Monday, September 05, 2005

A Changed Life

I watched "Enough Rope with Andrew Denton” on ABC tonight. Andrew interviewed Johnny Lee Clary, the former Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), who shared about his change of heart and his work as an evangelist.

Johnny Lee Clary changed from hatred for all humans not white to absolute love for all humanity — red and yellow, black and white. The White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan shared that he was taught racism as a child during the interview. At 11 years old, Johnny witnessed his father's suicide. His mother then abandoned him. When his father died, she immediately sent him to live with his sister in East Los Angeles.

At 12 and 13 years, young Johnny learned brutality, racial division and hate on the streets of Los Angeles. Street gangs were divided along race and ethnic lines, and he grew to despise nearly all non-whites. Clary said he was alone, and failing in school. He then joined KKK, challenging teachers at school regarding the accuracy of history on the Nazi holocaust against Jews in World War II and fomenting hate toward his black classmates.

Johnny said his conversion began slowly with an appearance on a radio talk show. Appearing on the show with Johnny was a local black pastor, who would engage him in ways he hadn't prepared for. The black pastor told Johnny he loved him and reached to shake hands.

The FBI was becoming more and more aggressive making weapons cases against Klan members. It became apparent to Johnny the FBI would see him in prison if something didn't change. Hence Johnny resigned from the Klan. Then, those he had recruited turned on their former leader, saying a true Klansman wouldn't abandon the organization because of the threat of imprisonment. And for the first time in a long time, Johnny was truly alone and without friends or family, again.He turned to alcohol and was once prepared to take his own life. Instead he prayed, opened a Bible and began seriously to read the scriptures. "I had a Bible; everyone in the Klan had a Bible," said Johnny. "We didn't read them."I read that Jesus died for all people," said Clary, emphasizing the word "all." He began attending church and became a serious student of God's word. His life has never turned back since.

Praise God for transforming this man's life. Today he's an evangelist sharing the gospel wherever he goes.

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