anger is misplaced. It is Don Black's Website, Stormfront, that uses the Celtic cross as a symbol for the white supremacy movement, not New Times. Black, in fact, uses the image of a Celtic cross as a label on the greeting page before it downloads. Mr. Anderson is justified in questioning the veracity of the image as a Celtic cross, because, as he points out, it does not have an "elongated base leg." A Celtic cross is defined by Webster's New World Dictionary as "a Latin cross having a wheel-like circle around the intersection of the limbs." Yet the Celtic cross also has had Scandinavian influences, which leave the symbol with a truncated base limb. And that condensed symbol -- not unlike the Scottish cross-lightings used in medieval times to ward off tyranny and later expropriated by the Ku Klux Klan to ward off blacks, Jews, and anyone else the hooded white men viewed as vermin -- is still called a Celtic cross. So thanks to Mr. Anderson for delineating the difference, but his rage might be better aimed at the source (Black), rather than the messenger.
Ex-Lax for the Ku Klux
Racist Don Black, the top banana in his private banana republic also known as the Ku Klux Klan, should return to prison and stay there until he learns that in life, what you sow is what you reap.
If that doesn't help him, a strong laxative will!