Will Dismukes Resigns

So. Baptist pastor resigns after speaking at party for KKK leader

By Yonat Shimron

A Southern Baptist bi-vocational pastor who gave an invocation at a celebration honoring the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, stepped down from his rural Alabama church earlier this week.

Will Dismukes, who is also a Republican state representative for the city of Prattville, 14 miles northwest of Montgomery, boasted on a Facebook page that he participated at an annual birthday party for Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a prominent figure in Southern history.

“Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration. Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!” read post, which has since been taken down.

The Facebook post appeared on Sunday (July 25), the same day the body of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis made its final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where 55 years earlier Lewis was brutally beaten after a march known as Bloody Sunday. Lewis, a 17-term Georgia congressman, died July 17.

Dismukes’ post drew outrage from many Alabama state legislatures, both Republican and Democratic, with some calling on him to resign.

Forrest (1821-1877), the Confederate general Dismukes was honoring, is infamous for his role at the Battle of Fort Pillow in April 1864, when his troops massacred Black soldiers following a Union surrender. After the end of the Civil War, Forrest joined up with the newly formed Ku Klux Klan to oppose Reconstruction efforts. 

Dismukes’ legislative office phone number did not accept messages on Thursday.

On Tuesday, a group of Alabama Southern Baptists met with Dismukes, according to The Alabama Baptist newspaper. The following day, at a deacon’s meeting at Dismukes’ rural church, Pleasant Hill Baptist, he resigned.

Although each Baptist church is independent, Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, earlier this month issued a “personal credo” saying he was opposed to racism. The post was affirmed by the officers of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and State Board of Missions on July 27.

“Everyone of all races and backgrounds is made in the image of God!” wrote Lance. “Those words should never be considered as ‘cheap talk’ but as an unchanging and non-negotiable core value.”

Lance declined to comment for this article.

This is not the first time Dismukes’ actions have drawn calls for his resignation. Last month, his support for continued state funding for a Confederate Memorial Park north of Montgomery also drew controversy. So far he has not resigned from the state legislature.

Yonat ShimronYonat Shimron is a national reporter and senior editor for Religion News Service.



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34 thoughts on “So. Baptist pastor resigns after speaking at party for KKK leader”

  1. Regardless of what the Democrats say they are the Political Party that supported the Confederates and to this day honors KKK Grand Wizard West Virginia Senator Robert “Sheets” Byrd.

    1. Your comment strikes me as an attempt at “what aboutism”. The Pastor is a Republican, and a Southern Baptist period. Let’s not live in the past, to make oneself feel better.

    2. Good evening Dirk,

      I don’t understand why you are disappearing down a ‘rat hole’ of history when this article is talking about a ‘Man of God’ providing an invocation at a celebration of a KKK leader.

      By your “what aboutism” is seem that you do approve. Is that true? Yes or No.

      The flash light of history rarely shows the past living up to the bar we present (and we rarely do as well). We also don’t live up to the bar that the past had. A three time divorced man wouldn’t have been allowed to be elected Dog Catcher in any ‘Respectable’ community of the past.

      Best regards,

  2. As demonstrated by the comment above, Republicans and Evangelicals will continue to deny systemic racism in the church and government.

    1. You have no idea what you are writing about. Realty: Democrats supported the institution of Slavery, Opposed Reconstruction after the Civil War and supported the Segregation that plaqued the South into the 1960’s and possibly elements of it to the 1970’s. I am not a Republican. But, Republicans did none of those of things. Senator Robert “Sheets” Byrd of West Virgina. A Democrat was proud of his role as a KKK Grand Wizard to his death and the Democrat Party to this day honors him.

      You Carla I hate to say but, you are in denial of reality.

        1. Mickey:

          Your statement ( “explain away the Southern Strategy and how the current Republican President is not a racist” ) is a well-received Narrative and has been approved in advance as an effective Talking Point by the 5 companies that control 93% of the media content in the USA.

          The only problem is that it is false.

          The facts are that some Republicans endorsed the Southern Strategy, and some did Not. For example, many like GOP Vice President candidate Jack Kemp and others were fighting hard for minorities long before it became convenient and popular to do so.

          Similar to how some Democrat politicians enjoy making ethnic slurs toward minorities, but other Democrat politicians do not. Or similar to how some Democrat politicians are members of KKK, but other Democrat politicians do Not. You cannot broad- brush and ignore facts.

          Also, Lee Atwater ( author of the so-called “Southern Strategy” ) repented of his sin and publicly acknowledged his wrong behavior with that before his untimely, early death.

          The current President was a lifelong, registered Democrat who gave millions to the New York Democrat party for decades and decades. Trump would attend the fund-raising dinners for NYC Democrats. And Trump and his money were accepted for many years by the media and by the Democrat war machine in NYC. He was never called a racist. Trump appeared on Oprah Winfrey shows so many times that we lost count. And Oprah considered Trump a friend and vice versa. But Trump was never called a racist back then.

          What happened?

          He switched his lifelong party affiliation, and began to take steps to plan a future presidential run.

          By the way,

          could you please explain how the leading proponent of prison incarceration for non-violent crimes for American Africans and minorities is now the presidential candidate of the Democrat Party ?

          Joe Biden is responsible for that, but I do not personally fault you for knowing your facts because the Media Narrative does not like uncomfortable facts.

          The media does not report the news, the media reports the narrative.

          1. Actually this is untrue. Trump was called a racist when he had to pay fines for denying housing to black people in the 80s. He was called a racist for how he treated the Central Park Five decades ago AND again when he refused to apologize despite their proven innocence just last year. He was called racist in books that quoted him as saying he doesn’t like blacks counting his money and had a rule that all black employees be removed from the casino floor upon his arrival. He was called a racist for calling us “the blacks” in the 80s and 90s. He was called racist for referring to his supporter as “my African American” as if he owned him back in 2016. You just weren’t listening. Not listening does not mean it did not happen. That is false.

