~What if the “good guys” are not so good as we once believed? ~
You are strolling through the perfect little town of Mayberry when you see your neighbor, Dopie, sitting on a park bench. By the look on his face, you know he’s in a funk.
“Gee, Dopie,” you say, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “You’re not looking so swell today. What’s wrong?”
“Golly, I’ve been in a funk ever since our teacher told us they opened a Clinic just outside of town.”
“Don’t be so glum, Dopie,” you say. “That would never happen in Mayberry. Our good citizens would never allow a Clinic.”
“It’s true!” he insists. “Aunt P even read about it in the newspaper.”
So you pick up a newspaper and sure enough, the rumor is true. Somebody has opened a Clinic. Naturally, your next stop is the police station, to visit Sherriff Randy of Mayberry.
“How could they have opened a Clinic here in Mayberry?” you ask. “Certainly it can’t be legal.”
“I’m afraid it is legal,” says Sherriff Randy. “I suggest you join the concerned Citizens who are discussing this problem over at the courthouse. If you leave now, you’ll be just in time.”
“Thanks, Sherriff,” you say, dashing out the door.
As you join a group of concerned Citizens at the courthouse, the highly-respected Mr. Wally White, Principal of Mayberry Private Academy takes the floor.
“Yes, Citizens, we are outraged about this Clinic,” he says. “And legally, our hands are tied … unless we — the silent majority — rise up and peacefully take back the moral high ground. If we band together, we can elect public representatives who think like we do. We will vote for morality and lobby for change. And so today, we institute a Righteous Cause that shall be known as the Anti-Clinic Movement.”
“Stay informed about Anti-Clinic activities,” says Mr. White’s assistant, “by getting on our mailing list.”
In the coming months and years, the Anti-Clinic Coalition tells you how to vote. It encourages you to make calls and letters to public officials. You visit the Clinic to picket and pray. You distribute pamphlets about the Righteous Cause. You and the Anti-Clinic coalition are even able to get some laws instituted for the Righteous Cause.
“We ought to feel really good about what we’ve done,” you tell your friends.
Your friends agree, patting each other’s backs.
Then one day, you learn that you and your friends have been manipulated … that you are being used by wicked men for their wicked plans.
Let’s rewind the tape now, taking a more critical look behind the scenes of that Mayberry episode.
You are a citizen of Mayberry, which — quite honestly — still struggles to accept recently-passed Civil Rights laws. The wealthy citizens still embrace their history of enslaving people of color by denying them equal jobs, housing and access to schools.
And why don’t any colored kids go to Mayberry Private Academy? you wonder.
M.P.A. is a flagship school in the cotton-farming district of Mayberry.
Seeking to learn more, you do a little snooping. Speaking confidentially, one teacher tells you, “Principal Wally White has consistently denied access to colored kids. Now the IRS is threatening to take away Mayberry Private Academy’s tax exempt status because it refuses to comply with Civil Rights laws.”
“Does that mean M.P.A. will start admitting colored kids?” you ask.
“Absolutely not,” says the teacher. “But if you come back Tuesday at 9:00 p.m., we can eavesdrop on White’s clandestine meeting with his colleagues.”
“That would be keen,” you say.
Late Tuesday evening, you and your friend hide behind a curtain in Mr. White’s conference room.
“Who’s here besides White?” you whisper.
“People of power and influence who think like White.”
“Racists?” you ask.
“Every one of them.”
You hear a commotion in the meeting hall.
“Good evening,” says Mr. White. “As you know, the IRS threatens to penalize all good people who choose to obey God rather than man. Our religious convictions prevent us from giving equal access to those who bear the curse of Cain. Therefore, I suggest that we form a Coalition that will change the face of politics in this country. We need laws and leaders that support segregation. We must protect our daughters from these rapacious predators.”
“Absolutely!” people shout. “Keep them in their places!”
“But how can we do that?” someone asks. “The federal laws are on their sides.”
“Vote against the colored folk,” a woman shouts. “We can vote, can’t we?”
“Christian leaders should tell all good folk to vote pro-segregation.”
“Start a pro-segregation party.”
