The mayor of the small Georgia town of Hoschton, not far from Atlanta, is under fire today after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that she had discriminated against a candidate for city administrator because he’s black. But that’s not even the only awful part of the story.
Mayor Theresa Kenerly reported removed the application of Keith Henry from among the final candidates because “he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.” She said this to other city council members more than once. They were rightfully appalled by it and spoke about it with the city’s attorney. Kenerly denies making the statement… though she agreed not to participate in further interviews for the position (because that’s what an innocent person does) and apologized to the council for the harm she caused them (because the other council members were the true victims here).
For his part, Henry chose to withdraw his application after a phone interview, for reasons that had nothing to do with any perceived racism.
But here’s where the story takes a weird turn. Jim Cleveland, one of the other board members, defended the mayor for some reason… while showing the world that he’s even more racist than she is.
Cleveland described Hoschton as “a predominantly white community” not in accord with urban sensibilities about race.
“I don’t know how they would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right,” he said.
“I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe,” he said. “I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”
What does interracial marriage even have to do with this situation?
Also, there’s no way this guy has black friends. There’s no way this guy has a black friend, singular. I want a name. Just one name. (Local reporters, please get on that.)
Every time conservative Christians claim that discriminating against LGBTQ people, whether in business or medicine, is within their rights under “religious freedom” rules, critics point out that we would all balk at the idea of a Christian baker refusing to serve a black customer. The conservatives always act shocked by this comparison because How dare you imply that our anti-gay bigotry is similar to racism?!
Because it is. It’s faith-based hate against a particular group of people. It’s irrational. It’s unchanging. And it’s despicable.
No doubt most conservative Christians will condemn everything about this story, including Cleveland’s comments, but they’re just shining a light on their own hypocrisy. They’re appalled by discrimination in the name of their God… unless it’s against a group most of them think are disgusting, in which case, it should be perfectly acceptable.
There’s no difference. It’s just a matter of when conservative Christians realize it’s all the same kind of hate.