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Woman Wants to Abandon Mom Whose Church Is Trying to "Reclaim the Swastika"

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With age, you start to recognize the ways in which your parents and other adults older than you are flawed. You realize the people whose word you used to trust completely because they were older and obviously knew better don't necessarily know better than you. And this Reddit post exemplifies that idea to a T. 

A 25-year-old woman took to the Relationship_Advice subreddit to explain the situation with her mother. "My mom has been part of a church group for years," she explains. "Recently they started a campaign called 'take back the swastika.' Which is basically what it sounds like. Their goal is to basically associate the swastika with their church group charity so people stop associating it with something bad. I think this is ridiculously naive." Obviously, she is right, and this is appalling. But it gets worse. 

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To accomplish their goal of "reclaiming" this symbol of hate, she writes, "They have had necklaces and t-shirts made and are organizing a bake sale." She owns a small bakery, and the church offered to pay her to make 400 cupcakes with swastikas on them for the bake sale. You can't make this stuff up, folks! Obviously, she declined the offer because she doesn't want to become known as the owner of the Nazi bakery. 

When her mom got her a swastika necklace for her birthday, she threw it away, and her mom told her she was "letting hate win." She's tried talking to her mom about how uncomfortable this campaign making her, but she won't hear it. It is, after all, a church-sanctioned group activity led by a whole bunch of delusional people! Why should she listen to the one person who's bringing logic to the table. 

"So far the movement is really small but I wanna be clear of it before it becomes bigger," she writes. "The church doesn't even use the swastika as a religious symbol or anything." She asked Reddit for advice about how to proceed because she's at a loss for what to do. Her mom simply won't listen.

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It's scary and dangerous to watch a whole group of well-meaning, capable adults share in a harmful delusion. The swastika can't be "reclaimed" or "taken back." It was never theirs to begin with. Yes, versions of the symbol have been used in other religions for thousands of years before the Nazi party coopted it, but as one commenter writes, "Unless they have suddenly become Hindu, the swastika is not theirs to 'take back.'"

Others in the comments weren't so sure this was as innocent an endeavor as the woman's mother made it out to be. "I'm going to say you should read up a bit on hate groups and wives of klan members. I'm not sure that this is as innocent as they're making it out to be: the goal is to normalize using swastikas after all. I don't have any good advice, but you should set some strong boundaries and enforce them." Another person wondered if the church was trying to condition its members to become white supremacists. 

It does seem like an absurdly naive position for so many members of the church to take. How is no one else telling them that what they're doing is wrong?

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The most popular piece of actionable advice a commenter provided was this: "Does your mother know any Jewish people? Is there a synagogue in your hometown? Is there a synagogue anywhere nearby? You should find the nearest synagogue and see if you can get in contact with a rabbi and explain the situation — that your mother is well-meaning, but may not fully understand what she is doing. Assuming the rabbi also shares your concerns, get them in contact with church leadership so that they can work together to find another outlet for the church's good intentions."

It seems the poster took this advice to heart because she posted an update that reads, "So today I made the decision to not sit around and do nothing. I googled local synagogues in case there were any nearby and it turns out there were like five in my mom's neighborhood alone. So I called each one and asked to meet with a rabbi. I was able to meet with four or five today alone."

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She wanted to at least warn them if they start to see this around town or if it is indeed something more sinister than a group of very misguided people. She writes that two of the rabbis didn't want to have anything to do with her once she brought up what was going on, but the last two "were so understanding it was a little bit painful." One of the rabbis said that he was going to contact the head of the church. 

In the meantime, this poor woman is so anxious about the whole thing. She is thinking of donating some cupcakes to children's groups at the synagogues if they'll take them, and she sent her mother a long message telling her how she feels and making it clear that she does not condone what they are doing. If this misguided mom ever decides to give up the movement, they can work on repairing their relationship, but, OP writes, "until then she is not welcome in my home or my shop."

It's so difficult to come to the realization that your parent has made a grave mistake. This woman is really strong for sticking to her morals and not letting that family connection get in the way of what's right. I hope for the sake of everyone in that town that it's just an extremely ignorant group of people and not something more nefarious.

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