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EDITORIAL: This Message of Hate, Couched In A Lampoon of Progressive Thought, is an Attack on Our Town

In a vile message posted on the social media site Rotten in Groton, an anonymous author advocates burning down Groton’s Old Meeting House and by implication destroying the religious society housed in that historic building - The First Parish Church of Groton.
     The taunting, mock-serious language of the message states in part, “I propose the destruction of the meetinghouse in Groton . . . Over the years the original building has been destroyed and moved, but the successor to that original Meeting House is now known as the First Parish Church. It is an obscenely white structure located at the major crossroads of the town. . . The fact there is a Black Lives Matter sign at the Meetinghouse is one of the endless examples of this church peddling their virtue.”
     Besides attacking the First Parish Church religious society by distorting, exaggerating and parodying the thought and words of progressives who have called for social reforms and social justice during recent protests around the country, it is also an attack on the good name of our town and its history.
     Groton, like any human institution, is far from perfect. There are aspects of our history that, in hindsight, we may not be proud to remember. But, also, there is much to be proud of, much to be inspired by.
     This is not the place for a point-by-point rundown of the good and bad of Groton history. [There is much good and much bad.]
     But let it be noted for the record that many citizens of Groton were active abolitionists and many gave their lives in the Civil War, a war to rid the country of slavery. How many alive today would offer up their lives for this cause? It should also be noted that a Black Groton resident died in the Civil War serving in the famed Massachusetts 54th.
     The message’s language makes light and distorts the sacrifices of Groton residents in our country’s long history, a history of working toward a "more perfect union" where all are truly recognized and defended as "created equal."
     Groton’s Old Meeting House - currently home of the First Parish Church - is the physical embodiment of the best of our town’s aspirations to become a better people.
     To suggest burning it down, even in jest, is wrong. Such a proposal insults the lives of our many forbears, their courage, their good will and their good faith and would deny that inspiration to future generations of Groton people in their own quests for positive social change and advancing the "American experiment."
     Some may say the message was written as a parody of progressive thought to point out the contradictions of those who advocate for social justice and yet lead “comfortable” lives in town. To us, it threatens and suggests violence against those following the long Groton tradition of fighting for, speaking out for, and working for social justice here, across our nation and in many parts of the world.
     On this July 4 weekend, when we celebrate our independence, the stench emanating from this message attacking our history and the sacrifice of our veterans, reminds us that there is - indeed - something very rotten in Groton.
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