To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Mr. Mullett:

Don't mistake our conservative family values, our love of the outdoors, our simple lifestyle and our patriotism for bigotry or anti-Semitism. Just because we've been hard hit by the recession doesn't mean we'll sell out to a group that espouses hate and domestic terrorism in the guise of "Christian Identity."

I'm fairly certain Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew himself, is nowhere to be found in your incarnation of his teachings. There are some still among us who fought in the war and against the man your swastikas represent - the leader responsible for the murder of 8 million innocent men, women and children in the name of "racial purity."

I'm a six generation Grant Countian - my mother, sister, grandparents, and three generations of great-grandparents all rest in the cemetery in Canyon City. My life, my family are woven into the fabric of Grant County. While I've lived in Portland all of my adult life, I call Mt. Vernon home. We own a home here and hope to retire in a few years, pick huckleberries, go to the John Day Senior Center on Mondays and Thursdays, play bingo at the Grange and have our grandchildren visit in the summer.

There is no room for a fascist hate group in our peaceful little community. We don't need you and your followers to "patrol our streets" for us.

Grant County has had it's hard knocks in the last 30 years, but we are working to reinvent ourselves. We now have bike tour groups (both motorized and nonmotorized), snowmobilers, sportsmen and folks just wanting to get away who are discovering our beautiful little communities, our friendly, decent citizens, our little piece of Americana - in a rich history and bucolic landscape.

Do not underestimate us. There is nothing you have that we want. Like your hero, Richard Butler (who went bankrupt along with the Aryan Nations in 2000 because of litigation stemming from assaults by the group's guards on a mother and her son outside their compound) you have everything to lose by choosing your "new" location poorly.

Penny Godwin

Mt. Vernon

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