South Carolina Republican state representative Chris Corley was a very vocal defender of the Confederate battle flag this summer, arguing that it should remain raised at the statehouse grounds in Columbia.
He lost that fight. But this holiday season he's still agitating, in the form of a Christmas card to colleagues instructing them to repent for taking the flag down, referring to them as sinners. Merry Christmas!
Via the Post and Courier, the front of the card features an image of the Confederate battle flag flying triumphantly at the state capitol on a cloudless day.
The back of the card reportedly reads:
May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right. May you have a blessed Christmas, and may you take this joyous time as an opportunity to ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.
The card also references Dante's Inferno and the Ninth Circle of Hell (the worst one) where "sinners guilty of treachery" are punished.
South Carolina removed the flag from the capitol grounds in July, weeks after white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine worshipers at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, including State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Corley's colleague in state government. The flag was originally raised in 1961 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civil War, but was seen by many as a signal of opposition to advancements made by the civil rights movement.
Corley was confronted by the Post and Courier about his Christmas card, but did not back down.
“I sent out a Christmas card,” Corley said Thursday. “If you felt the card pointed out a hypocrisy that you had in terms of not listening to the people you represent and just voting the way you wanted to vote because you were caught up in the moment, then that’s more on your guilty conscious than it is newsworthy.”
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a Democrat, told the AP that Corley put fellow Republicans in a difficult position: call him out or stay silent and appear to agree with him.
"I am waiting for the Republican Party to condemn his Christmas card and the statements in the card and distance themselves from him," said Rutherford, D-Columbia. "Everyone has a right to their belief. But he's a Republican, and either he speaks for them or he doesn't."
Corley already wrote a bill to be introduced early next year that would call for a voter referendum on the decision to take the Confederate flag down. However, he said the card was for Republicans only, and meant as a joke. Democrats and non-politicians are getting a photo of his kids.
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