It is difficult to conceal a belief borne of a lifetime of conditioning, and it is not unusual for people to be shocked to learn a person that they believed, say, loved the nation of Israel was really an anti-Semite when the person used an bigoted epithet toward Jews. In that situation, the people who were not stunned were the person’s German immigrant family who worked for the Nazis prior and during World War II. The news that Cliven Bundy revealed, in an interview, he had racist opinions about “the Negro” appeared to be a stunning revelation to Republicans defending the deadbeat criminal as a patriot hero. However outraged they tried to appear, their shock and disgust appeared to be feigned to conceal that they knew all along about Bundy’s racial animus toward African Americans.
The list of Bundy’s supporters who knew he was a racist is likely lengthier than one imagines, if for no other reason than his oft-repeated lie and absurd justification for illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. He asserted he had supremacy over the federal government because his Mormon ancestors settled the land in the 1870s and that he inherited grazing, pre-emptive, and special land use rights. There are no records to back up his ancestral claims to land the United States purchased from Mexico, but his ancestors were Mormons. What is in the historical record and fairly common knowledge is that prior to 1978, Mormons regarded African Americans as cursed by god. They abruptly reversed their beliefs according to a heavenly revelation when President Jimmy Carter threatened to revoke the LDS church’s tax-exempt status; the church never repudiated or apologized for actively discriminating against African Americans.
One Republican who supported Bundy wholeheartedly, Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, certainly knew the Mormon rancher was a racist in spite of saying he “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.” Heller, like Bundy, is a Mormon who grew up learning that African Americans were cursed by god and was one of Bundy’s earliest supporters labelling him and armed militias confronting government agents “patriots.” Heller was such an avid Bundy supporter he called for Senate investigations into the Interior Department “to find out who is accountable for this. This being the Interior Department for executing a federal court order; not the racist Bundy.
Conservative Fox News pundit, Sean Hannity, claimed he is the real victim of Cliven Bundy’s racist comments that he asserted yesterday were “Beyond repugnant. They are beyond despicable to me. They’re beyond ignorant to me.” Now, according to Hannity, “People that for right reasons saw this case as government overreach, now are like branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments of Cliven Bundy.” Hannity protests too much. It is a sign he knew Bundy was a racist like the man Hannity fawned over and championed during an interview last week with former sheriff, Oath Keeper militia leader, John Birch Society acolyte, Posse Comitatus devotee, and Mormon Richard Mack. Last week this column summarized what is relatively common knowledge about armed militia hero Mack and it is impossible that Hannity was ignorant of Mack’s ideological bent mirroring the John Birch Society and “explicitly racist and anti-Semitic militia group Posse Comitatus.”
Richard Mack embraced the extremely racist philosophy of John Birch Society champion, and fellow Mormon, Willard Cleon Skousen. Skousen, a Mormon theocrat, preached from the John Birch Society that the 14th Amendment and equality for former slaves started America’s decline. Skousen toured the nation calling for elimination of all civil rights laws as well as the separation of church and state. There is nothing Bundy and Richard Mack disagree with Skousen on including ending civil rights laws and the 14th Amendment among others. As Jason Easley pointed out yesterday, conservatives and Republicans who supported Bundy and Mack’s Oath Keeper militia as patriot heroes are just as much racists as the two bigots if for no other reason than they know the racist history of the LDS movement.
It is important to note that one Mormon who knew Bundy was a racist, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, condemned Bundy, Mack, and armed militias as “domestic terrorists” and not patriot heroes. Despite being criticized by conservative pundits and scolded by Republicans like Rand Paul and Dean Heller, Reid never wavered and as noted here, Harry Reid was as right before when the conservative movement championed Bundy, Mack, and his Oath Keepers as patriots in the mold of Patrick Henry and George Washington and he is still right today because he knew of where Bundy and Mack’s racism originated.
It is unfair to portray all Mormons as racists, especially those born after 1978. But those born before 1965 were indoctrinated with Mormon and biblical racism against African Americans throughout the entirety of their formative years. It is likely they cannot help but hold views analogous with Bundy’s, but it is also likely they would not be as openly racist and probably not still defending racist comments amid the uproar and complicity conservatives and Republicans cannot escape; that includes the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.
The Koch certainly knew of Bundy and Mack’s racist views because Mack, and possibly even Bundy, learned them from Charles and David Koch’s father’s fascist and racist startup, the John Birch Society. The Kochs’ fascist-libertarian belief tank, Americans for Prosperity, were active supporters of racists Bundy and Mack and it is impossible to even consider that AFP did not know their ideological origins, or religious foundation, that identified both men as racists; particularly because AFP is purported to be a research oriented and driven “think tank.” Now it can add “advocate for racists re-cast as patriots battling the federal government” to its résumé. The Kochs had an intense profit-driven motive for supporting Bundy to incite the public against federally-owned land the brothers want.
It is bad enough Republicans and conservative media actively supported Bundy for trespassing on federal land and bilking taxpayers out of $1.1 million and counting, but that they heaped enduring praise on him with clear knowledge of his background is despicable. Republicans in Congress that supported, and even praised, Bundy knowing he was violating court orders and guilty of armed confrontation of federal agents have no right criticizing the racist now; particularly because they knew his religious background; they also work for the Kochs.
However, Dean Heller distinguished himself as a racist supporter and rank hypocrite because he grew up in the same Mormon culture that indoctrinated Bundy into believing that Black people are cursed by god. After suffering through months and months of Willard Romney two years ago, few Americans are ignorant of the sad history of Latter Day Saint racial animus toward “the Negro.” The one Cliven Bundy said “Abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. They got less freedom;” because there are so many Cliven Bundy’s in Congress and America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.