“This image shows a photograph from the early 1920s, probably in Portland, in which robed and hooded Ku Klux Klan members share a stage with members of the Royal Riders of the Red Robe, a Klan auxiliary for foreign-born white Protestants. A large banner reading “Jesus Saves” occupies a prominent position on the wall at the rear of the stage and testifies to the strong role that Protestantism played in the KKK philosophy of “100 percent Americanism,” an ideology that developed during World War I as a reaction to the perceived threat to national unity posed by the influx of non-Protestant, non-English-speaking immigrants.”
While reading the Washington Post this morning I was accosted by this photo from the Oregon Historical Society. Although the story it tells about the Pacific Northwest is familiar to me, the stark truth of the paradox depicted shook me to the core. I read it as “Jesus Saves, but only white people.” I invite the photo to go viral as a warning to all that we are again confronted by the “KKK philosophy of ‘100% Americanism’.” Let the warning go out that espousing a warped brand of Americanism in the name of a warped brand of Christianity calls for an iconoclastic revolution. Perhaps Meister Eckhart’s most puzzling statement is, “I pray God that he may quit me of god.” This is the time to throw out all profane idols and embrace the real God devoid of all ego clammoring for power.
This poem from a few years ago speaks to this experience once again:
Photo Credit: Nature’s Stained Glass Window overlay Lynn Scholar