Well, this is mighty awkward:
A judge in South Carolina has declared a black church to be the lawful owner of a building that is home to a store that peddles Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia — although it isn’t quite clear if the ruling will impede the sale of the racist stuff anytime soon.
The latest chapter in this long, weird and disturbing tale out of Laurens, S.C. — about an hour northwest of the capital city of Columbia — comes courtesy of Meg Kinnard of the Associated Press, who reports that Rev. David Kennedy and his New Beginnings church have been declared the rightful owners of an old theater building that houses the Redneck Shop, which trades in Klan robes, T-shirts with ethnic slurs and, according to its website, “bumperstickers, belts, mens and womens [sic] swimsuits, one or two piece, cotton or nylon flags, bird houses, and you name it…”
The bird houses, I should note, look pretty much like what you’d expect a birdhouse made by Klansmen to look like; alas, the site doesn’t tell us whether the birds who inhabit them are supplied with their own tiny robes and pamphlets detailing the international Papist-Zionist Conspiracy, nor do we learn whether they’re encouraged to cleanse the surrounding property of inferior avian species. The shop’s Wikipedia page — no shit, it exists — mentions as well that its owners sell posters of Warren Harding, of all people, who has long been rumored (however implausibly) to have been a member of the KKK. Sadly, the Redneck Shop lacks a website that might help us satisfy our great national craving for Warren Harding paraphernalia, but if you’re in the mood, I highly recommend my favorite picture of Harding, in which he displays an almost Nixonian sternness and seems to be on the verge of expressing a coherent idea of some kind or another.