Just over the Lamar- Marion county line, a couple of dozen Christian Identity Ministries members from across the U.S. are holding the finale of their
three day seminar.
"Jesus said, I have not come but for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that is a very exclusive, not inclusive statement and that is who we minister to," Rev. Mel Lewis, Christian Identity Ministries said.
Their fliers inviting "white only Christians started the controversy. Several brought white robes and wore Ku Klux Klan apparel.
"The Ku Klux Klan is a political organization for white Christians. The flier says its open to white people- why would we exclude white Christians? That's silly," Pastor Dallas Brumback, Christian Identity Ministries, Virginia said.
"Somebody has to stand up for the white race, the blacks have the NAACP and other groups have their own ethnic groups. We want to stand up for our people and if we don't, who else is going to?" Brian Pace, a participant said.
In part of their ceremony, they burn a cross.
"If its possible, we would like to use fire, the Bible calls it the cleansing element. Fire is alive. It's a sign of power, it's a sign of God, he led his people out of bondage by night in a pillar of fire, so it all ties together," Lewis said.
"Certainly that is offensive, not only to blacks, it's offensive to whites also," Bishop Calvin Woods, SCLC said. "We didn't come this far ourselves. Blacks and whites worked together to try to put down as best we could the flames of bigotry and hatred."
Bishop Calvin Woods of the SCLC says a cross should never be burned. He says it's not only a sign of hate, but a reminder of the lives lost in the Civil Rights Movement.
"Too much struggling has been done, and we cannot sit idly by when we someone deliberately stir up old animosity and hatred and don't say anything and don't do anything about it," Bishop Woods said.
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