Sunday, February 1, 2015

Evangelicals and White Supremacy | GOPLifer

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat said today that "rejection of respectability politics — that is, the idea that the fate of black Americans rests mostly in their own hands — seems to point naturally toward a kind of redistributionism. (Ta-Nehisi Coates’s recent Atlantic essay “The Case For Reparations” made this argument explicitly.)"  Chris Ladd points to another cultural issue - that southern whites have continued in many ways the racism that is their heritage.  

Is improvement in the condition of Black people something that rests "mainly" in their hands?  Is there any duty on the white majority to make redress?  Are current attitudes among whites part of the problem of Black poverty, etc. ? - gwc

Evangelicals and White Supremacy | GOPLifer

by Chris Ladd

Don’t force me by law, by statute, by Supreme Court decision…to cross over in those intimate things where I don’t want to go. Let me build my life. Let me have my church. Let me have my school. Let me have my friends. Let me have my home. Let me have my family. And what you give to me, give to every man in America and keep it like our glorious forefathers made – a land of the free and the home of the brave. - Rev. W.A.Criswell, Pastor, first Baptist Church, Dallas, TX - 1956

 "Long after the battle over whites’ only bathrooms had been lost, Houston’s evangelical community can continue the war over the “bathroom bill” using a rhetorical structure Criswell and others built. That same machinery is operating in other areas with explicit religious support.

That legacy continues to haunt the South. Criswell’s rhetorical framework, repeated over and over again by religious and political figures as the fight over segregation played out, retains a powerful pull. Separated now from its explicit racist origins it continues to provide leverage in the lingering fight to preserve what remains of white supremacy.

In August of 1980, Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan visited Criswell’s church for a campaign rally. Reagan could not have anticipated what his opening to the newly rebranded Southern segregationists would mean for the country and the Republican Party. There were many Republican figures of different persuasions beginning to emerge in Texas. Reagan chose to honor Criswell. His short-sighted choice, like others made by national Republican figures, would influence the balance of power in a South struggling to determine what would come after segregation.

Texas’ new Republican Lt. Governor is a Southern Baptist talk radio host named Dan Patrick. He is also the state’s most enthusiastic proponent of privatized public schools. Patrick describes this idea as a move toward innovation, a means of liberating the education system to embrace new methods and technologies. Patrick’s innovation is actually very old, first introduced by a fellow Southern Baptist in 1953.

Patrick’s tuition voucher ideas were passed into law in 1954 under pressure from Georgia’s segregationist Governor Herman Talmadge. The purpose of the plan was to ensure that segregation could survive even if the Federal Government intervened. Georgia passed a constitutional amendment that gave the legislature the right to privatize the public school system entirely, replacing it with private, per-student vouchers to attend any institution they chose. The law remained on the books in Georgia until the new Constitution was ratified in 1982."

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