Bible Belt Racism: A Georgia city councilman defends his mayor’s decision to discriminate against a black man by citing his sincerely held Christian beliefs and his opposition to interracial marriage.
Recently Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton, Georgia confessed to rejecting a candidate for city administrator because he’s black. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Mayor Kenerly told a member of the City Council she pulled the resume of Keith Henry from a packet of four finalists “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”
The fact that Mayor Kenerly rejected a job applicant because he is black is simply despicable. And to their credit, several city council members spoke out against the blatant racism. But some on the city council defended the mayor’s open racism.
For example, Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland defended Mayor Kenerly, saying “she might have been right” to discriminate against the black applicant. Cleveland said:
I don’t know how they would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right.
Councilman Cleveland then went on to explain that he is a Christian, and as a Christian, he has a problem with “race mixing.” Cleveland said:
I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe.
I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.
Cleveland’s position is deplorable, but not surprising. Many conservative Christians are racist. One need only look at the overwhelming support Trump currently enjoys from conservative Christians to understand the deep racism that continues to flourish in white conservative Christian communities.
The only difference is that most conservative Christians are not as open with their racism as Councilman Cleveland.
Bottom line: While defending Mayor Theresa Kenerly after she refused to consider a job applicant because he was black, Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland declares that he’s “a Christian,” and that seeing “blacks and whites together” makes his “blood boil” because “that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”
Can you feel the Christian love?