( 4UMF NEWS ) Former KKK Leader Wants To Celebrate MLK Day:
If you can’t beat them, join them, a former Ku Klux Klan leader has learned. Montana resident John Abarr has renounced his lifelong ties to white supremacy and wants to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. in Great Falls, he claims.
“(King) wasn’t a perfect person,” Abarr told the Great Falls Tribune. “But overall, he was a good man.”
Local religious leaders have questioned Abarr’s motivations, but have accepted his proposed Jan. 16 celebration at the First United Methodist Church, where his ex-wife used to attend religious services before passing away in 2014.
“There does seem to be some kind of change in him,” Pastor Nancy Slabaugh Hart told the Tribune.
He joined the regional NAACP chapter based out of Casper, Wy., and attended a peace summit with the human rights group last summer.
If Abarr’s tolerance has softened, it’s a drastic change of heart. He failed to nab seats in the state legislature in 2002 and the House in 2011 due to his platform pledging to “save the white race.”
His racist diatribe dates back to at least 1989 when Abarr stood by fellow klansmen in welcoming an activist behind the James O. Pace Amendment in his move to Wyoming.
“We’re here to wake up white Aryans and show we’re not the neo-Nazi terrorists they think we are,” said Abarr during a protest, where residents of Evanston rallied against William Daniel Johnson. “We’re here to welcome him.”
Johnson, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a “determined white separatist,” authored a proposed amendment repealing the 14th amendment, which would have limited U.S. citizenship to those whose ancestral homes were the British Isles and northwestern Europe.
His apparent road to redemption began after his father’s death in 2012 and he has slowly been reversing years of racist habits he picked up as a child.
“I didn’t really need to please him anymore,” Abarr told the local paper.
He then angered United Klans of America officials by proposing an inclusive KKK chapter for the Pacific Northwest, but to his dismay, nobody joined the Rocky Mountain Knights. The group would have accepted people regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation.
Despite his new perspective on life, NAACP chapter president Jimmy Simmons noted that Abarr has refused to denounce the KKK completely.
Furthermore, Abarr has sided with Donald Trump, whose presidential campaign has been heavy on anti-immigration and racist rants toward Hispanics and Muslims.
In Abarr’s Facebook profile picture, he poses unabashedly wearing the Republican candidate’s hat, which features Trump’s motto: “Make America Great Again.”