Faith Leaders Denounce KKK Recruitment on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 23, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT

Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

Greg Williams, gwilliams@faithinpubliclife.org, (443) 854-1405

 

Faith Leaders Denounce KKK Recruitment on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

Asheville, NC -- Over the weekend, including Martin Luther King Jr Day on Monday, the Ku Klux Klan distributed recruitment flyers in several southeastern cities, including Asheville, NC; Gainesville, FL; and Jacksonville, FL. Several of the flyers explicitly attacked Rev. Dr. King. These acts fit with a the nationwide trend of expanding hate-group activity.

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life:

“When groups like the KKK feel emboldened to openly grow their network of white supremacy and violence in multiple states on Martin Luther King Day, we have a national crisis that demands a moral response. We must root out racism wherever it rears its head. People targeted by groups like the Klan must be supported by faith leaders, and I commend local pastors who are doing this critical work.”

Minister Rick Johnson, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL:

"It saddens me to know that on a day where our nation has decided to celebrate the achievements of a man who stood for equality for all men and utilized non-violent protests to accomplish this goal could be sullied by the spread of hate speech and racist rhetoric. As a Christian, I am told to forgive those who would trespass against us. As a Minister in my community, this is an idea I embrace and live by on a daily basis. Although I never really was able to experience first hand the struggle and enlightenment that MLK delivered to the world, I was only two years old when he died. I live daily and grew up underneath the embodiment of the ideas that he was arrested and suffered at the hands of those who didn’t agree or understand what his vision truly was. A vision guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America, but denied to a certain group because of heritage or skin color. It’s hard to believe that even now with all we know about each other through science and religion it’s still hard for some to realize that: all men are created equal.”

Rev. Erin Dickey, Senior Pastor, Riverside Avenue Christian Church, Jacksonville, FL:

"As a Pastor serving a church and a resident of the impacted Jacksonville neighborhood, I am deeply disturbed by the KKK fliers that were distributed during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in our community. I see children of different races playing together on our church's playground. Dreams of children playing peacefully together cannot end with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These children deserve to grow up in a community where they are valued, where they are safe, where they are taught to love their neighbor, and where they are loved by their neighbor. As people of faith and as a community, we can do so much better than this - we MUST do so much better than this."

Rabbi Batsheva H. Meiri, Congregation Beth HaTephila, Asheville, NC:

“I am not shocked but rather dismayed at this latest assault on Asheville’s good sensibilities. As faith leaders it is critical to reiterate our intolerance of hate, intolerance and racism. But at the same time, there is a far larger story about love, healing and connection that is alive and well in Asheville, too. I hope those stories can get told as well.”

Rev. Judith Whelchel, Rector, St. James Episcopal Church, Asheville, NC:

“That every human being is made in the image of God is essential to Christian identity. White supremacy is destructive to our common humanity, intolerable to the Christian ethic and breaks the heart of God.”

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