January 21, 2018
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The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine today condemned the scrawling of swastikas on the Stockton Springs Community Church in Stockton Springs, Maine.

According to news reports, the swastikas were found on the church on Tuesday. The pastor of the church was quoted as saying that the graffiti was an attempt to silence the church’s opposition to Measure One on Tuesday’s ballot, which was passed by voters, thereby legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians.

“The swastika is a symbol of hate,” said Rabbi Hillel Katzir, Director of the Center’s Hate Crimes Response Project, “and it’s appearance on the Stockton Springs Community Church is just as reprehensible as it was when it was scrawled on two synagogues in Bangor a few weeks ago.”

“There is no evidence that the pastor’s suspicion that the graffiti is connected to the marriage ballot issue is correct,” Katzir pointed out. “But if a connection were to be found, the swastika’s use would be totally unacceptable in the additional way of being used to try to silence a political point of view, as it was used by the Nazis in 1930s Germany. The Holocaust and Human Rights Center supported Question One, but we would never countenance the use of the swastika, or any other graffiti, as a way of expressing a political point of view. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Steve DeGroft and his congregants. We hope that the authorities succeed in finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of this hate crime.”

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine is a non-profit organization, located in Augusta, that seeks to educate Mainers about the Holocaust. The Hate Crimes Response Project is the Center’s arm for seeking to apply the lessons of the Holocaust to life in Maine today.