Friday, August 04, 2006

Another Plan for the Klan

According to a front-page story in today’s Amarillo Globe-News, a group called Go Away KKK! is planning to be downtown tomorrow “to counter the Ku Klux Klan’s rally by drowning out its speakers with noise.” A KKK group from San Angelo, Texas has been issued a permit to demonstrate on the steps of Amarillo’s City Hall from 3-5 p.m. this Saturday.

Milissa Milam, a spokesperson for Go Away KKK! noted the Klan’s reputation for all kinds of violence and racism, and is calling for residents of Amarillo to show up at the Klan rally with “pots, pans, drums, guitars, whistles, air horns, radios—anything that makes noise.”

A Go Away KKK! poster that accompanies the story in the paper claims that at a recent KKK rally in Austin, TX “protesters got the Klan to leave in just 20 minutes by overwhelming them with noise!”

Today’s editorial in the Globe-News frequently quotes Martin Luther King Jr. and continues the paper’s endorsement of the “Community Unity Day Celebration,” planned by the local NAACP and scheduled for 3-5 p.m. at the MLK Park in Amarillo, far from City Hall.

As I mentioned in a post two weeks ago, other local voices have suggested that people here should completely ignore the Klan’s rally and go on as usual. At least one local pastor has planned a church prayer service to coincide with the rally.

By the way, I have no idea of the source of the photo in this post. But as I was looking through images on the Web, this one fascinated me. I can't get it to post any larger (without serious blurring); the white in the background is a Klansman. The face of a child, the competing principles, life lessons learned early . . . This one’s worth well more than a thousand words.

So, if you lived in Amarillo, Texas, where would you be tomorrow afternoon? Why? I’ll keep you posted.


Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

How has the leadership of your congregation responded to this Frank?

Bobby Valentine

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...


Why? I get in enough trouble as it is without going out looking for it.

Although the prayer time with the pastor's group sounds like a good place to be and the thing to be doing if one MUST get out. Depending on what the group is praying about and for, of course.

You know me, Frank, always questioning and a bit skeptical and leery even in the best of circumstances. ha!

Frank Bellizzi said...


For various reasons (not including "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together") I haven't been around my home congregation in about 2 weeks.

My guess is that nothing has been said there. As you well know, although the Churches of Christ have tended to be a lot more political than we used to be, we still don't know much about how to get in a public fight over any sort of social or political issue.

Too, I think some of it is the church culture of exclusivism; it tends to mean that you have a problem with everyone else's idea. And your own idea is . . . to have a problem with everyone else's idea.


I'm confident you agree with me when I say that there are SOME things worth getting yourself into to trouble over. But it's frequently hard to tell (Bonhoeffer's fretting over what the will of God was, etc.).

I find that I am more and more likely to be involved in some sort of protest or demonstration than I used to be. I was so disappointed by the Church of Christ leadership in Connecticut when the the state legislature was falling all over itself trying to pass a new, but unnecessary, law regarding same-sex unions. It passed with hardly a word from our pulpits, and absolutely nothing along the lines of participating with Catholic and Protestant clergy in the state.

It seems to me that, to the degree that this is, indeed, a post-Christian era, Christians must learn to do things a little differently (I mean, besides learning how to cuss like the rest of the world).

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I wonder if addressing an issue like this is really going "political?" Racism is a sin pure and simple.

You are right that at times we need to have the courage to speak up. Amos should be read a little more in our churches perhaps.

I say this beloved knowing a price can be paid. Without holding myself up as an example in the slightest, I was fired from a congregation for addressing this very issue. It was in Mississippi and not Texas.

Bobby Valentine

Frank Bellizzi said...

Bobby, you're absolutely right about "political" vs. " downright sinful."

I think the question is one about how to act at the intersection of faith and public life. Having said that, I'm sure that some of my own "cluelessness" has served the goal of doing nothing.

Our people would, for the most part, regard racism as sin. I also think that because some of this sin is so deep in our bones, or because we don't want to deal with our own folks for whom that's true, it's easier to say and do nothing. Why risk alienating yourself over truth we really don't care that much about? (Is my interpretation too harsh?)

