Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“Separation of Church and State” or How the KKK Got its Way

With Obama’s attacks on freedom of religion and Rick Santorum’s statements creating a stir, the topic of Separation of Church and State is once again taking a prominent place in our political debate.

But there’s something the Separation of Church and State crowd – who really want to put the church under the heel of the state – do not want you to know. The famous Everson ruling which enshrined “a wall of Separation of Church and State” has the fingerprints of the KKK and other anti-Catholic bigots all over it.

If you want to hear a good rant on the subject, listen to Mark Levin (who happens to be Jewish) from last night.

The author of Everson was the famous Justice Hugo Black, a (past?) Klansman who not only was a virulent anti-Catholic bigot but who helped a Klansman accused of murdering a priest get off scot-free. But there’s more:

Hugo Black: A former Democrat Senator from Alabama and liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice appointed by FDR, Hugo Black had a lengthy history of hate group activism. Black was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's and gained his legal fame defending Klansmen under prosecution for racial murders. In one prominent case, Black provided legal representation to Klansman Edwin Stephenson for the hate-induced murder of a Catholic priest in Birmingham. A jury composed of several Klan members acquited Stephenson of the murder, reportedly after Black expressed Klan gestures to the jury during the trial. In 1926 Black sought and won election as a Democrat to the United States Senate after campaigning heavily to Klan membership. He is said to have told one Klan audience "I desire to impress upon you as representatives of the real Anglo-Saxon sentiment that must and will control the destinies of the stars and stripes, that I want your counsel." In the Senate Black became a stauch supporter of the liberal New Deal initiatives of FDR and a solid opponent of civil rights legislation, including a filibuster of an anti-lynching measure. Black led the push for several New Deal programs and was a key participant in FDR's court packing scandal. Roosevelt appointed Black, a loyal ally, to the U.S. Supreme Court. During the Senate confirmation of Black's nomination, the issue of his strong Klan affiliations caused a public controversy over his appointment. Following the confirmation Roosevelt claimed ignorance of Black's Klan past, though this claim was dubious at best. Black's first Senate election, which occurred with Klan support, had been covered nationally a decade earlier in 1926. Black's Klan affiliations were a well known part of his political background and recieved heavy coverage in the newspapers at the time of his appointment. On the court, Black became a liberal stalwart. He also continued his career of supporting racism by authoring the opinion in favor of FDR's Japanese internment program in the infamous Korematsu ruling.

So it’s not for nothing that I join those who say that in so-called Separation of Church and State, the KKK got its way.

If you wish a longer, slightly less heated history of “Separation of Church and State,” here is a good place to start.

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