85% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. Around 90% of our black and brown brothers and sisters did not.
We have to start asking why.
Why has Trump stoked so much division?
How many parallels must be made to the KKK and the amount of white supremacist groups that support him?
Why can’t Christians say Black Lives Matter?
The organized Ku Klux Klan movement saw a boost in its membership in 2017. In fact, more than half of today’s Klans formed in the last three years. However, the KKK’s imagery and rituals were unpopular within the contemporary white power movement. So they have taken on new identities, hiding under hats and militia gear. Now we have: The Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Patriot Front, and more. All supporters of the MAGA movement.
The hate and bigotry of the Klans of the 1920’s and 1960’s have not gone anywhere, they have just evolved. They were:
Pro-Restoring America to its founding
Pro Law & Order
Are Christian Nationalists
Were fueled by Suspicion and Fear
Used intimidation to silence productive discussions and change
The KKK spread quickly across the nation in the 1920s, enrolling upwards of six million white, native-born Protestants into its ranks. Promoting “100 Percent Americanism,” “Protestantism,” and “Law and Order,” the Klan found keen reception in quarters where the white majority population felt threatened by immigration, modernization, and the changing moral landscape.
Perhaps at the root of their fears of changing power dynamics and mores was a perceived loss of prestige and predominance in American society. The old white, native-born Protestant America was giving way to a more diverse society. Part of the Klan’s appeal was its promise to reinforce or reinstate what it described as 100 Percent Americanism: patriotism, piety, Protestantism, and rigid morals.
The rise of the civil rights movement in the mid-1950s reignited Klan activity. The Klan offered new members anonymity, historians say, and it thrived in secrecy.
It’s no coincidence that White supremacist extremist propaganda nearly doubled in 2020 that has resulted in a rise of violence and hate crimes. White-nationalist groups alone increased by nearly 50 percent in 2018. Alt-right extremists groups love Donald Trump and the MAGA movement. Why? It gives them a cover and a relevant vehicle for expressing their beliefs.
The study of the ebb and flow of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States reveals a pattern: the Klan is strong when its leaders are able to capitalize on social tensions and the fears of white people; as its popularity escalates and its fanaticism leads to violence.
In 1985, Glenn Miller changed the name of the Carolina Knights to the Confederate Knights and preached the need to secure the Southern United States for a white homeland. he told his followers at one rally, “we’re building up a white Christian army. we’re going to get our country back.” Sound familiar?
These periods of growth have one common characteristic: they were eras of great social upheaval when the dominant white population felt threatened. History would suggest a continued role for the Klan. for over a century, the Klan has always appeared on the stage whenever white Americans felt threatened by people different than themselves.
“The Klan is a very durable American institution. One of the reasons it’s durable is because it’s adaptable. It doesn’t surprise me at all to find them at the front of the mob. Fear of immigrants, fear of change — that we’re changing for the worse. And an ability to capitalize on those fears — they’ve always been really effective at that.”