by Charles S. Garabedian
Joining the Klan is as easy as filling out an online form — provided you’re white and Christian. Members can visit an online store to buy one of the Klan’s trademark white cotton robes for $145, though many splurge on the $165 satin version (Reeves AP 2016).
What? What? Surely you do not seriously think the Ku Klux Klan is made up mostly of Jews, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and United Methodists. I did some research to try to find information on the precise religious composition of the Ku Klux Klan and could not find any. That is not surprising at all for a secret society. It is not like they are going to let a stranger with a clipboard come in and do a religious census of the group. However, I read several on-line articles about the history of the Ku Klux Klan, and it was krystal klear that the organization had its historical roots buried deeply in the 19th century evangelicalism of the Old South. So, in the absence of statistics we are never going to get, my best intuition tells me that the Ku Klux Klan began as a fundie organization and still is a fundie organization today.
This is not to say that fundie churches officially approve of the Ku Klux Klan as a matter of policy. Indeed, many fundie pastors may even preach against white supremacy and race hatred. Nonetheless, this never stops some members of various fundie congregations from showing their heartfelt devotion to Jesus by attending secret meetings and the burning of fiery crosses.
You can read about the impending (or at least hoped for by some) resurrection and growth of the Ku Klux Klan to its former American glory in the following article:
I always liked the video clip below from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou because it reminded me of life in the small Southern town where I was raised, starting in the early 1950s. Baptists, Baptists, Baptists. Baptists nearly everywhere. My mother still had clothing items from the O Brother Era (1930s) in a cedar chest my dad made for her before I was born. It was the coffin for the only existing photograph of my 2-year-old sister who died from aspirin poisoning in 1936.
The front of my house was only a few feet from a town street. If I slept overnight Friday in the living room, I would wake up to the mixed sounds of automobile traffic and the klomp, klomp, klomp of horse hooves pulling wagons into town for the farmers doing a day of business, getting a haircut—and if they were visiting kin—perhaps taking their one weekly bath. A lot of the adult folks did not use deodorant on sweltering summer days, so you can add your own mental smellivision to this scene from the movie, which rather perfectly captures my impression of the cultural flavor in my hometown between 1936 and about 1958.
My home county was one of the last in Tennessee to integrate its public schools in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, it was revealed to me that a Ku Klux Klan group was operating in my county. A friend of mine was quite seriously given the local klavern business card while visiting a roadhouse bar in another county—and my friend later presented the card to me as a gag gift. Here is the film klip: