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Catholic Priest Admits Past Membership Of KKK

He has subsequently taken steps away from the church.

Credit: Flickr

In the last month, it has emerged that a Catholic Priest from Virginia, one William Aitcheson, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth. 

The 62-year-old, who served the diocese of Arlington, chose to make his past public in a bid to speak out against racism in America. His comments read:

“What most people do not know about me is that as an impressionable young man, I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan,”

“My actions were despicable. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else. It’s hard to believe that was me.”

“Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others. Christ teaches something different. He teaches us that we are all his creations and wonderfully made — no matter our skin color or ethnicity.”

Aitcheson’s confession came in the aftermath of the “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville on 12th August. The day saw the death of a 32-year-old woman, when a car drove into counter-protesters, with another 19 injured.

The police response to the day, which was deemed an unlawful gathering, cost the force $70,000. This figure was released this week in response to a freedom of information request.

However, it transpires that Aitcheson, then aged 23, was not only a member of the KKK, but even rose to status of “exalted cyclops”, whatever that means in English.

An article published in 1977 reveals that Aitcheson was charged with 6 counts of cross-burnings, 2 counts of manufacturing pipe bombs, and another of making bomb threats. The suspected target was the residences of black members of the community, and the offices of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

The article does not mention sentencing. Aitcheson has now taken a voluntary, temporary step away from the public ministry.

For similar, watch the iconic moment as a white supremacist is punched in the face.

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