South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright (R) on Monday managed to invoke topics as disparate as abortion, Islamic extremism and same-sex marriage in a full-throated defense of the Confederate battle flag.
Bright has been one of the most stalwart defenders of the Confederate flag that flies on state Capitol grounds since the massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston sparked widespread calls for its removal. In an interview last month, Bright branded the movement to do away with the flag and other symbols of the Confederacy across the deep South a “Stalinist purge.”
The lawmaker often digressed as he talked up his proposal for a non-binding referendum to allow voters to counsel their representatives on the flag issue. His proposed amendment was tabled after he wondered aloud why Budweiser wasn’t being blamed for the shooting at Emanuel AME church (the shooter had been photographed with the beer) and insisting that the nation as a whole was to be condemned for the sins of slavery.
Slavery was the whole country’s problem
Bright argued that northerners were just as culpable for the institution of slavery — and held equally reprehensible views of blacks — as antebellum southerners.
“Abraham Lincoln in his own words spoke that blacks should be not allowed to vote, to serve on juries,” he said. “As a matter of fact, many northerners who did not want slavery brought into the new states — it’s because they didn’t want blacks brought into the new states.”
“A Declaration of Independence was written that it would eventually not allow slavery,” he added. “But we have to remember that slavery was under the American flag. We cannot condemn the South without condemning the nation.”
Why wasn’t Budweiser held accountable for Dylann Roof’s actions?
Bright made reference to a trove of photos of a man who appeared to be Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof, which were posted alongside a chilling, racist manifesto at a website called lastrhodesian.com.
“I also want to know, is it about that flag?” he asked. “Is it about that one lunatic who waved that flag who also had a Budweiser behind him in most of his pictures as well and was usually wearing a Gold’s Gym T-shirt? But since it’s gonna be supposedly about that flag, Budweiser is safe and Gold’s Gym is safe.”
ISIS cakes are okay, but Confederate flags aren’t
Bright lamented that the national media was “obsessed” with covering the Confederate flag debate instead of violence committed by militants with the Islamic State terror group.
“What happens at Walmart? We can’t have a Confederate flag, but we will bake the ISIS cake for you,” he said. “We got some problems.”
Abortion clinics in black neighborhoods constitute “genocide”
Bright then went on a tangent about what is “wrong in our culture,” suggesting that abortion clinics in predominantly black neighborhoods were facilitating “genocide.”
“Let me tell you — these abortion clinics, where are they put?” he said. “They are put in mostly black communities … there is a disproportionate amount of blacks that are killed through abortion than whites. It’s disproportionate and it’s wrong.”
“We ask God [to help us], and yet we have this genocide,” he added.
Gay couples aren’t a problem until they “demand a marriage license”
Prior to introducing his amendment, Bright railed against same-sex marriage as a “national sin.”
“We can rally together and talk about a flag all we want but the devil is taking control of this land and we’re not stopping him!” he said when the state Senate convened.
He couldn’t help but return to the sore subject briefly later in the afternoon.
“We ask God to help us, but yet we allow a Supreme Court to tell us that it’s okay for two men to commit unnatural acts,” he said. “And not only is it ok — which I really don’t care what two men do when they’re alone, it’s their business — but don’t come to the state of South Carolina and demand a marriage license. And next it’s putting people out of business for not issuing those marriage licenses.”