            Just like slave masters slept with slaves and had slaves raise their kids, and white employers slept with the help during Jim Crow, you can employ black people, sleep with black people and befriend black people and still hold onto bigoted beliefs. Going on Oprah to further your own brand and market whatever you are selling does not absolve you from bigotry. Repentance does. Humility does. Apologizing does. Trump has done none of the above. He deflects and denies, like unrepentant prideful sinners do. So he should be treated as such.

      1. Robert A deJesus

        He should have his Republican state seat taken from under him. I’m tired of Republicans being tied to racism when history says otherwise. Dixiecrats have the reputation for the fight against Reconstruction. Antifaz knows this, but intentionally push another narrative because of a deep seated hatred of Trump. Really sad state of affairs. The worst thing about this story is he had pastoral credentials, which is historically tied to systemic racism and the church has done little to purge the ranks of the cancer in the church. I’m at ease when I remind myself that God is not mocked. He will repay, thanks to Jesus.

      2. Oh my goodness, the complete ignoring of DECADES of history in which these platforms changed is astounding, misleading and manipulative. There’s a reason that Civil Rights legislation was designed and passed under JFK and LBJ. Kennedy sent the feds to investigate the murders of civil rights workers and to force integration. I’ll let you think for a minute on what party they belonged to (hint: they weren’t Republicans). If the Republicans were always such beacons of hope and equality, why did it take Democratic presidents for Civil Rights legislation to be drafted and passed? As a matter of fact, when LBJ was pushing for the Fair Housing Act to be passed along with the Voting Rights Act, he was warned that this push was “going too far” and would end up with “the South going Republican FOREVER”. He ignored the warning, and sure enough….look what we have today. In the meantime, the Republicans embraced the Dixiecrats, the Southern strategy was launched, and we have the complete swapping of platforms today. (Political platforms continue to evolve; I think that Reagan would be disgusted with Trump).

        The update to the Voting Rights Act is currenty being held up in the Republian-led Senate. Why is that?
        Why do right wing extremists and racists wave Confederate flags and support Republicans so much? Why don’t Republicans openly, strategically, and intentionally rebuke them? It’s so they won’t alienate their base! FYI: conservatives also have to be careful about the “limited government” and “states rights” mantra, as that language is what was used to fight integration. My parents and grandparents grew up during Jim Crow, and they will tell you that to this day, when they hear all that conservative “small government” talk, they get triggered with memories of hearing, “Tell the feds we know how to handle our black folk down here, and to stay out of our business!” You want to know the reason why so many black and brown people tend to support larger government? It’s not out of “dependency on entitlements” (statistically speaking, most entitlements go to poor white people in Republican states); it’s wanting to know that the feds (“big government”) will step in when state leadership gets out of pocket. Again, it was the feds that forced integration when George Wallace refused. You may have read about it in history books. MY FAMILY LIVED IT.

        I’m not surprised by this article, nor the actions and non-apology of Dismukes. He knew what he was doing, and the message he was sending to his supporters. He should be censured. But then again, look how long it took for Rep Steve King to get rebuked by his fellow Republicans. He has repped his district in Iowa for DECADES.

        I will say this: I actually am ok with Confederate monuments staying put, as long as plaques are added that tell the FULL history, including how many of those monuments were raised during the Reconstruction or Jim Crow era to intimidate “liberal race mixers” (being liberal isn’t always as evil as Christians love to claim) and let black people know where their allegiance REALLY stood (that’s why some are raised in states that were never even part of the Confederacy). I also think every Confederate flag that remains raised should be raised over a copy of the constitution of the Confederate States of America (found in a Virginia museum), which claims it will be the only nation on earth that stands for the supremacy of the white man. Let folks know what they are honoring, saluting and waving. Let people like me know who to avoid without being prayed up and surrounded by God’s angels.

        1. MH:

          No one here made your claim: “if the Republicans were always such beacons of hope and equality…”
          No one here said the word, “ALWAYS”. Rather, reality forces us to understand that words, “some” , “many” are helpful, instead of broad-brushing with large rhetorical strokes that lack clarity and only serve to inflame.

          For example, one well-known Democrat politician showed her hatred of others by mis-characterizing a Catholic clergyman who literally gave his life to serve Lepers as her example of “white supremacist culture.” Yet, it would then be mistaken of me ( a Protestant Christian ) to later go on and say ALL Democrats hate Catholic clergymen who die by contracting leprosy in their noble attempt to serve lepers. That would be wrong for me to broad brush and then say “Democrats hate Catholics.”

          There are a lot of factual errors in your above emotion-driven rant that I don’t have time to correct.

          For example, you mention again the Media Narrative of “why do right wing extremists and racists wave Confederate flags and support Republicans so much? Why don’t Republicans openly, strategically, and intentionally rebuke them?”

          a.) at GOP rallies, I have never seen Confederate flags. The only time I saw a Confederate flag in my area was on a pick-up truck at a gas station and I asked the driver if he was from the South. He said, “no, but his ancestors were, and he wants to honor their history” by having a symbol of the Confederate flag on his plate. I then asked him what politician he is supporting and he replied, “Bernie Sanders, because I believe in Single Payor Health Care and Bernie supports the little people with no power.”

          So, that true story above, is one example that just smashes the well-known, oft-repeated Media Narrative. But you see…….it is a convenient, useful media narrative, one that is well-rehearsed, but nonetheless lacking in any truth value.

          b.) Ever heard of what happened to Senator Trent Lott? He was perceived to be making comments that may seem to others as “racist”. What did the GOP insiders and GOP leadership do to Trent Lott?

