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Wendell Griffen continues thundering on the state’s M.L. King prayer breakfast

We’ve mentioned the criticism by Wendell Griffen, the Baptist pastor and judge, of the choice of Mike Huckabee as a keynote speaker at a state-sponsored, invitation-only “interfaith prayer breakfast” Monday at the Governor’s Mansion as part of M.L. King Day observances.

But he’s blasting again on his blog, reiterating Huckabee’s objectionable past statements and also bringing up breakfast host Governor Hutchinson’s educational background.


Huckabee example:

On March 1, 2011, Mike Huckabee falsely commented that former President Barack Obama had “grown up in Kenya” during an appearance on The Steve Malzberg Show. This is what Huckabee said: “I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, [is] very different than the average American.” Later in that interview, Huckabee said of Obama: “…if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Kansas. What evidence shows that Martin Luther King Jr. would have done something like Huckabee did?


As for the governor, Griffen observes that official websites mention the governor’s law degree from the University of Arkansas, but not his undergraduate degree from Bob Jones University, a religious school in South Carolina where Hutchinson enrolled in 1968.

When Hutchinson applied for, was admitted, and enrolled in BJU, that school refused to admit African and African American students.

Bob Jones University denied admission to African and African American students until 1971, only admitted married Black students between 1971 and 1975, and banned interracial dating and marriage. In 1976, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the university’s tax-exempt status retroactively to December 1, 1970, because BJU was practicing racial discrimination.  The interracial dating ban was continued even after BJU lost its appeal of the IRS action before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983.

Well, that was then, and times have changed and the governor does employ Black people today. But it’s worth noting that the Bob Jones’ policies were rooted in what they believed were Biblical principles. It’s still a useful too.  Discrimination Hutchinson effectively endorses now — against sexual minorities and people who believe in women’s medical autonomy and in support of people who refuse vaccinations to prevent a deadly scourge — is also religiously rooted.


Griffen is not in a mood to be placated.

Mike Huckabee, an unreconstructed Southern (slaveholder) Baptist preacher, right-wing politician and political pundit, and father of a person who was chief spokesperson for the vicious policies of former President Donald Trump, will deliver a “keynote address” during an “interfaith prayer breakfast” on the King holiday because Asa Hutchinson and other unreconstructed white Christian nationalists control state government in Arkansas. DuShun Scarborough and the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission are the feckless servants of that cabal of King “re-assassins.”

 This is the situation in Arkansas, the state where Daisy and L.C. Bates led nine courageous Black children to enter Little Rock Central High School in 1957 and where Martin Luther King Jr. attended the graduation of Ernest Green, the first Black graduate of Little Rock Central, in 1958.

It’s simpler for me and rooted in simple facts. The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on Monday morning will be full of people invited because they are dedicated Republicans and support, like keynote speaker Huckabee, the party’s opposition to the restoration of the Voting Rights Act and expansion of voting by people of color.  Heckuva way to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.