|June 04 2012 | written by: Jenny Baxter|
|Johnny Lee Clary|
Scott Haas speaks with Ex-Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard
Such is the terrorisation meted out to unsuspecting Americans of African descent by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Midnight drivebys, bricks through windows, arson, shootings, bombings – the list of crimes perpetrated goes on. Due to the ample US content on screens here in Australia, you may have seen sights like this on TV and at the movies, but nothing would prepare you for the moment when the Ku Klux Klan visits YOU.
The Ku Klux Klan is a white supremacy group, which has its roots in the upheaval after the American Civil War when many black slaves were freed. There have been three different incarnations of the group since then, which still continues even though being declared a terrorist organisation in many US states.
In 1980, Ku Klux Klan member Johnny Lee Clary, then 30 years old, became the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights, the national leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The White Knights are the most dreaded faction of the Klan, with a horrifically violent history. He was also the appointed the Klan’s official spokesperson in the hope he might recruit new members. Clary was only too happy to promote the Klan. He had found a sense of family there when he’d first connected with the KKK as a 14 year old street kid. A family whose values happened to line up with those of his father, who had suicided right in front of Clary’s eyes when he was even younger.
Throughout his time with the KKK, and especially as Imperial Wizard, Clary distanced himself from the violent activity of the White Knights to stay clear of any possible accusations by the FBI. He never killed anyone, and he would leave meetings whenever sensitive issues were discussed, in case the room was bugged. But he was still aware of some of the crippling things going on ‘behind his back’. In February 2003 he told the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger about a significant event which took place during his term. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Soon after this, Clary began to question many more of the KKK’s ideas and policies, especially in regard to the KKK view of the WWII Holocaust. When he discovered his girlfriend was an informant for the FBI, he could take it no longer. He left his Klan days behind him forever, and seriously re-committed his life to Jesus soon afterwards.
Travelling various rocky roads, Johnny ended up being an agent of reconciliation between blacks and whites in America, starting Operation Colorblind, Inc. in the early 1990s, and also now serves in the Congress Of Racial Equality. He became an evangelist and renowned international speaker with 2012 being his 21st year in ministry. Everywhere he goes, including Australia recently, people clamour to hear his stories. They are curious to find out how the KKK works, but especially they are amazed at Clary’s miraculous shift from hate to love, from violence to tolerance, and from racism to Christianity.
Johnny Lee Clary’s miraculous shift has given him the opportunity to tell people the world over that it is never too late to change, and there is nothing too large for God to forgive.