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If the Biblical Jesus existed, he was, of course, a middle Eastern Jew, and most likely on the swarthy side. But don’t tell that to pastor and congressional candidate Rick Tyler of Tennessee, who wishes to keep all Jesus-looking men out of these United States (and Mexicans, too — I’m looking at you, Jesús).

Tyler, in other words, wants to make America white again. He literally says so on a controversial billboard.


An independent candidate for Congress from Tennessee has been swept up in a wave of criticism for his campaign billboard vowing to “Make American White Again.” Rick Tyler, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District in the northeastern part of the state, said he put up the billboard alongside Highway 411 in Polk County to make a point that “the ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Mayberry’ America of old was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today.”

Except if you were black, or brown, or gay, or a woman, in which case you could fuck right off.

In a Facebook post Wednesday night, Tyler wrote: “It was an America where doors were left unlocked, violent crime was a mere fraction of today’s rate of occurrence, there were no car jackings, home invasions, Islamic Mosques or radical Jihadist sleeper cells.”

Funny thing: Violent crime is in fact roughly at 1950s levels. Either Tyler is ignorant, or he thinks fear-mongering, however baseless, is his ticket to Congress.

But the billboard’s message, a spin on Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, has been widely derided as a display of bigotry and racism. It was taken down Tuesday night, according to ABC affiliate WTVC.

Tyler, on his campaign website (which is also down as I write this, as is his Facebook page), explained that

… the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny… the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.

And of course, the Bible is front and center in the candidate’s rants:

Like the watchman spoken of in Ezekiel 33, some of us must sound the warning of the advancing and ominous peril that is encroaching upon our civilization as a whole. Like Nineveh, there could be great repentance and revival in America. If not, we will succumb to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. …

[A] substantial number of low information citizens are easily whipped into a frenzy by the mythological enemy of “racism.” Sadly, it never occurs to the reactionary mob that they in fact, are guilty of the grievous sin of rejection of truth. Yet, just as Jesus was able to miraculously give sight to the blind, God is still in the business of peeling the scales off of men’s eyes. Yes, he gives grace to the humble but resisteth the proud. (James 4:6)

Does Tyler appear to be particularly humble to you?

It seems to me that the exhortation to “Make America White Again” is the logical outcome of the dog-whistle campaign that Donald Trump has waged for the better part of a year now. Tyler, it is fair to speculate, is taking his political cues from the man whose greatest trait, to his fans, is that he “tells it like it is,” without bowing to “political correctness.”

Trump’s success gives license to other small-minded men to come out of the woodwork with even more extreme (that is, less coded) versions of racism masquerading as candor. Deliberate, gleeful outrageousness is the name of the game now, at least when it comes to seducing the crepuscular, factless, and reasonless segment of the electorate that Trump and Tyler appeal to.

May they both falter and, in due time, be swallowed by oblivion. If not, even Rick Tyler’s God won’t be able to help us.