Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The KKK’s Prohibition-era war on the Church

KKK Catholic freemasonry violence immigration prohibition hate racism xenophobia history

In 1923 a local Ku Klux Klan newspaper grumbled about events in Gary, Indiana. Enforcement of Prohibition legislation (which came into effect 100 years ago today), had become rather sluggish and the town needed a “sheriff big enough to fight and who can deliver a squared fist at the jaw of the Gary foreign element, battering it to a recognition of the laws of the state and of the nation”. Such a man was “wanted and wanted badly”.

Prohibition was wonderful news for the Klan because it provided another weapon in its bigoted campaign to right the ship of state. Who was to blame for the blight of alcohol abuse? Why, all those continental immigrants, of course. And Catholics – with their pesky exemptions for the use of wine for sacramental purposes – were the worst of the lot.

Williamson County, Illinois, discovered just how damaging such sentiments could become. There was more to the story than wholesome Klan-run family day picnics and county fairs. KKK members began speaking, in their robes, at Protestant services, and congregations lapped up phrases like “enforcement” and “taking the initiative”.

The Klan played it by the book, appealing to figures high up in the Prohibition Bureau. We’d love to help, came the official reply, but we’d need an army. Not a problem, said the Klan.  (more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment