It takes a staunch commitment to racist foolishness to celebrate the life of a Confederate general and Klan figurehead in 2020. To do so on the very same weekend, in the very same city that civil rights icon John Lewis was being honored? How much harder can you stan Jim Crow?
But that is exactly what Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes did—attending a ceremony honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s first grand wizard, in Selma, Ala., on the weekend a carriage carrying Lewis’ body came into town, reports The Washington Post. The procession honoring the longtime Georgia congressman traced the path Lewis walked in 1965, when he led protesters on a march across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Like the Confederate flag-humping clown he is, the 30-year-old Dismukes wasn’t content attending and speaking at Forrest’s annual birthday celebration, which would surely have been enough joy for any run-of-the-mill Dixieland enthusiast. Dismukes had to brag about it on Facebook.
“Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration,” Dismukes shared in a now-deleted post from July 25, alongside a photo of himself standing behind a festoon of Confederate flags. “Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!”
(Someone should have told you that, unlike the Confederacy, screenshots are forever, Will.)
The incident drew bipartisan calls for Dismuke’s resignation, as well as a rebuke from the chair of the Alabama state GOP.
Because this is 2020, Rep. Dismukes did end up resigning on Wednesday night, but (because this is 2020) not from his position as a state representative. The final turn of this Southern tale is that Dismukes is also the pastor of a rural Southern Baptist church. Or at least, he was. After the controversy, Dismukes met with other local Southern Baptist leaders and decided to step down from the pulpit at Pleasant Hill Baptist.
Dismukes has insisted his actions were in no way disrespectful to Congressman Lewis, whose memorial service was held in Atlanta on Thursday afternoon. In fact, he was surprised by the criticism.
“I guess, with the anti-Southern sentiment and all, and the things that we have going on in the world today, there’s a lot of people that are seeming to be more and more offended,” he told WFSA TV. “We live in a time where we literally are going through cancel culture from all different areas and people are even more sensitive on different issues and different subjects. This was just one of those times that it didn’t quite go the way I expected.”
Man, if Jesus wasn’t weeping before, he sure has to be now.
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