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They Burned My FlagPosted Thursday, March 3, 2011, at 12:42 AM
I had the occasion to return to Southeast Missouri where I am originally from several weeks ago and visit with my family and my new granddaughter. I was greeted by the giant American flag flying at the sports complex as I drove into town. I was proud to see the reminder of what America stands for soaring as it flew atop the hundred foot flag pole. The flag itself is about fifty feet by twenty-five feet in size.
While I was visiting at my daughters house a neighbor who stopped by to visit told us that some men were standing on the corner of the street uptown passing out bulletins asking people to join them for the burning of the American flag that was to take place that night. There was nothing wrong with the flag that I could see as I drove into town. A Little later I drove uptown to find out what was going on.
When I arrived at the site of the gathering I say eight men standing on the sidewalk and walking out into the street at the stop sign handing out literature about the planned event. I saw something that I hadn't seen in twenty five years.
There they were, the modern day representatives of Nathan Bedford Forrest recruiting members for the local klavern resurrecting the American Third Reich of the Knights of the Invisible Empire better know and the Ku Klux Klan.
The Klansmen were the center of attention of the local newspaper, the big city television stations and elated that their message would be broadcast to the world generating renewed interest in the group. Of course local representative of our national intelligence organizations were also in attendance observing the Klan exercising the First Amendment right of freedom of speech. The local bystanders were mixed in their interest and reactions to the Klansmen. Some in agreement, some angry enough and threatening to resort to violence to stop what they perceive as the epitome of Anti-American values.
I thought that I had seen the last of the Klan rallies in 1986 when a preacher of the local Pentecost church in Foley Alabama led the push to stop the Klan from burning three crosses each year in the city park at Christmas. Rev. Paul Wiley did literally risk his life as he spoke at the "Christmas Festival" planning group telling them that the three crosses that they were planning to burn in the park were icons of the Christian religion that represented Grace, Sacrifice and Forgiveness and "Will Not be turned into a public statement of shame as long as he was alive." His words "as long as he was alive" was the relevant statement that the Klan was in agreement with.
There are many problems with organizations like the Ku Klux Klan some of them I feel necessary to mention. One, there is no one KKK. The Klan has fragmented into more than 40 separate factions of varying sizes across the nation. Without a unified leadership some factions commit acts that should bring condemnation but when claimed it was necessary in fulfilling Klan constitutions, bylaws or Imperial commands the other factions unite in their defense of the actions committed in it's name. In order to become a Klansman a person is required to take an oath swearing absolute allegiance to the Klan and it's leadership. It binds men to obey unconditionally laws they know nothing about and laws that might be enacted in the future. The Klan member places allegiance to the Ku Klux Klan ahead of allegiance to the government of the United States. The Klan acknowledges mob rule and the use of methods carrying out it's view contrary to the laws of the land. Also, the five tenets of the oath of the Ku Klux Klan sound like many of the oaths and pledges of a lot of fraternal organizations except the local college fraternity usually doesn't participate in burning, bombing, hangings and other varied forms of murder preceding of after the local homecoming
I've seen it and it is a frightening thought that the largest terrorist-hate group in America is rising again to create change in America thorough extra ordinary means. Of all the enemies of this country I can say without hesitation that the Ku Klux Klan is a perfect example mentioned in the oath of office of the President of the United States to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies Foreign and Domestic.
Not only does the Ku Klux Klan spew hatred of African Americans, Catholics and Jews one of their original espoused hatred of immigrants defiling their concept of 'One Hundred Percent American" is now being embraced by people who in the past largely ignored them.
I think the most troublesome thing that really bothered me was the small child dressed up like his daddy. Yet another generation to carry on the old family tradition.
I'm John Q.
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Larry Maxwell is a retired businessman who often writes about topics related to faith and religion.