          The answer is that according to the Media Narrative, the GOP did nothing, but instead praised Trent
          Lott .

          But the REALITY is that Senator Trent Lott was forced to resign from his position. Again, the Truth is different from the Narrative, but the reality is reality. Again, just 1 quick example in less than 1 minute contradicts your earlier broad-brushed post.

          You are welcome to support Federal involvement. I support your right to share and argue for your position.

          But please do not engage in ad hominem attacks when you mis-label “small government” proponents and “states rights” advocates as bigots. One of the many reasons why “small government” advocates exist is because we know the failures/mis-management of government health care on Indian reservations, in prisons, mis-management of Social Security trust fund, etc….that we do Not trust the Federal Government to take over More stuff and have More control and Break more stuff.

          You are invited to disagree with me….one who has seen many Canadian patients come to the USA for their elective Health Care surgeries due to the many years of waiting on their so-called “free Govt Health Care”.

          You and others may disagree with our “small govt” approach, but you should be very careful and cautious about injecting racism angle here. To inject racism angle here would be an unfair ad hominem
          argument….similar to broad-brushing and making stereotypical and bigoted comments.

          Bigoted comments like Pennsylvania voters who believe in the Bible and happen to own a gun and who also share the several thousands-year theological tradition that “marriage” means 1 man, 1 wife ………are clinging to their “God, Guns” due to “Bitterness”.

          Such an unfair , broad-based, bigoted comment against classes of people !!

          By the way, I agree with your critical comments about the Confederacy. I think that we should ban every Political Party that aided and supported the Genocide known as American slavery.

          But the only problem would be that the Media would then have to find a new political party to support, and AOC, Obama,and Joe Biden ( author of the Crime Bill that led to mass prison Incarcerations for black Americans ) would then be politically homeless.

          1. I was born and raised in the south. If you believe most people waving Confederate flags (which I have seen waved at GOP rallies, NASCAR events, country music festivals, rural gas stations, rallies to keep the symbol on various state flags, football games – especially when Ole Miss or Alabama are playing, etc) are actually Democrats or progressives, let’s just agree to disagree. I can say that has NOT been my experience, but I can’t speak to yours.

            Yes, I have heard of Trent Lott. I also watched Trump have to be confronted about his support from the KKK, before he uncomfortably tried to deny he knew who David Duke is (proven to be a lie, not to mention it’s common knowledge), and had to practically be coerced into a half-renunciation of the support. That was uncomfortable to watch.
            I watched Steve King (GOP rep for Iowa) get away with DECADES of having the Confederate flag in his office (Iowa wasn’t even part of the Confederacy), making bigoted statements, and retweeting and liking comments by known white supremacists WITH NO DISCIPLINE from the GOP until LAST YEAR.
            Even with Dismukes, I’m waiting for the GOP to go on the record on the Congressional floor with a full rebuke, not off the record tweets and 30 second media quotes of “we disagree” from the GOP.
            So the question is….has the GOP gone far enough in disassociating itself from such behavior? I think that can be up for debate.

            I was sharing the whole notion of supporting big vs small government to shed light on the impact of racism (subtle, coded, or blatant) on the black vote. Because contrary to conservative media talking points, it’s not about “entitlements”. Statistically speaking, the older black vote COULD be a lock for the GOP if Republicans really went after weeding out racism from its ranks. It is proven that black voters from the Baby Boomer and Silent Generation (my parents and grandparents) are VERY conservative for a number of reasons, one of them being that they are more religious than even white voters from these generations (higher involvement in church, members of more conservative denominations, etc). They are more conservative thatn whites on many issues like gay marriage and gender identity (you should hear the cross-generational debates at my family reunions, or how my dad scoffs at me when I say, “Daddy, you can’t go out in public and say things like that anymore, or else you’ll be seen as homophobic”…and don’t get him started on AOC or other “more progressive” Democrats) This voting bloc also votes more than black Xers (my generation) or millennials (my younger siblings). So WHY isn’t this a lock for the GOP? I’m shedding light on the conversations had in the black community over this, and a lot of it is the “trigger” language I shared above about “states rights” (and more…but this could get lengthy). You can disagree with it; I’m just shedding light to encourage understanding, because that is what is needed in a time like this. And when Democratic candidates show up to black churches (I don’t attend a predominantly black church at this time, but I grew up in them), what do they speak to? How they will make sure the “big government” will come in and protect them should folks on the state or local level get to acting out, whether it’s on education, health care, etc. The candidates are howing that they know what the “triggers” are, and speaking directly to that older black vote.
            I’ve said plenty of times that if the GOP had better advisers with insights into what is REALLY said in the black community, they could come in and sweep. But IMO, they don’t care to.

            As for the Canadian “free health care” bit – you should read this book called “Upstream” by Dan Heath. It really speaks to what the health care debate is about – and it’s about where you invest your money. We are used to investing our money in reactive health care (what happens after you get sick) moreso than preventative health care (what prevents you from getting sick). Other countries like Canada, Sweden, etc, spend more money on the latter, so fewer people get sick (stats show our nation is in worse health) and the demand for doctors and surgeons is lower (so there are lower numbers and longer wait times). But we have more sick people, increasing our demand for doctors, surgeons, etc, and our need for those in those professions STAYS high. That is why the wait is shorter here for treatment. It’s not an apples to apples comparison to look at the US vs a country like Canada. Look for countries that spend the same way we do.
            It brings an interesting argument on where we should be spending money, and how do you start changing things up so late in the game. (The book includes similar case studies on education and other social issues).

            And finally – I do think our political system needs to pave the way for more parties, especially as the GOP and Democratic parties shift farther apart, ideologically speaking. But, when you follow the money, I don’t see that happening soon.

