The Preacher, the Congressman, and the Neo-Confederacy
Moscow's infamous preacher Doug Wilson and South Carolina's Rep. Joe Wilson have more than a last name in common: they both have ties to the neo-Confederate movement.
When Joe Wilson was a state senator, he voted against removing the Confederate flag from the top of the state's capitol. By a vote of 34-7 the South Carolina Senate voted to fly it instead on the statehouse grounds.
Wilson is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), which used to be an apolitical organization dedicated to maintaining Confederate Army graves and participating in civil war reenactments.
Since 2002, however, the SCV has been taken over by extremists, who, according to former SCV chaplain Eric Dean, have a "secessionist and racist agenda." Dean resigned in disgust when he heard a sermon by another SCV chaplain who claimed that slavery was supported by the Bible.
The new SCV constitution eliminates the requirement that the American flag be present or the Pledge of Allegiance be said at SCV meetings. Members say that these are symbols of anti-Christian, Southern-hating Yankees.
Since 2002 SCV membership has declined by 36,000 to 27,000, Kirk Lyons, who has been instrumental in radicalizing the SVC, boasts that "the slackers and the grannies have been purged from our ranks."
In 1990 Lyons and another SCV leader were married by Richard Butler at a double-ring ceremony at the now defunct Aryan Nations compound in Northern Idaho.
In December 2005 Lyons explained that the SCV's goal was "a modern, 21st century Christian war machine capable of uniting the Confederate community and leading it to ultimate victory."
Yet another Wilson, Ron Wilson, is SCV's new "commander in chief" and he has continued the purge of moderate members. Wilson once sold anti-Semitic literature from his home and was a member of Council of Concerned Citizens (CCC), whose website decries "negroes, queers and other retrograde species of humanity."
Senator Trent Lott was forced to resign as Senate Majority Leader when it was learned that he was a CCC member. The SCV, CCC, and neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) frequently join forces at protests throughout the South.
In the fall of 2003 the Moscow community learned that Doug Wilson, pastor of Moscow’s Christ Church, and Steve Wilkins, a Louisiana preacher, had published a booklet entitled "Southern Slavery As It Was." The authors argued that Southerners had a biblical right to own slaves, and that the Ante-Bellum South was the most harmonious multiracial society in history.
Wilkins was a LOS founding director and some of us in Moscow are taking some credit for forcing him to resign from the LOS board. Wilkins, however, has not backed off from LOS principles or the contents of the slavery booklet.
The LOS was founded in 1994 by Michael Hill, who proposed that an independent neo-Confederacy of fifteen states would have the duty to protect the values of Anglo-Celtic culture from black Americans, who are "a compliant and deadly underclass." Hill is a regular visitor at Wilkins' church in Monroe, Louisiana, and Wilkins told me that he could not prevent him from attending.
Doug Wilson rejects the term "neo-Confederate," but accepts "paleo-Confederate" and "paleo-Conservative," which mean support for states rights and limiting the vote to propertied males. Yes, Wilson does not believe that women should vote.
Wilson's K-12 school celebrates Robert E. Lee's birthday, but not Lincoln's nor King's. A visitor once saw a Confederate flag in Wilson's office and it was once displayed at a Christ Church picnic.
Doug Wilson has not budged in his extremist views, but Joe Wilson should be given a chance to defend or reject his SCV membership. He certainly cannot say that this is a new development in what used to be one of the most respected Confederate organizations.
© 2008 NewWest
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