August 22, 2017

Virginian Priest Steps Down After His KKK Past is Revealed

 For Complex News, I'm Natasha Martinez. The events that happened last week in Charlottesville, Virginia have unearthed national outrage as well as inspired many to no longer stay silent on the concrete evidence of racism in America.  After seeing the terror that happened at the Unite the Right Rally, one Roman Catholic priest made the ethical decision to come clean and apologize about his past as a former member of the KKK. Father William Aitcheson penned a letter describing his horrifying past and informing his community that he will be temporarily stepping down from his public ministry.  The letter was published by the Arlington Catholic Herald on Monday. "What most people do not know about me is that as an impressionable young man, I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s public information but it rarely comes up. 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." Aitcheson was 23-years-old at the time of his involvement with the KKK and was charged in 1977 for multiple cross burnings and additional counts related to bomb threats and the manufacturing of pipe bombs.  In the letter, Aitcheson shared that the images from Charlottesville brought back memories of a bleak period in his life that he would have preferred to forget, but he encouraged others to take responsibility for their actions.  The images from Charlottesville are embarrassing. They embarrass us as a country...Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others. Father Aitcheson notes that he has no excuse, but apologized for his past and to anyone subjected to racism or bigotry. He also called out any white supremacists reading his letter, and warned them that they will find no fulfillment in their ideology.  A note from the diocese at the end of his letter, confirmed that Aitcheson voluntarily asked to step away from his public ministry and his request has been approved.    That's your news for now, for more of today's stories subscribe to Complex on YouTube. For Complex News, I'm Natasha Martinez.  


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