      3. Everyone knows about the ideological shift between modern Democrats and Republicans. You’re not the only person who has studied history or political science.

        Those historical facts have absolutely nothing to do with a Republican PASTOR and state representative in 2020 attending a KKK event to help celebrate the birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest who was one of the most wicked people in American History. He founded a terrorist organization responsible for the terror and murder untold numbers of African American people. His legacy is one of terror including the bombing of African American churches and the murder of African American children at church.

        But you don’t want to talk about that. You’d rather steer the conversation to the political realm instead of addressing the fact that there are too many racist PASTORS and elected officials in this country TODAY. The racist rhetoric coming out of the pulpits today is alarming. A Klan member masquerading as a Christian pastor is absolutely vile. The fact that he is an elected official who has the ability to affect the lives of Black citizens is frightening.

        While you’re pointing the finger of “denial” at me you may want to check the number of fingers pointing back at yourself.

        You didn’t have one single word to say about this wicked man pretending to be a “PASTOR” while celebrating the founder of the Klan. Not one word. Why?

        You chose to change the subject to Democrats vs. Republicans. People like you are a huge part of the problem Dirk. I’ll pray for you and this racist “Pastor” and I mean that sincerely. You are deceived and helping to do the work of the evil one.

    2. @Carla sadly as the result of the fall and rebellion against God as recorded for us in Genesis, people have a propensity toward racism regardless of their race. It is a sin against God and against our “neighbor”. The vast majority of abolitionists were individuals who read Scripture and understood that God demands that all people are made in God’s image and deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of race, economic status, gender, etc. If Will Dismukes subscribes to the KKK doctrine, he is disqualified from being a pastor. So sad.

      1. “If Will Dismukes subscribes to the KKK doctrine, he is disqualified from being a pastor.”

        I 150% agree.

        Yes, he is disqualified and he may be open to church discipline as well IF he is sowing seeds of hatred and racism towards others.

        Also, he is disqualified from being considered a GOP and a Conservative.

        The Party of Lincoln needs reminders to weed out the fakes from within our midst.

      2. @Don Jones. I agree 100%. No pastor of God or Christian should be involved in the KKK. We also shouldn’t turn a blind eye to those in our midst who are.

  3. People see what they carry in their hearts. If you see racism everywhere it’s because it lives inside of you like a parasite. The thief believes everyone is stealing from him, the liar trusts no one. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

    1. People also see what’s on display in front of them. And in this case, Dismukes put on display a celebration of a KKK leader. Why is this even up for debate? Sigh.

  4. Forrest is well known for his military genius as an outnumbered cavalry commander. If I am to be received as a woke Critical Race Theorist, mist I deny Forrest’s military prowess? Must I pretend he was a military loser?

    How far must I go to be accepted as a repentant and contrite Christian? Must I deny Forrest’s unparalleled victory at Brice’s Crossroads? Must I deny the numerous lauds of Union General Sherman, or Union General Thomas, as to Forrest’s military accomplishments many of which are studied even today?

    How can I obtain acceptanc from the morally superior Christians who, by their holiness, control the present narratives? Must I deny and cancel Forrest, even as I must cancel Washington and Jefferson? When will the canceling be sufficient? Will it ever be sufficient?

    1. There’s nothing to cancel. Just tell the full story. Forrest was a military genius AND a racist. Both are true.
      Washington was a founding father and great leader…AND a slaveholder. Both are true. To ignore one or the other is to paint a false narrative.
      The real question is…why does anyone need to paint a false narrative (in either direction)? Why only focus on Forrest being a military genius and leave out he was a racist? Why only focus on Washington as a slave holder and leave out his role as a founding father?
      I bet the answers to those questions tell the REAL story of personal agendas.

      And how about some compassion or empathy? How would white evangelicals feel if there was solely a focus on Malcolm X as a civil rights leader, but ZERO mention of his black nationalist ideologies (of his early Nation of Islam days)?

  5. MH:

    Thank you for your good comments and dialogue regarding my previous comment.

    1.) I do Not dispute your experience of growing up in the South. I do Not think most people waving Confederate flags are Democrats or progressives.

    My view is that I am not 100% sure what their views are. Are they Independents? Are they GOP or
    Democrats? I am not sure. I have met many men driving pick-up trucks and they have Confederate flags, and I then learn that they work at a Public Sector UNION construction job. And so I think they must vote Democrat, since the UNION construction industry tells their employees to vote Democrat all the time.

    But I might be mistaken in the above.

    Question 1: does having a Confederate flag entail that that particular person is a Racist?

    I mean the above, as an honest question.

    2.) Regarding Trump, I view him as a much older American who never ran for politics and has senile moments.

    David Duke is not a significant factor in the GOP, and I do not think Trump knew who David Duke was.

    However, I have met Louisiana GOP and they immediately knew who David Duke was.

    But I have also met Tennessee GOP conservatives and they had NO idea in the world who David Duke was.

    3.) Steve King:

    I do Not know why Steve King of Iowa has a Confederate flag in his office. I do Not know if Steve is originally from the South or has ancestors there or what.

    Question 2: does having a Confederate flag in your office automatically entail that that particular person, Steve King, is a racist ?

    Honest question.

    If Steve King makes Bigoted statements and racist statements, then I will join you in condemning him.

    4.) Regarding Dismukes, he is a State Representative, and so there is no congress there .

    By the way, my concern with Dismukes is that he was celebrating the KKK founder.

    I do not think the presence of a Confederate flag automatically makes a person a Racist.

    5.) Regarding entitlements:

    I 3,0000 percent agree with your comments that the “Older Black Vote could be a Lock for the GOP.”

    Most older Black People, in my opinion, are very Conservative.

    I agree with you.

