A self-proclaimed Ku Klux Klansman joined forces with an unlikely ally during a rally against government intrusion outside the Barrow County courthouse Friday.
The courthouse is the focus of a fight over the display of the Ten Commandments. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on the grounds the display violates the separation of church and state.
The KKK sect, in a juxtaposition from its members who bombed Black churches during the Civil Rights Movement, stood side by side with members of the controversial and predominantly Black House of Prayer in Atlanta.
Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line tickets
The church’s pastor and several congregants were convicted of beating children after ignoring court orders to amend their disciplinary methods.
“There was a time when the corrupt Ku Klux Klan was bombing churches, let’s put it that way…there are some (Klan) groups out there that have lost direction. Basically our organization is here to stand up for Christianity and whatever that includes, that’s what we’re going to do,” said J.J. Harper, the rally’s organizer.
Harper, who claims to be the imperial wizard of the KKK in South Georgia, started the rally on the courthouse steps about 11:30 a.m.. The steps were eventually taken over by House of Prayer singers who chanted against the Fulton County justice system.
“They are not only trying to take the Ten Commandments out of a building but they are trying to remove it from our lives,” said a House of Prayer leader Vickie Hightower. The church’s pastor claimed Biblical backing for the beating of two boys in front of the congregation. (http://www.11alive.com/help/search/search_article.asp?storyid=22461&searchdata=arthur%20allen)
“People in the KKK are human as we are human. If we can come together on a human issue (the Ten Commandments Display) then I feel that we should put those differences aside to stand up for this issue,” said Hightower.
According to the Klansmen and House of Prayer members, the rally is about their right to express themselves and practice religion without government interference.
A Christian leader in Barrow County, the Rev. Jody Hice of Bethlehem Baptist Church, said he did not support the groups’ rally Friday. Hice said he thinks the Klan is merely trying to legitimize itself by using a popular issue and religion.