“That won’t work,” says Mr. White. “We can’t be so explicit. Segregation has a bad reputation. We got to disguise our agenda somehow.”
“Hey, I got an idea,” says a racist. “Up in the Yankee north, the Catholics elected a whole bunch of candidates that support their Anti-Clinic cause, just by leafleting cars and telling their members to vote against Clinics.”
“Against Clinics?” says Mr. White. “Hmm … Now that’s a connection I hadn’t considered.”
“People who oppose Clinics aren’t that different from those who oppose colored folk.”
“We’re all upstanding, moral people.”
“We all have God on our side.”
“Let’s call it the Anti-Colored Folk Movement.”
“That’ll go over like a lead balloon.”
“I know,” says Mr. White. “Let’s call it the ‘Anti-Clinic Movement.”
“They’ll never guess our true intentions!”
You and your teacher friend stare at each other with astonishment. “So this is how the Anti-Clinic Movement gets started,” you whisper.
“It’s shameful,” your friend says.
You and your friend quietly sneak out the back door.
The very next week (as you will recall, from the program that aired publically), Mr. Wally White called a meeting in the Mayberry courthouse.
“Yes, Citizens, we are outraged about this Clinic,” he said. “And so today, we institute a Righteous Cause that shall hereafter be known as the Anti-Clinic Movement.”
In the coming years, you discover that the candidates you help elect do indeed fight Clinics but they also oppress minorities. Moreover, you see that while you pour your heart and soul into the Anti-Clinic Movement, you promote egregious human rights abuses. Your candidates send troops overseas to kill those who oppose their international business interests. They work tirelessly to de-fund programs that help poor parents. They block measures to help minorities recover from past disadvantages. They rob poor families of healthcare and housing assistance. With a powerful boost from their wealthy sponsors, they convince Christians that God is a Republican who supports big business and a mighty military. Millions of people are harmed in the margins, far from your tidy and prosperous suburbs.
Ugh … What have I been doing? I hurt more people than I helped. I thought I was doing so much good, when in fact, I was a pawn in the hands of wicked people!
Suddenly … you feel used.
You feel manipulated.
You feel as if you have been the brunt of a sick joke.
“What happened to good old-fashioned black and white choices?” you ask. “Mayberry sure isn’t what it used to be …”
… or maybe Mayberry never was what it used to be.
History teaches us that many American churches supported the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision until 1978, when the pro-segregationists (learning from pro-life Catholics in Minnesota) got them to support racist candidates who agreed to be pro-life.
W.A. Criswell, former president of America’s largest Protestant denomination, endorsed abortion in the 1970s, saying, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person.” In 1972, the Southern Baptist Convention resolved to support pro-abortion legislation.
If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God Almighty because He made racial separation … God is the author of segregation … God made of one blood all nations, but He also drew the boundary lines between races. — Bob Jones Sr., Evangelist and Founder of Bob Jones University
If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [against segregation] would never have been made … The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line … The true Negro does not want integration … [Integration] will destroy our race eventually. — Pastor, Televangelist and Liberty Christian Academy Founder Jerry Falwell
Archie Bunker: No prejudice intended, but I always check with the Bible on these here things … If God had meant for us to be together, he’d a put us together. But look what he done. He put you over in Africa and put the rest of us in all the white countries.
Sammy Davis Jr.: Well, he must’ve told ’em where we were because somebody came and got us.
Image by CBS Television, Copyright 1964, Publicity photo for The Andy Griffith Show, Wikimedia Commons.
 “Racism and the Pro-Life Movement,” by Hunter Baker, Public Discourse Journal, 7 May 2018, https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2018/05/21450/.
“The Real Origins of the Religious Right,” by Randall Balmer, Politico Magazine, 27 May 2014, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.
 “Agent of Intolerance,” by Max Blumenthal, The Nation, 16 May 2007, www.thenation.com/article/agent-intolerance/.
 Bob Jones Sr., “Is Segregation Scriptural?”, WMUU Radio Broadcast, Greenville, South Carolina, 17 April 1960.
 “The Age of Intolerance,” Blumenthal, op.cit.
 “Archie Bunker Quotes,” Quote Catalog, https://quotecatalog.com/communicator/archie-bunker/.