    There is a wonderful African American Christian lady who sits behind me at work. She has worked 2 jobs.
    Her husband has a State pension, and he has often worked 2 jobs. They are Conservative on everything.

    6.) You write:

    “I’m just shedding light to encourage understanding, because that is what is needed in a time like this.”

    My response is that I appreciate your attention to detail in your good response.

    7.) Regarding Government Health Care,

    Ted Kennedy spearheaded the drive to eliminate the GOP push for Medical IRAs or Health Care IRAs.

    The GOP believed in the mid 1990s that everyone has a Right to access Health Care.

    And this Right to access Health Care should not even be dependent on a job or government.

    So, the GOP tried to push Medical Savings Accounts for the purpose of setting up private Health Care IRA that would exist even outside of your employment and the money would grow tax-deferred.

    Ted Kennedy destroyed that noble idea

    8.) Regarding “entitlements”…….

    I am a white person, and I will be quick to acknowledge that most of the Entitlements go to Poverty, Rural areas dominated by white people. The most common is Social Security disability, but there are others.

    I agree with much of what you wrote.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Mark – I really do appreciate the respectful debate. It seems that several of your questions are about if waving or posting the Confederate flag makes one a racist.
      It is my understanding and belief that flags represent the values of a nation (or organization).
      To read the values of the Confederacy as stated in its constitution (I encourage people to read it – and see the original in a museum in VA), you’ll find that it involves establishing a nation that stands for the supremacy of the white man. It bluntly says it (and it goes on about how the “Negro” was born to serve the white man. A real gem, huh?) That is what the flag stands for. That is racist. I mean, the Confederate flag is waved by white supremacists for a reason – not just because they think it looks cool.
      So when I see people wave or post the flag, I believe one of a few things (and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive):
      1. They are ignorant to the values of the Confederacy, and what its constitution bluntly says. I have found that VERY few have read the constitution of the Confederacy (heck, few have read the Constitution of the US, but that’s a whole other discussion), so they run around waving a flag that represents racist beliefs with little knowledge of it. To add on top of that, few have read the speeches and writings of Confederate leaders who helped shape its constitution – and they are even WORSE. Do I think those ignorant of this are racist? No. But racism and racially insensitive behaviors (like waving a flag that stands for white supremacy) are rooted in ignorance. Dangerous path here.
      2. They deny or downplay what is in the constitution of the Confederacy with remarks like “those were the morals of the time, don’t judge them based on today” out of some sort of idolatry of the South, “states rights”, “rebellion against tyranny”, etc….or to avoid facing the sin of their ancestors due to what it says about who they were and how they were on the wrong side of history (think “Daughers of the Confederacy” type of organizations). Do I think people who fall in this category are racist? No. I think they make EXCUSES for it, which is racially insensitive at the very least. Racism and the concept of racial supremacy were wrong in 1865, and they are wrong today. No ifs, ands or buts.
      3. They know it what the Confederacy stood for and they don’t care. Do I think people who fall into this category are racist? Yes.
      The REAL issue IMO is when people come to learn about this and BLATANTLY deny or downplay it. If someone were to come up to me and say “hey, FYI, that flag or symbol you’re flying represents black supremacy and how white people were born to serve black people”, I’d be mortified and stop. This is where empathy comes in. If there were a symbol or flag that was for a nation (or organization) that stood for black supremacy, and how whites were born to serve black people…and people defiantly defended waving it or posting it, what would you think? If you went to remind them of what it stood for, and people were full of excuses or tried to gaslight you with “well that’s not what they REALLY meant when they said that…it was just the morals of the time”, what would you think? How would you feel if you had to FIGHT for that flag to be taken down from a government building that your taxes pay for?
      I’m frustrated and shocked that people learn about the beliefs and values of the Confederacy and keep waving that flag with pride. What’s to be proud of?
      And even if you were to take a step back and try to make this about national or cultural pride….what nation goes around waving the flag of a now-defunct country it defeated from its government buildings? Does Germany go around waving Nazi flags “in honor of its history, when they were proudly fighting against aggressors” (a common argument of Confederate supporters)? No, because they know what that flag stood for was SHAMEFUL.
      So I go back to my earlier comment – folks want to wave that flag? Go right on ahead. But they should know what they are being associated with when they do it (and how I will steer clear of them for my own safety). If the flag is posted, have a plaque next to it, with AT LEAST the first page of the Confederate constitution and writings of the Confederate founders next to it.

  6. Seems like 155 years after the end of the Civil War and the Confederate government that better symbols of Southern heritage and pride could be selected than Confederate flags. Also, are there no better historical persons to be revered than Confederate generals and officials? Is there really nothing else about Southern heritage, culture and pride to be celebrated?

  7. First, let me state that it was good that this pastor resigned. There is no good (or helpful) reason to honor N. B. Forrest. And, for the record, there is no good (or helpful) reason to honor former Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, which many Democrats over the years have done, including Joe Biden by the way.

    Now I will get to my real point that I want to make. We are witnessing much in the news lately about “cancel culture” and how many Democrats and woke leftists want to cancel our nation’s history. They are using various (mostly lawless) means at their disposal, such as defacing, destroying, or tearing down monuments and statues that they deem “racist” from our nation’s past. Also, they are applying pressure to rename various things, such as buildings, schools, streets, towns, food products, etc.

    However, one thing we have not witnessed yet is the tearing down or renaming of the Democratic Party itself — the one political party in our nation’s history that is most responsible for promoting and expanding slavery, establishing the Southern Confederacy, seceding from the United States, starting the Civil War, perpetuating segregation following the Civil War, and enforcing racist Jim Crow laws, assisted by Southern Democrat appointed judges in the Supreme Court.

