A Republican representative in Alabama's State legislature sparked outrage after he attended and led prayer during a birthday celebration for a Confederate General who also was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Representative Will Dismukes, who was a pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama gave the invocation at the annual July 25 celebration of the Confederate Army's Nathan Bedford Forrest, The Alabama Baptist reported.
Historians point to Forrest as the first ever leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
After Dismukes posted a photo of the event on his Facebook page, he encountered multiple days of intense criticism from people online and fellow lawmakers across the aisle.
The post, which was eventually removed, included the following caption written by Dismukes:
"Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration. Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!"
The internet backlash was intense.
Democrats—and even a few Republicans—called for Dismukes to resign from office.
GOP Alabama State Senator Clyde Chambliss expressed his outrage on Facebook.
Senator Clyde Chambliss/Facebook
Dismukes, though, refused to step down from his government position.
He did, however, resign from his position as Pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on July 29.
Mel Johnson, the lead mission strategist for the Autauga Baptist Association, of which Pleasant Hill Church is a member, made a statement denouncing Dismukes' appearance and the values conveyed by that appearance.
"Scripture is clear that all people are created in God's image and therefore equal in every way before Christ and our personal need of Him as Savior and Lord."
"Immediate effort was made to connect with Will on behalf of our leadership with commitment toward a biblically based process to mitigate controversy surrounding this issue."
"He was open and receptive to our call and subsequent in-person meeting on Tuesday afternoon (July 28)."
Multiple Facebook users expressed their satisfaction with the decision to oust Dismukes from the church.
Barbara Mullaley McMahan
Resigning from the church is one thing, but it doesn't change the fact that one of the people making laws in Alabama was willing and proud to attend such an event.