Alabama lawmaker Will Dismukes has resigned his post as pastor of a local Baptist church. The resignation of the representative of the republican state came a few days later he attended an event celebrating the birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest, General of the Confederate Army and first leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Alabama lawmakers and voters condemned Dismukes and shared numerous calls for his resignation from the state legislature earlier this week. The criticism follows previous pressure for Dismukes to resign last month, in light of his public support for continued state funding at Alabama’s Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury. On Thursday, Dismukes’ intentions regarding his position in the state House of Representatives remained unclear.
Dismukes sparked the latest wave of backlash with a Facebook post about the July 25 event, which takes place annually. Dismukes gave a speech at this year’s rally, which was held at Selma in Fort Dixie, which is not a real fort but is believed to have been owned by Butch and Pat Godwin. A commemorative event to commemorate the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis was underway in Selma on the same day.
“We had a great time at Fort Dixie talking and doing the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest’s annual birthday celebration,” the post read. “Always a good time and of course good meals !!”
The Facebook post was removed from Dismukes’ personal account shortly after media began reporting its content. He later referred to “the cancellation of culture” and “anti-south sentiment” in a statement addressing the public reaction.
“I guess with the anti-south sentiment and everything, and the things that we have in the world today, there are a lot of people who seem to be more and more offended,” Dismukes said in the statement to the NBC affiliate. WSFA-12. “We live in a time where we are literally going through a culture of canceling all fields and people are even more sensitive to different issues and different topics.”
Mel Johnson, the senior mission strategist at the Autauga Baptist Association, which oversees the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, where Dismukes served, discussed his resignation in comments to the Christian newspaper. The Baptist of Alabama Wednesday. He said the association’s leadership responded quickly to Dismukes’ Facebook post.
“Immediate efforts were made to get in touch with Will,” Johnson told the newspaper. “He was open and responsive to our call and the in-person meeting that followed Tuesday afternoon.”
Johnson confirmed Dismukes’ resignation to News week Thursday.
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, posted a blog post on Monday distancing the board from Dismukes’ ties to the KKK.
“Like so many others, I am heartbroken over the recent ugly events that have exposed the sin of racism among us,” Lance wrote.
A brief foreword attributed to several board members added: “We are saddened and saddened to learn of the recent Facebook post from State Representative Will Dismukes, who also serves as a bivocational pastor. of enormous controversy, we reaffirm our opposition to any kind of racism. “
News week contacted Dismukes for comment, but did not receive a response in time for the post.