Sunday, July 17, 2011

The FAMILY LEADER Drops 'Slavery was Good for Blacks' From Presidential Pledge, But it Changes Nothing

Historian Joseph Crespino has written extensively on Racism and the Religious Right, especially their aversion to the Civil Rights movement.

Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the Moral Majority/Religious Right, made it abundantly clear that the movement was not in response to the Roe vs Wade decision, that legalized abortion, but the IRS decision to drop the tax exempt status from Bob Jones university, because of their segregation policies.

Weyrich and several of his cohorts got together and determined that it was time to take their country back. Right back to the 1950's, or more specifically 1954. (Backlash, Susan Faludi, 1992)

Why 1954?

Because on December 1, 1955, the wonderful Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person. This launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which launched the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

Weyrich wanted a clean slate, erasing the years 1955-1968, and the Bob Jones decision gave him the opportunity. By using a reverse discrimination argument, they didn't sound quite so racist to those who might be afraid to show support for the "whites only" college. (Sarah Palin uses the same argument in her book)

In 1978, Robert Grant, Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan, Howard Phillips, and Richard Viguerie found Christian Voice, to recruit, train, and organize Evangelical Christians to participate in elections.

By 1980, the Republicans were pledging to "halt the unconstitutional regulatory vendetta" against the segregation academies, and on April 29, high-profile Christians marched on Washington DC, in an effort to support Ronald Reagan's presidential run.

Citing "Southern alienation" they touted Reagan as the man who would right this wrong, and he did not disappoint.

Addressing students at Bob Jones University, he recycled the theme of 'reverse discrimination', arguing that the IRS policy was tantamount to 'racial quotas' and that: "You do not alter the evil character of racial quotas simply by changing the colour of the beneficiary". The blacks, he affirmed, had the run of the place, and he would do something about it. (In 1982, he restored the school's tax exempt status, but the Supreme Court slapped it down).

At the Neshoba fair in Mississippi (photo above) Reagan championed "states' rights (to deal with their own racist policies) and lauded segregationist Strom Thurmond, a failed 1948 presidential candidate.

Said Reagan: "If we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today". (Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, Chapter Five by Joseph Crespino)

As I've mentioned before, Reagan lost the black vote, but it didn't matter. 90% of African Americans voted Democrat, but only 30% voted at all.

So this week, when it was learned that yet another branch of the Christian Right is working with Republican candidates, exacting pledges to uphold their beliefs, it should not have been a shock that the group, FAMILY LEADER, suggested that slavery was the best time for black families.
... a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
Forget that at any time, mother, father or child could be sold, traded or lost in a poker game.

They never had it so good.

After much public outcry, the group has dropped the slavery comment, but hopefully, the fact that it was there in the first place, will help to open people's eyes to the agenda of the Christian Right/Tea Party/Neoconservative movement.

It was founded on and is grounded in racism, which is now going mainstream.

Not unlike the Conservative Party of Canada and Harper's National Citizens Coalition.

And just as Weyrich's Heritage Foundation became a vanguard of the radical right, Canada's Northern Foundation, helped to draw in groups dedicated to creating a white Christian Canada, complete with rampant homophobia and misogyny.
"... the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper." (Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada, Trevor Harrison, 1995, p. 121))
Many of the members are now with the Civitas Society, the policy arm of the Harper government.

If we had a legitimate media in Canada, they would be writing this narrative for the movement that will reshape our country and change who we are as Canadians.

But we don't.

Instead they insist on calling Harper's party "Tories" invoking an historic tradition.

Ironically, whenever I remind people that Harper's Reformers have nothing to do with the conservatism of Sir John or John Diefenbaker, I receive a lot of email from Harper supporters. Not to challenge my statement but to suggest that if he did have a link to the old Tory party, they would not be propping him up.

Oh, and the redneck that Reagan invoked as the saviour of American values, Strom Thurmond? Six months after his death, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, a black American woman, revealed that she was Strom Thurmond's daughter, born to Carrie "Tunch" Butler, a maid who had worked for Thurmond's parents.

Hypocrisy, thy name is the Christian Right.


  1. Mitt Romney was recently confronted over the Mormons' racist path. Until the late 70s it was their church doctrine that a black person's skin colour was the mark of the devil and that prohibited a black from holding any office in the church. Romney said it was all a mistake and the church saw the error of its ways in the late 70s and rescinded all that. Of course that was also the point at which their church would have lost its tax exempt status for such an outrageous human rights breach.

  2. I didn't know about the Northern Foundation. A truly frightening, high stakes game is at play here. Harper targeted Ontario in his quest to make his values Canadian values and I think he is succeeding to a dangerous extent. There is no way Toronto would have elected a Rob Ford or even considered Hudak a credible leader 10 short years ago. And I have never, ever referred to this Reform/Crap/Alliance as Tories.