Bible Belt Racism: A Georgia city councilman has resigned after publicly opposing interracial marriage because of his sincerely held Christian beliefs.
Earlier this year Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland defended his mayor’s decision to discriminate against a black man by citing his sincerely held Christian beliefs and his opposition to interracial marriage.
At the time, Councilman Cleveland explained 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.
After making headlines for his openly racist claim, Cleveland was faced with mounting opposition and a recall election next month, and so decided to resign rather than fact the public humiliation of a recall.
ABC News reports:
A Georgia city councilman resigned on Tuesday amid accusations of racism due to his strong opposition to interracial marriage.
Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland said he chose to resign to avoid facing voters in a recall election next month and he didn’t want to give his opponents the pleasure of saying they voted him out.
Cleveland told ABC News:
They filed ethics complaints and when that didn’t go anywhere they started a recall against me and the mayor. It went all the way through and it got approved for a recall election. My thinking of it was, ‘If they got it this far, then why go through an election and let them recall me? I’ll just resign.’
I am still, in my opinion, a respected member of this community. I have more people, I believe, that feel the way I do about everything. But the ones that are against me are a very, very vocal group. And I’m just tired of hearing it.
They are calling me a racist and I don’t consider myself a racist and I’ll tell you why. I have very good friends that are are black. I have Spanish, Asians, all kind of members in my church, and none of them consider me a racist.
I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and I have been taught to believe, and it makes a lot of sense to me, that God created all these different races and if he had wanted them all commingled into one race, he would have done it himself. Why did he create all these races, if he didn’t mean for us to be separated by race?
In short, while deploying racist rhetoric Cleveland claims he can’t be a racist because some of his “very good friends” are black.
In addition, Cleveland believes that despite being as racist he is still “a respected member of this community” and that many of his neighbors share his racist beliefs.
Finally, Cleveland justifies his racism by noting:
I was raised in a Southern Baptist church…
Bottom line: Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland resigns after stating his opposition to interracial marriage and saying 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?