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Kennington Avenue

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The Voices of the Tea Party are not New

James Eastland was a United States Senator from the state of Mississippi. He was a Democrat. He was a segregationist. He was a racist who insisted that the mixing of the races was a sin. It was against the laws of God and the laws of nature. When the Supreme Court struck down the doctrine of separate but equal in the historic 1954 land mark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, he said of that decision, “The Constitution of the United States of America was destroyed.” And speaking to white Mississippians he said, “You are not obliged to obey the decisions of any court which are plainly fraudulent, sociological considerations.”  Today, we are hearing in the voices of the Tea Party a reincarnation of people like James Eastland. And while they maybe a little more polished than Eastland their stripes are just as hate colored and hate-filled. It still amazes me how whites who are so strongly passionate about upholding the Constitution and upholding the law are so willing to make exceptions  when the law and the Constitution seeks to extend justice and fairness to those who have been traditionally excluded from the mix.

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About the author

Ken Wheeler is a retired pastor. He most recently served at Cross Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Milwaukee, where he is now the director of the Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry. For 18 years he was as an assistant to the bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA.