Sunday, October 07, 2012

[Ku Klux Clowns in East Tennessee]

Here's a great story of how hatred was met with humour:

Photo of clowns protesting white supremacy rally, taken by Shane Claiborne
Word had begun to spread that a group of white supremacists, including members of the KKK, were converging here in Knoxville, TN, holding a rally in a park downtown. It was in the news and papers. Many locals were pretty upset by the public display of racism and hatred. Even though many of the folks connected to the hate-group were coming from other states, they had obtained a permit to gather and publicly proclaim their hate-filled message of White Power.

But they had no idea what was coming.

A group of locals had decided neither to cower away in fear nor to fight fire with fire…. Instead they decided to meet hatred with humor.....
Read the rest of the story by Shane Claiborne.

This event has inspired a children's book White Flour by David LaMotte, which is available in hard cover and perhaps e-book format. Check out White Flour Book for more information, plus a copy of the poem, a video of the book's author reading the poem, and more.


  1. So, what would loving someone in the KKK look like?  What if they had been thrown out of their home for joining a white supremist group?  It is a lifestyle they were attracted to and decided to take part of.  Perhaps there was a genetic disposition towards it/aggression.  What would it mean to love this person?  Is staging a 'parody protest' during their parade the best way to show love?  Perhaps in this case it is different, because it also helps protect those that we deem are victims of the KKK.  What if it was just a pro-white-people rally, rather than an anti-non-whites rally?  What about pro-black, or pro-Indian, or pro-Chinese, or pro-Russian, or pro-women, or pro-men, or pro-straights, or pro-anything?  Which of these are more 'allowed' and why are some more justified than another?  Should they be?

    It reminds me of Susan Saradon's character in 'Dead Man Walking'.  If you don't remember it, she was a nun that felt called to comfort a convicted killer on death row - not that she thought the victim was unworthy, but because she thought that the convict was also worthy of God's love.

    I think there is a time for saying, 'I think what is happening is wrong'.  But it takes God's wisdom to know how and when to say it.  And not everyone will agree with it.  Is there a better way to uphold a standard of 'this is the way of righteousness, as best I understand it'?  Should we? Or does that limit us by not directing people straight to Jesus, and letting Him sort out the question of righteousness?  And yet, there and some people that will come to Jesus through a specific issue - certainly some will appreciate the KKK being mocked because it will show them that the KKK is not a power to be feared or accepted as a norm - and I hope this grants them a bit more freedom from those that want to impose fear.  The devil hates to be mocked.

    Okay, enough writing now.  I'm sure there are enough parallels here to get me in trouble.  I have done enough wrong in this life to condemn me, but I hope that doesn't invalidate some attempts to understand things more and ask questions that might not have answers.

    (Anon) Alex

    1. Hi Anonex:

      Great questions ... and at the moment, I only have time to add one thing: here's a true to life story of a family who showed love to a KKK leader, and it changed his life:

    2. So having had a bit more time to think about your comments, I'd first like to say that I am not proposing that anyone make a habit of going around mocking others.

      I created this post about the KK Clowns to show an alternative to the "you protest/hate/boycott me / I'll protest/hate/boycott you" mentality that's so common. A recent example would be the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day (in favour of the company supporting anti-gay organizations) followed by the "kiss-ins" at their restaurants (obviously, protesting their position).

      I liked how this protest used humour to diffuse the hatred and power of the white supremists. I like that the protestors didn't have a day of getting riled up and angrier, but that they probably had a good time while standing against hate and racism, and making a point.

      I do think there is a time for standing up for what one believes is right. However, I think it is important to first see if one is being consistent (people who rail against same-sex marriage while ignoring Jesus's words about divorced people getting remarried) and also to approach this with an attitude of humility -- "I could be wrong about this."

      As for the matter of conservative Christians protesting same-sex marriage, adoption, etc.: It seems that too often, they forget that what they are proposing or objecting to directly affects real people's lives and also directly attacks core aspects of other people. This is not the case in the same way if they were to protest an adult dvd store or the legalization of marijuana.

      And, unlike some issues which are clear-cut, there are Christians who love Jesus and believe in the authority of Scripture -- who have drastically different views from one another about the rightness of same-sex relationships, marriage equality, etc. This is where it is especially important to recognize that perhaps I do have it wrong, and to not assume or act as if the person with different views "is just being a religious liberal" or "doesn't take the Bible seriously."