Something I learned in Connecticut is that one of the first consequences of standing is that you'll be misunderstood, misquoted, protrayed in a bad light, second-guessed in truly unfair ways. (Not that I got within light years of martyrdom. Rats!) To remain standing, I think you have to trust yourself in a healthy way and show courage.

One thing's certain; you learn some things about yourself, not all of them necessarily good.

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Frank -

Certainly, absolutely there are things worth getting yourself in trouble over. (And I'm talking about as a Christian here.) And believe me, I've been there on way more than one occasion over the years.

But I'm not sure what you and Bobby think (to include you, Bobby, based on the questions and issues rasied and on all both you and Frank have said here this afternoon) a Christian (or you two, individually) should do if we were there in Amarillo, Texas tomorrow afternoon.

I've commented before (I think, probably both here and at your blog, Bobby) about now being back in Picayune, Mississippi and about how things are here in Picayune, in the rest of the state of Mississippi, as I know them currently, and in the Lord's church here.

I've said that as far as I know of the Lord's church here from its inception sometime in the mid 60s, it has been integrated and for a good many years, the ONLY ONE integrated anywhere around here for miles and miles and miles.

And we're talking about (1) a place that is within 30 miles or so of the headquarters of the KKK (as I've last heard), (2) a place within 30 miles of where the last lynching in the U. S. took place in 1959, and (3) a place in which the 4 elders of the Lord's church include a relatively young black man. I find those three things in and of themselves to be powerful statements about what Christians in this community have been doing and are doing to stand up for what is right and good and which constitute very powerful "public" and "political" (or apolitical, if you will) statements to the community around them and the world at large.

I am not in the same age group as you guys, nor am I in your positions in life or in your work. I don't know what either of you think should be done (or that you, or other Christians, should do) in Amarillo, Texas tomorrow afternoon while the KKK marches, the anti-KKK group does whatever it's going to do or while the one church group (at least) holds a prayer service.

I can only speak for myself here where I am right now today. I responded to your questions, Frank, as to what I would do, probably, if there in Amarillo, but I can't speak for you guys.

There have been times in my life as a much younger person and Christian when I might have responded differently than I did here today. But, I'm not so sure. To be perfectly honest, when I first moved here to Picayune in 1973, I was horrified at the state of things in not only political matters, but also school matters and, in some ways, church matters. I felt like (and deeply wanted to, in many ways) protesting very loudly and publicly about all of those things as a person and as a Christian.

But instead, I went about doing what I could in my own personal way on a day to day basis as I had opportunity (and believe me, I MADE a lot of opportunities in which to act). Later on I had the opportunity (which I took at very low pay) to become the local newspaper's Community Editor.

I used that position to the best of my God given abilities and talents to write positive news stories that were on the front page of the paper about good things people in the community were doing, many of them Christians, and to seek out and instigate much needed change in the community by the work I did for the newspaper.

My proudest accomplishment came when the Picayune Item was awarded a statewide award by the Mississippi Press Association against every size newspaper in the State of Mississippi for Community Service for a series of front page stories I did in as positive way as I could (which was noted by the MPA), without casting blame anywhere on anyone on the school board or in the community (about the use of alcohol at long standing out-of-town segregated Senior high school proms that led that May to a girl being killed in a tragic car accident on the way back to Picayune from the Mississippi gulf coast).

My son was a graduating high school senior that year, so I had a vested interest. Because of my work, people in the community rose up in a positive, much-needed way in large numbers to go before the school board (whose members all deeply wanted those changes, as well, and who cooperated with me in sharing their part of the story) to effect change in the community.

After that May, all senior proms in Picayune, Mississippi were integrated and held in town, with parents involved in pre and post prom activities not involving alchohol.

I tell this story only to say that we each have to do what we believe is right and best for us as God's children, after much prayer.

I don't know where you were fired, Bobby, or when, but shame on those involved. As for what happened in Connecticut, Frank, that you're speaking of - you know I commended what what you said here in your blog about those things to all of the readers of Mike Cope's blog.

So - fellas - have I redeemed myself a bit here, now, I hope?