June 23, 2005
-- by John Emerson
Edgar Ray Killen, recently convicted for arranging the 1964 murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, is an ordained Baptist minister, and another Baptist preacher testified for him at the trial. (Killen actually conducted the funeral of the parents of the judge who will sentence him.) One juror refused to vote for conviction because she could not vote to convict a man of God.
And yes, Killen was a big supporter of Judge Moore, the Ten Commandments guy down there. He had his Ten Commandments yard sign up.
People are always telling us liberal unbelievers that we have to respect the beliefs of others. Well, I don't respect Killen's beliefs, or the beliefs of the people whom he preached to, or the beliefs of those who sympathized with him. (This local forum shows some open support for Killen, a lot of sympathy, and a fair amount of veiled racist talk about Michael Jackson, welfare mothers, etc.) For forty years Killen walked free, a respected member of the community, even though everyone knew what he had done.
The South has made enormous progress, and these prosecutions are a good thing. But most of the killers in this case got off scot free. The prosecutor still had to bargain murder down to manslaughter in order to convict Killen, and they had trouble getting anyone to testify against him. One report which I can't link said that local blacks are being very cautious about commenting on the case. What does all that tell you?
On the internet I'm always being told that the only racists are the Democrats (e.g., Jesse Jackson and Senator Byrd of West Virginia). And Lord knows that the God-fearing people of the South are not a bit shy about saying what they think of Godless heathens like me.
What bullshit! The Christian Right needs to look at the log in its own eye. There are a lot of evil Christians out there, and someone needs to remind them that Christians will be judged too.
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There are a lot of evil Christians out there(...)
you write a lot of good articles, Dave. This one taps my sentiments to a -T-.
I left a (rather tame) Southern Baptist church in '87 because of what appeared to me at the time to be simmering hatred in the "not just like us" tradition. Since then, it's only gotten worse and spread.
Sen Leahy put it well in speach on the floor several weeks ago (from memory):
We should be spending more time assuring we are on God's side, than defiantly proclaiming he's on ours.
Posted by: JDM at June 23, 2005 10:03 AM
"People are always telling us liberal unbelievers that we have to respect the beliefs of others. Well, I don't respect Killen's beliefs, or the beliefs of the people whom he preached to, or the beliefs of those who sympathized with him."
The Christian Right uses the liberal idea of "respect for other's beliefs" to justify their own belief in repressing other's beliefs. This is a smoke screen many liberals seem to have trouble with, and it needs direct repudiation.
Respect for other people's beliefs is half the equation. The other half is this: You get to keep and practice your own religious beliefs, as long as it does not impinge upon anyone else's ability to keep and practice their beliefs. Without the second half, the entire thing falls apart.
In this context, your statement above is perfect. Killen's beliefs destroy others. He dehumanizes and domineers and literally kills for his intolerance. His beliefs utterly repudiates any claim the Right might have to asking people to respect their own beliefs. If the Right need not respect other's beliefs, then they cannot demand it from others without being hypocrites.
Posted by: Bribes at June 23, 2005 2:18 PM
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