In the spring of 1969, in Meridian, Mississippi, Temple Beth Israel synagogue was bombed by the White Knights of the Ku Klux
Klan, a right-wing terrorist organization. Several weeks later, Meyer Davidson, a prominent Jewish leader of the city, infuriated white supremacists by denouncing the Klan and raising money for information leading to the arrest of the bombers. On June 30, early in the morning, a young man from Mobile, Ala. and a lady from Mississippi drove to Meridian to retaliate against Davidson. In their car was a bomb made from twenty-nine sticks of dynamite. When he approached Davidson’s home to plant the bomb, police opened fire and a gun battle ensued. The young lady was killed. Thomas Tarrants was wounded and arrested. He believed he was fighting for Christianity and America. She was a graduate from a Baptist college in Jackson. Both thought of themselves as patriots. Both believed they were Christians.
In his new book, Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love (Thomas Nelson), Tarrants shares the story of how a young man was lured into right-wing, white nationalist ideology and violence. Tarrant was radicalized by white supremacists in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. He read anti-Semitic literature and racist pamphlets. He was told by politicians that non-whites and non-Protestants posed a threat to their way of life and were destroying America. After his conviction for his act of terrorism, Tarrants spent years in jail. While he was there, he became a Christian and began a new life. He replaced his fear and animosity toward others with love and friendship. After his release from prison, he went into the ministry, becoming the co-pastor of a racially mixed church in Washington D.C. and serving in the C.S. Lewis Institute for over twenty years.
Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love is a cautionary story for contemporary Christians. The attitudes which fostered the radicalization of two young people fifty years ago are not dead, but very much alive. Whenever people believe that “they” are less valuable than “we,” then their beliefs and actions become treasonous against the kingdom of God. If you applaud and support ideas which divide humans into camps, if you see a particular religious or ethnic group as dangerous or less deserving, if you believe that people who do not look like you, speak your language or worship as you do are less deserving, then Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love is a story you desperately need to hear. As Christians, there are no religious or ethnic or political exceptions to Christ’s command that we are to love our neighbor. What we do unto our neighbor, we do unto Christ.
–Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster