Last year, Frank Ancona, the Ku Klux Klan’s Imperial Wizard, told NBC 12 in Virginia, “We don’t hate people because of their race, I mean, we’re a Christian organization.”
While that may appear to many as absurdity run amok, Ancona’s statement begs the question: What constitutes “a Christian organization”? Does one simply need to declare oneself a Christian organization and it is made so? Are there certain precepts to which one must adhere?
The Klan experienced its largest membership between 1921-1925, with an estimated 4-5 million white men nationwide. It did not gain its popularity by overtly advertising lynchings, church bombings and cross burnings. Instead, Klan recruiters persuaded pastors by offering free membership and a leadership position within its local chapters.
With the blessings of the pastor, the Klan would recruit church members using the symbolic language of Christianity and so-called American values. They added a dose of fear by “othering” anyone who was not white and Protestant.
Does this qualify as a Christian organization?
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