Feb. 23—West Chester Twp. is home to a "radical traditional Catholicism" hate group, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, though the organization's leader disagrees with the label.
Christ or Chaos was included in the organization's Year in Hate and Extremism report, for which it produces a map of what it says are hate groups.
A website for Christ or Chaos includes a response about being labeled a hate group by the SPLC as far back as 2012. The site's author, Thomas Droleskey, wrote that he has no "group," and while his website refers to Judaism as a "false religion," he doesn't hate Jews. He wants to convert them, he said.
"I hate no human being," Droleskey wrote Thursday in an email to the Journal-News. "I hate the devil and his minions. Most of all, I hate my own sins, and I pray that I may live long enough to make reparation for them. The holy season of Lent that commenced on Ash Wednesday provides an old sinner who is still trying to save his soul with a much needed period of prayer and fasting."
To criticize others is not to "hate" them," he wrote.
"Two of the Spiritual Works of Mercy are to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant," he said.
Jennifer Schack, director of media relations for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said she has never heard of Christ or Chaos or its leader. West Chester Twp. spokeswoman Barb Wilson said she has had no contact with the group.
Meanwhile, the report said Dayton is home to one of the 25 remaining Ku Klux Klan groups in the country as KKK membership has plummeted over the past decade.
The KKK-affiliated White Christian Brotherhood in Dayton is listed as one of 21 hate groups in Ohio in the law center's annual report on hate groups released recently. It is the only Klan group in Ohio.
The KKK is one of the nation's most notorious white supremacist organizations, and its decline over the past decade has impacted the overall number of hate groups the SPLC tracks. Last year's report identified 47 KKK groups — including three in Ohio — and noted numbers had steadily declined from 190 in 2015.
"A major reason for this is that the Klan's name has become extremely toxic — if you are a Klan member and your employer finds out, for instance, you are all but guaranteed to be fired. Unfortunately, those declining numbers do not reflect a parallel reduction in support for their ideas," the new report says.
While the number of hate groups tracked by the law center declined, it says hate did not. The SPLC says that work was picked up by groups such as the Proud Boys, who vandalized historically Black churches in Washington D.C. The Proud Boys have a presence in Columbus and Canton, the report says. And many people aren't members of an organized group, but spread hateful ideologies online.
Bill Sandlin, founder and "imperial wizard" of the White Christian Brotherhood KKK group in Dayton, says the group was formed about two years ago and has a half-dozen members locally.
Their goal, he said, is to advocate the separation of the races. He made a number of racist and factually inaccurate assertions. Sandlin, of Riverside, is self-employed, owning a painting and drywall business.
He said the White Christian Brotherhood is separate from the Honorable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a KKK group from Madison, Ind., that held a rally at Courthouse Square in Dayton in 2019.
The 2019 event was costly to local governments because of security concerns. Montgomery County commissioners denied a request from the Indiana group to have another event in 2020.
Sandlin said he didn't appreciate the May 2019 rally, saying the group that held it should have focused more on homosexuality and segregation.
Sandlin said his group is a "peaceful organization" — contrary to his social media posts referring to war, killing and images of nooses. He said he "wholeheartedly" supports the actions of protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Sandlin said he believes KKK membership is declining because the younger generation is more drawn to Nazi-ism and skinheads. The SPLC lists five Neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups it says operate statewide in Ohio.