KKK Group Wanting to Adopt-a-Highway is Rejected

There’s an update to the story I posted earlier about a KKK group wanting to Adopt-a-Highway in Georgia…

They’ve been denied:

The Georgia Department of Transportation will not approve the application of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to “adopt” a one-mile stretch of highway in North Georgia, a state official said Tuesday.

The state official did not want to be named because the official was not authorized to speak on the record.

The KKK group says they’ll go to the ACLU, and it looks like they might have a case:

A similar request in Missouri set off a legal battle that stretched for years and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A Ku Klux Klan chapter there sought to adopt a portion of Interstate 55. A federal appeals court ruled the state could not bar the KKK from participating in the program, and the high court declined to review the case, letting that ruling stand.

No word yet on the official reason they were rejected, but GDOT better play it very carefully if they want to avoid a lawsuit…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Blacksheep

    Moral relativists should be OK with the klan adopting a highway, because who is to say that how they feel is wrong? And why should they be denied freedom of speech? If the ACLU defended NAMBLA, then they should have no problem helping out a bunch racist idiots.

    • http://twitter.com/aynsavoy Anne Sauer

      It’s not a matter of moral relativism. You can fully disagree with the goals of the KKK or NAMBLA and still accept that they have a right to adopt a highway and put up a sign.

      • The Other Weirdo

         I don’t know. The KKK is kinda of pathetic these days, but unless the NAMBLA you’re talking about is the “North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes” I’m not sure I want them adopting highways.

    • Miko

      No.  Speaking as a moral relativist, I wouldn’t say “who is to say that how they feel is wrong” because that would imply that an objective standard of ‘wrong’ existed (even if we didn’t know what it was).  What a moral relativist would actually say is that values of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are socially constructed with the (possibly implicit) goal of creating a functional society, and that defending civil liberties for all (including those who you personally feel are ‘wrong’ within your personally-constructed definition of ‘wrong’-ness) has proven in the past to be one very successful technique for maintaining a functional society.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      And 
      Moral absolutists  should also be OK with it since there’s a holly book out there that claims God condones racism.

    • Fsq

      Curley vs. NAMBLA was defended by the ACLU not because of what NAMBLA is, nor what it is saying. The ACLU has ONE, 1, Un, Uno, SINGULAR client – The Bill of Rights.

      So, when people start spewing this nonsense about the ACLU defending NAMBLA/Racists/Bigots?atheists/Smut Peddlers/Christians etc, I feel like slapping their ignoarant faces.

      Be damn thankful for the ACLU and the fact someone is out there to legally defend the freedoms we should not have to defend or fight for in the first place.

    • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

       The KKK is a Christian organization.  All they need to do is cry about their Religious Liberties being denied and GDOT will likely cave. 

  • Keith Penner

    It is always possible that GDOT denied the application expecting a lawsuit. This way they can let the KKK file, mount a nominal defense, and when they lose they can blame the courts for making them accept the KKK.

    That way no bureaucrat at GDOT has to be the responsible party.

    • Dwayne_Windham

       This – never underestimate the power of people trying to cover their arse, especially when the legal cost comes out of the state budget, not their own pocketbook.

  • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Edgar

    I don’t see why they shouldn’t adopt a highway. If they want to keep it clean, then I’m ok  with that. It looks like another case of the intolerance of the tolerants. I/we may not agree with their their opinions, maybe they’re wrong, but it’s not okay to forbid them to express themselves and take their rights away.

    • Fsq

      I think Georgia screwed the pooch on this one and the ACLU should fight this one.

      That said, we need to move away from this idea that we must tolerate intolerance so we are tolerant. It is nonsense. Tolerance of intolerance isn’t tolerance, it is irresponsible.

      This case does not directly deal with the hate and stupidity of the KKK. It has to do with free rights, equality and free speech.

      • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

        But there’s a difference between acts and thought.

        I don’t care if someone hates gays, Blacks, Hindus, women, trans people, Asians, Swedenborgians, men, lefties, Swedes, atheists, or me specifically.  Like whom you like, hate whom you hate.  

        It’s actions based on that hate that is the problem.  If you do not take race, religion (or lack thereof), national origin, gender orientation, or other factors into decisions related to hiring, education, housing, and other things, your lack of tolerance doesn’t matter.  

        If the KKK wants to get together and clean up the highway while they discuss how they hate people of color and gays, let them.  The highways get cleaned.  

    • kaydenpat

      Maybe they’re wrong?  You don’t know if the beliefs of the KKK are wrong?

  • http://southernhumanist.wordpress.com/ R. Lee Bays

    The state painted themselves in to a corner on this based on who broadly they wrote the rule…sadly I think the KKK will win this, but like I’ve said, who better to recoginize filth than those who are used to spewing it.   The state could always rename that stretch of highway after Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks!

  • Simon

    At least they’re not in parliament like the Golden Dawn thugs in Greece

  • Holmej

    I remember a few years ago when I was working for the Missouri DOT a KKK group wanted to adopt a highway.  MoDOT fought them for awhile, but couldn’t get away with denying them.  So, they named the section of highway they wanted as the “Rosa Parks” highway.

  • Offlogic

    I remember a stretch of highway leading into Eureka Springs, AR with one section of highway adopted by some KKK brance next to a stretch adopted by the Klingon Diplomatic Corps. It put it in perspective, I thought.
    If we could just get the klan to just burn trash in the front yards of litterers now….

    • The Other Weirdo

       The Klingon Diplomatic Corps, you say? Very odd. I thought their idea of politics was a well-aimed torpedo. Or twenty.

  • Ken

    We are talking about cleaning old soda cans and condoms and roadkill off the side of the highway, remember. Knock yourselves out.  Renaming that stretch after Al  Sharpton or Malcolm X would be a nice touch though.

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      The KKK applied to adopt a stretch of highway in Missouri back in 2007.  

      They were assigned a stretch of Interstate 55 knows as the Rosa Parks Highway.

      • kaydenpat

        Didn’t they simply melt away in that situation rather than clean the Rosa Parks Hwy? 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The KKK is a revolting, stinking mixture of stupidity and hate. That said, they should be allowed to adopt a highway. Freedom of speech and expression must be for everyone, or it will be for no one.  Liberty is not a perk of popularity.

    If the KKK is denied this because people don’t like them, then any atheist group could be denied this for the same reason.

    A country where those in power can pick and choose which people have rights and which do not is just what the KKK would like to establish.  Giving them their freedom actually defies and repudiates their ideology.

    • Parse

      “If the KKK is denied this because people don’t like them, then any atheist group could be denied this for the same reason.”
      This is what I was planning on saying in my comment; well, this and that great quote from A Man for All Seasons:

      William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law! Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that! Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  • Sindigo

    If I were driving down a stretch of highway that was adopted by the KKK and I *just happened* to be finished with my McDonald’s milkshake despite not having reached the bottom of it (they’re awfully big, aren’t they?) and
    someone was out cleaning aforementioned stretch of highway there is *absolutely no way* I would try and hit one of these asshats with the half-empty cup thereby ruining his nice white outfit. No way.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Like the movie “2-Headed Shark Attack”, I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it’s the freaking KKK so can’t we just send them to the sun and say it’s a new planet for them to colonize? I mean, how would they know? On the other hand, as a Jew, I don’t want governments getting into the habit of denying rights to groups they currently don’t like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rhoades/100000175617377 Scott Rhoades

    This is a real world test of our principles of free expression and how far we will go to defend them. If we wish to have a society where everyone is entitled to freedom of expression and equal treatment under the law then we need to support those being denied these rights, even when we strongly disagree with their message and beliefs. The KKK is a hateful group and everything about them disgusts me, but I completely support their right to express themselves and enjoy equal participation in the exercising of those rights we are all protected by in this country.

    It seems to be that the general basis of denying them these rights in this case is that they are deemed a hate group. The problem is, who gets to decide which groups are hate groups? The slope here does not have to be that slippery to imagine an atheist group being denied a chance to participate in the program on the same basis. In fact we see examples of this type of unequal treatment all the time in the United States. If freedom of expression is limited to those views that the majority of people support then that right would have had no need to be spelled out so clearly in the constitution. This right exists so that people with minority opinions can voice them just as loudly as the views voiced by the majority no matter how hateful the message is. When we try to limit the free expression of ideals in a group of people we detest we risk equipping government with the means of limiting our free expression as well.

    • kaydenpat

      I think a group that used to lynch Black people (and get away with it) and currently broadcasts hatred of Blacks, Latinos, gays, Jews, etc., is clearly a hate group.

      While the KKK should have been allowed to adopt a highway, there is no confusion that it is a hate group.

  • Borax

    I live in Asheville NC and about 15 (or so) years ago the Klan had a march here. It was the first time I had to come to terms with the fact that a group I hated and was disgusted with have the same rights as anyone else. What I enjoyed was that it turned out to be a handful of racist assholes wearing bedsheets and dunce caps  being shouted down by a diverse crowd of counter protesters.

  • Michael

    As I look into this story, I get more and more convinced that the KKK are gone and some other group is using their name for cheap publicity. Not that I agree with this other group’s tactics or their politics, but I can’t find anything that links them to the KKK of old.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X