Moral argument against interracial dating
He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that same year that “[n]o man can leave the Klan. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill will open the floodgates of hell in the South. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in , many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism.
By the mid-1920s, Harry Emerson Fosdick and other prominent ministers were openly advocating birth control as an essential component of a healthy marriage; and by the end of the decade, the Federal Council of Churches — an umbrella group that issued pronouncements on behalf of the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denominations — had formally declared that birth control within marriage was both “valid and moral.” Although the United States’s perpetual culture war is often characterized as a struggle between prudish Christians and secular libertines, the Town Hall Raid serves as a reminder that many of the most important battles have pitted believer against believer.
Although the Supreme Court never considered whether Bilbo, Candler, Barnett or Byrd’s religious beliefs gave them a license to engage in race discrimination, a very similar case did reach the justices in 1983.
Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s, when it began permitting black students to attend so long as they were married.
To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes.
In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . In a year where just 47 Mississippi voters cast a ballot for a communist candidate, Bilbo railed against a looming communist takeover of the state — and offered himself up as the solution to this red onslaught. “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the n[*]ggers away from the polls,” Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.” Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs.
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Jan Brewer to veto this effort to protect businesses that want to discriminate against gay people. The premise of the bill is that discrimination becomes acceptable so long as it is packaged inside a religious wrapper. Eddie Farnsworth (R) explained, lawmakers introduced it in response to instances where anti-gay business owners in other states were “punished for their religious beliefs” after they denied service to gay customers in violation of a state anti-discrimination law.