KKK, pagans net Hartselle some press
The story is bizarre.
A group of self-described pagans contacted a well-known local leader of the Ku Klux Klan, saying they are planning a ritual in Hartselle on June 21 and want the KKK to hold a staged-counter demonstration.
The event will be good publicity for all, the pagan leader said. "A chance for the KKK to show you're against our religion and show you're standing up for the family values of Christ."
The KKK leader, Ricky Draper of Eva, said he looked up what pagan means in the dictionary – literally, a heathen- and declined the offer.
"I've been accused of everything in this world but I've never been accused of being a devil worshipper," Draper, 45, said. "I've been in this business for 20 years and I don't want anything to do with pagans and I don't think God would be interested either."
The alleged incident has landed Draper and Hartselle on the pages of the Biloxi, Miss. Sun Herald. The story, written by Joel Bunch, recounts the tale of the pagans and KKK and how the ritual and demonstration were planned for Hartselle.
Draper said the incident really happened.
"I've known this fellow (the pagan leader) for years, but I never knew he was into this," Draper said. "I told him I didn't want anything to do with it."
Draper said Bunch was one of several reporters present at recent KKK district meeting.
"There's a fella down there (Mississippi) who's working on a book and I think he (Bunch) is working with him," Draper said.
Draper said he doesn't expect any activity in Hartselle, pagan or otherwise.
"I don't see no reason to do much in Hartselle," he said. If something came up and we needed to be involved we would, but I doubt we'd do much down there."
According to the 2000 Census, Hartselle's population is more than 92 percent white. But, Draper said, his KKK is about much more than black and white issues.
"The black and white thing is here – it's history and we have to live with it. Were working in other areas now, like police activity and schools," Draper said.