    Therefore, if anything in our current culture deserves to be “canceled,” we should start with the Democratic Party. It should be abolished or renamed. Yet, don’t hold your breath, since hypocrisy is the primary hallmark of the Democratic Party.

    The sad fact is, the vast majority of our culture has no idea about the history of the Democratic Party, since the Democratic Party has successfully whitewashed the first 160 years of its soiled history.

    It must be recognized that the South, from the pre-Civil War era through the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s, was largely a product of the Democratic Party. This is still one of the least talked about facts of our nation’s political history, even of the Civil Rights era. Merely because President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many people today assume the Democrats were always the party of Civil Rights. The truth is quite the opposite. In reality, it was the Republicans’ influence in Congress against the Southern Democrats and Dixiecrats who led the legal battle for the landmark Civil Rights bills of the 1960’s.

    Some people in this comment thread have mentioned the Southern Strategy. Well, the first Southern Strategy was when JFK picked LBJ as his running mate in the 1960 election in order to win the South, even though LBJ was no friend to Black Americans during his time as Senate majority leader in Texas. Nonetheless, JFK, a Northern liberal, needed someone in the South with some clout to help him win the election, so he selected LBJ as his VP running mate.

    When people today watch documentaries of the Civil Rights era and recall the police brutality against Blacks in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, etc., they are reminded of Bull Connor and his fire hoses and dogs. They are reminded of the KKK with their demonstrations and cross burnings. Yet most people today have no idea that Bull Connor was not merely the Commissioner of Public safety in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. He was also elected as the Democratic National Committeeman in 1960 for the state of Alabama.

    In addition, there was Alabama Governor George Wallace, who defiantly protested against racial integration throughout the whole Civil Rights era. In 1963, during his inaugural address as Governor, Wallace famously uttered his racist line: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

    These politicians were the Southern Democrats known as “Dixiecrats”. And their political power was entrenched at every level in most Southern states, from the local mayor and city council, all the way up to the state legislature, Congress, and Governor’s seat. Today’s Democrats need to be educated about their Party’s shameful history regarding Civil Rights.

    The fact is, the KKK was founded and populated by Democrats in the South during post Civil War Reconstruction. The KKK was then re-energized after the 1915 release of D.W. Griffith’s very popular pro-Klan silent film “The Birth of a Nation”. When it was first released, President Woodrow Wilson even organized a private screening at the White House for the members of his cabinet and their families. Moreover, it was the Democratic Party who worked to segregate the federal government at the direction of President Wilson upon taking office in 1913.

    Demographically, the South’s rise of Republicanism began in the late 70’s due to Northern transplants as well as cultural and religious influences. It is true that some racist Southerners now tend to vote for the GOP. But the fact remains that the historic roots of Southern secession, Civil War, enforced segregation, and Jim Crow began with the Democrats and continued with the Dixiecrats, even during the Civil Rights era.

    Let these facts be a reminder to us, as the Democratic Party (along with their media backers) continue to “cancel” much of our culture and history, except of course for their own shameful political party, which is the first cultural entity that should truly be canceled.

    1. I actually don’t think cancelling is the right thing. (And let’s not act like BOTH parties aren’t hypocritical). As I stated earlier, I think it’s about having proper plaques next to these statues, buildings, and monuments that tell the full story of our nation’s history – in which BOTH parties are tainted. Even Lincoln made speeches on how despite freeing the slaves, he still found black people inferior. I don’t hear Republicans claiming that part. Convenient, huh?
      I’m black and watched “Birth of a Nation.” I think everyone should due to its historical, cultural, and artistic influence. Spike Lee makes his students watch it (my younger brother is one of his students) and they discuss it as well. It is so important we know our history so we don’t ignorantly repeat it.

      1. M H,

        I agree we need to know our history, especially since the Democratic Party has whitewashed 160 years of its soiled history regarding race and civil rights.

        Beginning with Andrew Jackson, the founder of the Democratic Party, all the way until LBJ signed the landmark civil rights bills in the 1960’s (no thanks to all the Southern Democrats in the House and Senate), too many people, especially younger people, have no idea about this sordid history.

        And sorry, but your moral equivalence between the two political parties with regard to race and civil rights in our nation’s history is just flat out wrong; it’s not even close.

        It is true, Abe Lincoln did not view equality between Blacks and Whites the same as we do today; but it’s an egregious error in judgment (and logic) to draw any moral equivalence between Lincoln and the Democrat leaders of his era. Again, it’s not even close.

        The carnage that has been wrought by the Democratic Party against Black Americans for 160 years is utterly shameful and disgusting. I am proud of the GOP’s heritage of having Lincoln as its first President.

        The Democrats can keep their heritage of Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, John Calhoun, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Woodrow Wilson, Bull Connor, and George Wallace.

        1. Daniel –

          Do you have proof that ONLY the Democratic party has whitewashed history? I mean, Republicans NEVER bring up the racist letters and bigoted comments of Lincoln (I noticed your “but” statement to try to compare and downplay), Nixon, Goldwater, and plenty of others. They downplay having CURRENT white nationalist representation in the likes of Steve King (how long did it take for him to be called out by the GOP for his bigotry?), WHY they tend to have the support of the KKK (remember when David Duke publicly joined the GOP throughout the 90’s and ran for office MULTIPLE times?), WHY Trump paid fines for denying housing to black people, and more. Leaving those parts out is whitewashing too. You make HUGE generalizations that are rooted in political bias rather than seeing the problem is not knowing history across the board, whether Republican or Democrat. (Even some of the statements you make about what was going on throughout the 60s through the 80s is clearly biased, because there was a reason it took Democratic Presidents to pass legisltation, but I think you know that….and it would take a long time to go through).

