Ku Klux Klan: Masters of "Fear Warfare": Some things never change (lecture two)
Ku Klux Klan: second lecture
Ku Klux Klan: Masters of “Fear Warfare”: Some things never change (lecture two)
In my first lecture on the Klan most of my time and writing was spent on sharing my experiences with the group in the state of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, to be specific. I talked a bit about the context in which I was raised, in Franklin, Tennessee, on the farm.
This lecture will deal more with what the Klan is. Most importantly, the Klan is a far-right organization that was founded within the United States of America, in the state of Tennessee, that promotes white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration and direct action through terrorism. They are also anti-communist. The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center consider the Klan to be a hate group.
Remarkably, as of 2012, it is estimated that there are only between 3,000 and 5,000 active members in the Klan as of 2012. Exact numbers are hard to calculate since the Klan is a secret society.
My encounters with the Klan, during the 1960’s, had a lot to do with their active effort to oppose the Civil Rights Movement and to slow down the political and economic progress being made by minorities. Terrorism and political violence are the “fear-warfare” weapons that were applied by the Klan. Burning the homes of minorities, burning or blowing up African-American church buildings (with people in them, preferably, to increase the effects of the terror), was a common action of the Klan. Hanging blacks by the neck was also an effect application of terrorism used by Klan-men.
My personal experiences, with the Klan, have not been too severe. As I mentioned, briefly, in my first lecture, I have had (what were most likely Klan-men) to try to run me down in a car. I have been shot at by young white men who may have been Klan-men. While all of these things were being directed toward me, I was called names, just a few (“Coon,” “Darkie,” and “Nigger.”) I am happy to report that I was never actually beat up, shot, run over by a car, or hung by the neck. My grandma used to say, frequently, “Thank God for that,” and she was all the time praying for me. “Thank God for looking out for fools, old people, and children.”
Before we end this lecture it important to note that for the last 20 years or so, the Klan has evolved in a manner that causes them to appear more as a subversive or terrorist organization. Approximately 15 years ago the FBI arrested a few Klan-men in Dallas, Texas for “conspiracy,” or for planning to commit robbery and to blow up a natural gas processing plant. In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1999, a resolution was passed declaring the Klan to be a terrorist organization. Other actions have been taken, or being considered to have the Klan declared a terrorist organization.
My feelings about the Klan are, Klan-people (both men and women are active in the Klan) are racist and practitioners of segregation, practitioners of terrorism, who promotes hate and fear, because of the ungrounded fears that they, themselves, suffer from.
We must attempt to see the context within which Klan-people flourish in order to understand why they have such an effective following and such a sustainable future. Their mission and their vision are well stated and published for all to see. They are not practitioners of hypocrisy, in other words, they truly believe and practice what they preach.
I know, because I live within the context of the “Red State” of Tennessee, and see, clearly, how the business of Life is conducted in the Deep South, that the Klan has a great environment to grow or to flourish in Tennessee. For example, it was not that many years ago when a group of Tennessee evangelical pastors were quoted in a Tennessee newspaper as saying, “Mormons are not Christians.” I said to myself, “Wow! That is a strange position for evangelical pastors to take, because the true name of the Mormon Church is, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”” I said to myself, “There appears that these evangelical churchmen do not know Mormon theology. Mormons profess to be Christians.
However, if one looks at the political views that these Tennessee, evangelical churchmen hold, when it comes to the selection of a political candidate for the office of President of the United States of America, one sees that they are willing to support a Mormon (someone that they consider to be a non-Christian) candidate for the office. However, in the past, they have proclaimed that the U.S.A. is a Christian nation and that only Christians should be running it. I fail to understand this line of reasoning, or World View.
By the way, I earned a Masters in Theological Studies, for the Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School. E. Gordon Gee, a Mormon, and the Chancellor of the Vanderbilt University, who signed my degree, was a Christian, and a very excellent educator (the best, actually). One of my favorite professors, who earned her Ph.D. in Church History, from the University of Chicago, is a Mormon. I have worked with Mormons, studied with Mormons, worshiped with Mormons, for 20 years. Trust me. Mormons are Christians!
By the way, if any Klan-people read my discourses on the Klan, please note that there is no reason to massacre any more Mormons. Mormons are Christians!
Also, most Mormons, I want say “all Mormons” because that is too powerful a statement, feel the way I do about Klan-people as I do. And I feel the following way: Klan-people are people. Americans, just like the rest of us. I don’t hate Klan-people. To the contrary, I love Klan-people, the same as I love all people, globally. I have no reason to hate anyone. Klan people have families, that children and extended families and have a need to have their needs met, just like everybody else in the world.
Consider this, Jesus said, in Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor,
And hate your enemy.
But I say unto you,
Love your enemies,
that curse you,
do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them who despitefully use you,
that you may be children
of your Father in heaven:
for he makes the sun, his sun,
to rise on the evil
and on the good, alike,
and sends rain, his rain,
on the just
and on the unjust, alike.
For if you love only them who love you,
What reward do you have,
Do not even the tax-collectors the same?
And if you greet only your sisters and brothers,
What do you do that is more that others?
Do not even the tax-collectors do this?
I tell you today,
Be ye therefore Perfect,
Even as I,
or your Father
who is in heaven
Allow me to clarify something here, “I am, by no means Perfect, especially, when I am looked at, and Judged, in the manner that the World define Perfect. Jesus was looking at Perfect in a theological way that goes “far” beyond the scope of this discourse.
This ends the second lecture on the KKK.