The Klan and the Spirit

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

... unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder ...


     The Klan is gone for good--at least according to Robert Shelton, former Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, Incorporated.   The Ku Klux Klan was created soon after the Civil War by six former Confederate soldiers.  The purpose was to put the fear of God into "presumptuous black folk" who might otherwise believe they were on a par with white folk.  Klan membership and activity spread from 1865 through 1870, and began to dwindle after Congress passed anti-Klan legislation in 1871. But the 1915 movie classic, Birth of a Nation, restored an interest in the Klan which lasted through the Great Depression of the 30s.   Since then countless other White supremacy groups have sprung up, some splintering from the Klan, others established independently as more extreme expressions of the same view.

     In 1944, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien against the Klan for back taxes of over $685,000 on profits earned during the 1920s, and Klan membership began to dwindle.  But the Klan did not die.  It simply became even more of an Invisible Empire.  In Georgia and Mississippi there were lynchings, cross lightings, and beatings to keep the "niggahs" in line.  In West Virginia, Robert Byrd, not yet a U.S. Senator, urged revival of the Klan.  In California, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, strong Klan affiliations grew, and the ranks of the Invisible Empire often swelled by local law enforcement.  On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued a decision against school segregation, which resulted in even more Klan growth.  The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and many of us may have thought that the federal government was our salvation.  Not!

     Since the Civil Rights Act, public schools have been desegregated although not integrated socio-economically; Division I colleges and universities have benefitted from the dominance of Black athletes while historically Black colleges and universities have declined in attendance and proportional funding; Black entertainers have dominated on stage and screen, in dance halls, and comedy clubs, and Blacks lead the nation in single parent families, many of which survive just above or at the poverty level.

     Over 2000 years ago, Jesus was born to a virgin that he might free us from a law we could not keep.  The freedom He effected was not by doing away with the law, but by paying the penalty demanded by the law.  But the Jews of the day were expecting a Messiah who would free them from Roman dominance.  They were not expecting to be empowered from within.  They were expecting one who would dethrone the Roman government and restore the throne of David to a secular rule.Consequently, many of them missed true freedom from dominance.  Isaiah had foretold it over 700 years earlier but the Jews of The New Testament could not see it.  Just as we often don't see it today. 
     Just how would the government be upon the shoulder of a little child?  The government rests on His shoulder as we allow Him to rule within us.   The world, the nation, the neighborhood, are all changed as we allow ourselves to be changed.
Freedom may be legislated, but the law will never change hearts.

     According to Robert Shelton, the Klan will never return.   But he goes on, "Not with the robes and rallies and the cross lightings and parades, everything that made the Klan the Klan, the mysticism, what we called the klancraft." There is
nothing in Shelton's statement to imply that the attitudes of would-be Klansmen have changed.  Only the organization has died--the spirit lives on.   And many other White supremacy groups remain and thrive and continue the spirit of fear and hatred.
But Jesus Christ also lives.  And His power is ours for strength and growth and all we need for self-empowerment.  But we must recognize how it works.  The power of Christ is not to change the world as we remain the same.  The power of Christ
is to change us that we might do His will on earth and change the world.
 

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