Amy Efta

After attending the Republican-led meeting on “sanctuary counties” on Monday, Jan. 20, I had my first out-of-body experience. Is this really the direction we are willing to let Richland County go? Declaring such an aggressive stance on gun rights and body autonomy?

Living in eastern Montana, it’s clear to see we are a gun-oriented culture. Many people here are hunters. Many are recreational shooters. But I’d say most of us are gun owners. There’s not currently any legislation to indicate the state is going to bring down the hammer of Thor on gun rights. Montana has some of the healthiest gun-owner friendly laws in the country.

On Monday night, sitting in a room full of hearty conservatives, it was like watching a militia form. When the overly dramatic Jordan Hall made the statement on guns, “They can have them when they pull them from our cold, dead fingers,” I really buckled in for the meeting. Here he is, giving a sermon on the importance of life, yet promising death before he gives up his guns. The hypocrisy did not end there.

Hall — a local Baptist pastor — made other statements too, like how he wasn’t spearheading this “movement” to create controversy. Then why is he doing it? To protect his flock against dangers only he fears? Are there seriously people who think the likes of Jordan Hall has anyone’s best interests at heart but his own?

Again, no one is asking to take guns away. There are also no abortion clinics in Richland County, despite Hall’s assertions that would have people believing untrained midwives are rampantly running around door-to-door performing top-secret abortions. Hall was referring to the Montana Supreme Court decision stating trained, advanced-practice nurses practicing midwifery could perform medical services such as abortions in the privacy of a person’s home.

Maybe I wouldn’t be so critical of this whole notion if there was a different leader. It’s difficult to take Hall seriously. A simple Google search reveals some troubling insights into his character, including a Twitter exchange in 2014 with a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide four weeks later. The teen was the son of a former Muslim man turned Christian, Ergun Caner. One article from The Christian Post stated, “Hall has been running a longstanding campaign against the elder Caner for several years now, accusing him of being an ‘unrepentant liar’ for not speaking truthfully about claims that he was once a devout Muslim trained as a terrorist.”

It’s a very troublesome story. I urge people to look it up, as I don’t have the room to print the entire Twitter exchange here, but Hall, who claims to want to protect fetuses out of pure Christian love, rips a 15 year old apart on social media with severely racist undertones. Hall has publicly apologized for the tweets, but the whole thing is sickening. Because it wasn’t just the tweets, it was an ongoing slanderous campaign against an entire family.

That’s not the only concerning bit of character history when it comes to Hall. Most people recall the more recent incident of Hall and fellow preacher Kyle Small who were escorted out of a church event in 2017 after standing to loudly protest a female pastor being allowed to speak due to her gender.

The Dickinson Press article stated the two men were yelling Bible scripture about female pastors and many in the audience were afraid, as the incident occurred soon after a church shooting in Texas that killed over two dozen people. One churchgoer was quoted saying, “How would you know the guy wouldn’t all of a sudden pull out a gun or something? It’s alarming, he was crazy-looking, he didn’t look right to me.”

In light of those events, the Sidney Herald (before my time or the current publisher’s time) elected to no longer publish Hall’s column. One Christian blogger who has attended Hall’s church in Sidney said, “…I know Jordan Hall as someone who does not distinguish between primary and secondary issues in the Christian faith. More importantly, I know him to be a bully. He does not only make people uncomfortable when necessary. He openly relishes making people uncomfortable as an end to itself, and I fear the truth is often a convenient excuse for doing so.”

One doesn’t have to look long or hard to find people who squirm at the mention of Jordan Hall. Unfortunately, I believe he thrives in that role. Can we please pull the rug out before this conservative-extremist movement puts Richland County on the map for all the wrong reasons?

One in four women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45. You probably know someone who had one. If you don’t know about it, is it hurting you? It’s a medical service that the law says people have the right to obtain and the right to privacy while obtaining it. I support anyone’s right to oppose abortion — that’s what being pro-choice is. But I find it insufferable to listen to a room full of old, white men tell each other it’s murder. Like they have any insight on the matter.

Whether you share my beliefs on being pro-choice or not, whether you believe your gun rights are at risk or not, can we all please be united on one single front? Let’s stop allowing the Jordan Halls of the world to speak for us.

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