Once upon a time, in a land apparently not so different than the one we live in today, African American’s achieved (as did the rest of the country) their God given right to snub Jim Crow law and attend any school they chose. Racial integration had been achieved, and all was well in the land.
Or so we thought.
A little lesser known case than it’s predecessor Brown V Board of Education made it’s way up to the United States Supreme Court called Bob Jones Sr. vs The United States. A preacher (or a group of them, rather) angry that they couldn’t use their tax exempt status to open white only schools sued the government.
They lost in an 8-1 decision handed down by the court.
Everything still seemed right in the land. The last vestiges of the wicked minded had finally been eradicated, nothing to see here. African Americans were brought inside the castle for years of bountiful and joyous celebrations, everyone started getting along, and the Prince married the Princess.
Except that never happened. Not even close and that is more apparent today, than in any other time in my life.
Well, it’s a simple yet sad thing we as a nation did to our Black brothers and sisters.
The lone dissenter in Bob Jones Sr. vs The United States – William H. Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States where he served as Chief Justice until his death in 2005.
Essentially, We opened the draw bridge to the castle, yes. They were enticed to come in, yes. Yet, without them knowing everyone bailed out, locked the doors and shuttered the windows of the castle…..and then set it on fire.
You can read about the account here in Politico’s article, The Real Origins of the Religious Right.
TL;DR = Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, and Bob Jones Sr. were really really mad their little Bobby’s and Little Susie’s would have to go to school with little Tyrone. Lied to people about their stance on abortion, convinced Catholics that they didn’t think the Pope was the Anti-Christ, and their church was the Great Whore of Babylon, defeated their own Christian brother Jimmy Carter for a B Hollywood Movie Actor (and former Union Boss) Ronald Reagan. Ta-Da – Civil Rights curtailed.
Donald Trump pandered to the religious right, supporters of Mike Pence who nauseatingly prayed over the Presidential Candidate who, despite holding up a rainbow flag and was quoted as saying, ” I love the gays,” believed him to be what it took to Make America Great again.
Nothing to see here.
Except for The White House just announcing that Jerry Falwell will be heading up the ‘Education Reform’ task force to not only address public schools but higher levels of learning. Jerry Falwell Jr, the son of the late, great (although greatness doesn’t denote goodness) Jerry Falwell Sr. is the Chancellor of Liberty University.
“So what,” you say. We knew Public Education was about to get blown out of the water with Betsy Devos. “After how many years of Every Child Left Behind? The average tenure of a school teacher in America is roughly two years. Their salaries are meager, the work load is enormous, I mean – come on the Tea Party has been putting nutjobs on school boards since Obama got elected. Of course we know what’s going on. They’re trying to eradicate public education or at least make it so public school kids leave those schools sounding like the idiots that graduate from non accredited private Christian schools. Why campaign and convince a generation of people to vote for you when you can grow your own?”
Hold on grasshopper, this story gets better.
A couple of years ago, Scott Lively, a radical Christian fundamentalist went to Uganda and not only spread his gospel, he decided to spread his murderous hatred for gay people. Convincing the Ugandan government that enacting anti-gay laws that killed gay people or worse, threw them into 3rd world prisons for the crime of BEING gay, was God’s Will – he was brought up on charges of Crimes Against Humanity by a Ugandan who wanted his pasty white and cowardly ass sent to the Hague to stand trial.
Seems pretty logical, right?
Try and incite a genocide – have to go stand before a court that sort of frowns on these things.
Except, Mr. Lively won his case. Yet he didn’t walk away from it unscathed. The Judge basically called him shit underneath his shoe, called him a bigot, Judge Pryor had this to say about Mr. Lively:
“Discovery confirmed the nature of Defendant’s, on the one hand, vicious and, on the other hand, ludicrously extreme animus against LGBTI people and his determination to assist in persecuting them wherever they are, including Uganda.
“The evidence of record demonstrates that Defendant aided and abetted efforts (1) to restrict freedom of expression by members of the LBGTI community in Uganda, (2) to suppress their civil rights, and (3) to make the very existence of LGBTI people in Uganda a crime.
“The record also confirms that these efforts to intimidate and injure the LGBTI community in Uganda were, unfortunately, to some extent successful.
“This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause. The record in this case demonstrates that Defendant has worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by LGBTI people in Uganda, deprive them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.
“He has, for example, proposed twenty-year prison sentences for gay couples in Uganda who simply lead open, law-abiding lives.”
Scott Lively, unhappy with the Judge for calling him names is appealing the case. You can read about it, here.
Now what, do you ask, has this to do with Mr. Jerry Falwell Jr? I am so glad you asked.
The Liberty Counsel is the Law firm that represents Liberty University and their very own King James – Mr. Jerry Falwell Jr. They were the same legal counsel for Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis who infamously refused to give a gay couple a marriage license.
Now, what does this have to do with everyone else? Especially gay people?
One of the last things Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said to his followers before he was assassinated was, “You know, we’ve struggled long and hard for the victories we have attained. Yet there is something that troubles me deeply. For all the Civil Rights and all the things we’ve done….I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house…we have no choice but to become firemen.”
Just like our African American brothers and sisters, we’re facing a real and motivated threat. There are those who are angry at us just for simply having the right to live as human beings live. They’re angry that we have the same rights they have. Yet among those who are angry, there are some who have allowed their anger to fester into cancerous hate. We’ve called them Republican, We’ve called them Tea Partiers, but the truth of the matter is we had better call them what they are. Fascists. And not just any kind of fascists, Theocrats.
These people aren’t interested in a democracy, or a democratic republic – they’re interested in created The Kingdom of God on Earth. Taliban who? Isis wha..?
Liberty as a word written down, or something vocalized, is not Liberty actualized. He can call his university Liberty University, they can call their law firm Liberty Counsel. Yet Freedom and liberty are as far from their minds as their belief in Global Climate Change, Civil Rights for minorities, Gay marriage, and believing Muslims should be allowed into the country. As a matter of fact they are, as are people like Franklin Graham, extremely vocal in demonizing the latter. Just remember those that push this nonsense don’t want to relieve the world of religious oppression; they want to oppress you with theirs.
Liberty, real liberty, is being threatened. As Sinclair Lewis famously put it, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” We, like our African American brothers and sisters, may have been run into our own burning building with the SCOTUS decision. Watch this space, this story could have a very sad ending for us all.