          Fact is, political platforms (and representation) evolve. Reagan wouldn’t recognize a lot of what the GOP claims to stand for today. And I get that leaving out the past and present bigotry within the Republican party makes you feel good about being one, but to deny is to LIE. The Republican party was not always some perfect beacon of hope for abolition and civil rights. If that were true, A LOT of past and present events would have gone differently.

          Our nation’s history is wrought with racism, sexism, classism and more across BOTH platforms.To blameshift to the “other” party, make excuses for why it was ok in “our” party, do “whataboutism” or deny doesn’t change that.
          As believers, we know the first part of repentance is to acknowledge sin. You can’t change what you don’t admit. And as I was posting earlier about how the older black vote SHOULD be a lock for the GOP, I think refusing to admit missteps in this area is part – but not all – of the challenge (you can see my entire post above).

          So let’s not cast racism as solely an issue in the Democratic Party. Let’s cast it as an AMERICAN problem that we ALL need to own and address, from past to present.

          1. M H,

            David Duke was a Democrat for many years, and he first tried running for President as a Democrat in 1988, before switching to the Populist Party. He then became a Republican, but in name only, since no one in the GOP likes him (and never has). He’s been a nobody within the GOP from the get go.

            You mentioned Steve King. Yes, he’s a dope, and everyone in the GOP knows it. He’s also an outlier, so he’s hardly the norm within Republican Party politics. He is not very respected at all in the party, and if he loses his seat in Congress, there won’t be any tears shed for his loss.

            You said that I’m making HUGE generalizations that are rooted in political bias. That of course is your opinion. I can say that your attempts at “moral equivalence” regarding the long history of the two political parties is rooted in your own political bias.

            I know the history, and I’ve studied it for a very long time. Sorry, but it’s not even close — not by a long shot. And sorry, but Nixon and Goldwater were not Robert Byrd, since Byrd was in the KKK. In fact, Goldwater wasn’t that much different in his era than, say, Al Gore Sr. (who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

            The fact remains that the historic roots of Southern secession, Civil War, enforced segregation, and Jim Crow began with the Democrats and continued with the Dixiecrats, even during the Civil Rights era. No amount of false moral equivalence can change this sordid history.

            Steve King, the dunce that he is, does not have blood on his hands like the myriad leaders of the Democratic Party for many decades. For heaven’s sake, the Democrats even had a gag rule in the 1840’s which prohibited discussion about slavery within Congress. Very nice.

            The sad fact is, for much of our nation’s history, it was the Democrats and Southern Dixiecrats who kept Jim Crow and segregation alive for decades, until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Even then, most of the opposition in Congress came from Southern Democrats. Moreover, these Acts should have been unnecessary in the first place, since the Republican Congress in the mid 1860’s had already passed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (no thanks to President Andrew Johnson and legions of Southern Democrats). This is a sad fact of our nation’s history, and it shouldn’t be swept under a rug.

            It was Abraham Lincoln who intended to free the slaves with his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, even though effectively it could not be carried out at the time. Obviously, it took the remainder of the Civil War, and victory for the North in 1865, before the Southern slaves were truly declared free. Then, during the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War, the Republican-controlled Congress (dubbed “Radical Republicans” by Democrats) worked to amend the Constitution so as to ensure the formal and legal abolition of slavery, as well as provide Blacks with equal protection under the law. With the passage of the 13th Amendment (in 1865) slavery was formally outlawed. With the passage of the 14th Amendment (in 1868) the Constitution formally guaranteed equal protection under the law and due process for all citizens. Furthermore, this Amendment went so far as to declare illegal any claim of a slaveholder, or former slaveholder, seeking redress or compensation for the loss, or emancipation, of any slave. Therefore, the 14th Amendment formally established that slaves (i.e. people) cannot be considered as “property” of another. Finally, the 15th Amendment (in 1870) formally declared that all citizens (still male at this point) have the right to vote, including those who had been slaves. That’s a brief history of the key amendments that were ratified during the Reconstruction era (1867 – 1877).

            You and I are not likely to agree on this subject, and I am perfectly fine with that. I didn’t write my comments to suggest in any way that the GOP is always “good” and the Democrats are always “bad”. That is hardly my point. My point is that it was the Democrats who originally founded (and then utilized for their benefit) the KKK for many decades, starting with Nathan Bedford Forrest. And the history of the Democratic Party with regard to race and civil rights, starting in the 1820’s and going well into the 1960’s, is absolutely abysmal. There is no amount of false moral equivalence between the two political parities that can change this awful history It’s not even close.

            We do not have to agree on this subject. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t. We are both free to express our educated opinions nonetheless. I thank you for sharing your thoughts on these issues, even if I disagree with some of your conclusions. Peace be with you.

  8. I doubt Steve King was in office since 2003 – yet went unreprimanded by the GOP until 2018 – because he was an outlier. That may be the belief, but it sure wasn’t reflected in action.
    In any case, sounds like we agree that the sin of racism and its fruits have permeated ALL of American politics from the beginning, leaving many casualties (past and present) in its wake. Whataboutism won’t eradicate it, as it just gives us excuses to do nothing because it’s “their” problem (whoever the “their” is to you – Democrats, Republicans, black people, white people, liberals, conservatives….). Uniting in addressing and uprooting it will.
    Now, then we get into how to do that, which is a WHOLE other debate.
    Be blessed.

    1. M H,

      Here’s my take on the primary struggle that our society is facing. It has to do with the scourge of identity politics.

      I think identity politics, particularly the brand that is constantly pushed by the Left in this country, is a cancer on our society. It is divisive, corrosive, and it’s a bottomless pit. It’s a bottomless pit because the goals and ideals of identity politics can never be satisfied or satiated. It’s unfortunate that so much of our culture (media, entertainment, politics, schools, corporations, etc.) is overly obsessed with race/class/gender – and it’s only getting worse. As long as our culture continues to focus endlessly (and reflexively) on our differences, I don’t see how we can become unified as a people. As long as we see people only as part of a tribe, especially due to their immutable physical characteristics, then we’re not going to have unity in this country.

