The KKK: No Percent American

Editor’s note: The fact that the Ku Klux Klan was active in the Highlands (and across the country) in the 1920s might suggest its prejudice had strong local support. But this editorial, which was published by the Cold Spring Recorder in December 1922, belies that perception.

In defense of the Ku Klux Klan, its apologists sum up its activities as “100 percent Americanism.” On this plea it seeks to extend its membership among Christian men, and has been so far successful that we have seen the published statement that the organization is practically made up of church members. They have been persuaded that by supporting and engaging in its activities that they are exemplifying the principles of Christianity and patriotism!

There could scarcely be a greater delusion. Whatever else the secret Klan may be or profess to be, it is known to be an organization which tends to destroy respect for law and constituted authority, and which is committed to policies which are the opposite of Christ’s law of brotherly love. America is as much the land of the Jew, the Catholic, the African and the Mohammedan as it is of the Anglo-Saxon, the Methodist or the Baptist.

The law knows no distinction in their citizenship and should know none. They are all capable of being “100 percent Americans,” whatever that phrase may mean, and many of them have proved it by the habit of their life and the sacrificial manner of their death. The descendant of the Mayflower pilgrim has no claim to a higher percentage of Americanism than the naturalized citizen who was born on the banks of the Liffey, the Danube, the Po or the Volga. The only test is the man’s own loyalty to American principles and his service to the commonwealth. Nor is the man who regards Rome or Jerusalem as the hearthstone of his faith to be discounted in comparison to the Puritan, the Huguenot, the Lutheran or the Methodist.

To this doctrine we believe that thoughtful people will subscribe. But they should do more than give it their passive respect. Just now it is their duty to do their utmost to oppose and destroy the insidious propaganda of such organizations. In the land of the free there is no place for terrorists; in the home of the brave there is no room for masked cowards; in a church which preaches brotherly love there can be no tolerance for the man who proclaims a false gospel of racial and religious hatred. (The Christian Advocate)

2 thoughts on “The KKK: No Percent American

  1. It was certainly refreshing to read this wonderful article. It is also reassuring to know that our forefathers were very forward-thinking people, considering that this was not too far after the Civil War. So many of these words are so powerful, and can be applied to many of the current situations going on in America today. Thank you so much for publishing this wonderful piece of history. Is there any way that you can find out the people or person who put this article together?

    • Otis Montrose was the publisher of the Cold Spring Recorder at the time; the editorial was reprinted from a longer version that appeared in the Nov. 30, 1922, issue of the weekly Christian Advocate, which was published in New York City by the Methodist Church and to which Montrose much have subscribed.