      It’s ironic that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for exhorting us to not judge people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Unfortunately, there are too many influential people in our society who practice and preach exactly the opposite of King’s message. As Frederick Douglass once wrote, “It has long been the desire of our enemies to deepen and widen the line of separation between the white and colored people of this country.” For Douglass, the only relevant minority in America was the minority of one – the individual. Further, Douglass said, “I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity.” I couldn’t agree more with Douglass. It’s time that our nation’s leaders start encouraging its citizens to focus on our common humanity and our common shared interests as American citizens. There is certainly a place to highlight and celebrate our distinct ethnic and family heritages and backgrounds, but we should also seek unity by focusing on our common interests and concerns as human beings.

      At this stage of human history, clear-thinking people should know that it’s a utopian fantasy to expect an equality of result (i.e. equality of outcome) for every person in America. Thus, any attempts to pursue so-called economic or social justice with such a goal in mind is both fruitless and dangerous, since it’s based on a flawed view of human nature. Moreover, whenever government tries to manufacture (i.e. force) economic equality in society, it has only led to Marxism, Fascism, Socialism, or Communism, none of which square with reality – since again, they are based on a flawed view of human nature.

      Also, from a Christian worldview standpoint, this utopian ideology leads to a false sense of man’s own goodness, which blinds him of his urgent need for repentance and salvation before a holy God. In a secular-progressive or socialist worldview, there is no such thing as Original Sin, since man is inherently good; it’s only his “environment” that is corrupted. Whereas in a Christian worldview, man is not inherently good, but is a sinner in need of God’s salvation.

      1. I don’t disagree with you. However, I do find that BOTH sides play identity politics.
        EVERYONE is “othering” someone else. I go to rallies for the GOP – and I hear nothing but division along the lines of immigrant vs citizen, Christian vs non-Christian, coastal “elite” vs rural “non-elite”, urban vs suburban, college educated vs high school diploma, celebrity vs non-celebrity (I can go on and on),with these identities used to determine who the “real” patriots are. (According to GOP rallies, to disagree with anything they say is to be an unpatriotic, athiest, Marxist elitist.) THAT is playing identity politics, my friend.
        It’s no different than going to a Democratic rally (been to those too), and hearing similar “othering” along the lines of race, class, religions, in which those who disagree are labeled as racist, sexist, classist…and a bunch of other ‘ists’. (IMO, it’s the same “othering” but different terminology).
        BOTH are problematic. My challenge with many of your comments isn’t that I disagree with your sentiment. It’s that you seem to have a BLIND EYE to how much of what you claim to be against sits within your own party. And pointing fingers at how “THEY” are doing it, but making excuses or downplaying how or why it’s done within your own, is hypocritical deflection (and “othering”).
        As a black, politically moderate, Christian woman who grew up in the south, has lived in coastal cities, overseas, and now resides in the Midwest, is a dual citizen, attended an Ivy League university, and have many friends from university who went on to be writiers/actors/producers in Hollywood, I am “othered” by both sides. To hear conservatives describe me, I’m apparently an elite, unpatriotic Marxist who couldn’t possibly love this country or be a real Christian. (And I won’t even get into the way conservatives describe my friends in Hollywood). To hear liberals describe me, I’m apparently a sellout who hates homosexuals. I’m proof that identity politics is not just a “left” thing. (I’m also proof that no one is properly defining the terms conservative, liberal, or elite).
        I also think a lot of disagreement has to do with a general misunderstanding of equality vs equity. Equality doesn’t solve inequities. And solving inequity should be the focus. Equity is about striving for equal access to opportunity NOT equal outcomes. A good analogy I use to explain it is a race in which everyone is to complete 1 mile. Equality aims to give everyone a bike. Equality ignores that there are participants who are disabled, of different gender and age ranges. Equity considers everyone’s capabilities, and provides everyone with what they individually need to complete a mile. That way, the outcome of how is narrowed to one’s hard work and training, NOT one’s access to what is necessary to even complete a mile. People screaming about equality point to how everyone should receive the exact same thing “because that’s fair”. But if I have one leg, how is it fair for me to get a bike?
        I bring this up because a lot of “othering” is built off of a flawed narrative around equality. “Look at how they are demanding something different! They don’t want equailty they want to take from you!” narratives breed discontent based on perceived unfairness without considering WHY another group may want or need something different. And wanting or needing something different does not impact our equality – as in, it does not speak to our value as people, especially not in the eyes of our Father. It shouldn’t speak to our value to those with a Christian worldview either, but unfortunately, at these same rallies, many of the condescending “othering” type of remarks are out of the mouths of professing Christians.
        And yes, I like Douglass. I also agree with WEB DuBois (re: double consciousness) and Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son is a must-read).

        1. M H,

          Thanks for your comments. I actually enjoy the debate. I know we come from different backgrounds and perspectives, so I don’t mind hearing others’ opinions. But I don’t mind expressing mine either, as you can tell.

          I completely agree that equity is about striving for equal access to opportunity rather than equal outcomes. Equal outcomes is simply impossible. Yet the social justice warriors will never see it that way, unfortunately.

          I have also benefited from reading Douglass, plus I have taken the time over the years to read works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Richard Wright, and others. Peace be with you.

  9. “Speaking at Party for KKK Leader” is a misleading headline – probably deliberately, to provoke clickbait. That phrase would make most people think that the pastor was at a local KKK party, honoring its leader. “Speaking at Memorial for KKK Founder” would be more accurate, but less provocative.

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