Like most states, Arkansas has certain people who enjoy roaming around to argue and harass people who don’t think as they do. Because most Baptists and Methodists used to believe that people should not work on Sunday, policemen no longer ago than 1940 would arrest Jews who spent Sundays cutting their grass. Many white Arkansans didn’t want black people to vote and were able to prevent it until the 1940s, even though a Constitutional amendment that required it had passed in 1870.
Today, Arkansas still produces lots of contrarians. There’s Thom Robb near Harrison who is the leader of the nation’s largest Ku Klux Klan faction, which still spreads hatred of Jews. Then there was Gordon Winrod, a one-time Little Rock Lutheran preacher who had to leave his home on the Missouri border to go to jail for secretly taking six of his grandchildren to live with him and teach them to hate Jews.
Another Arkansan that we are now hearing about is Billy Joe Roper Jr., a native of Morrilton, who is the head of White Revolution, an organization like the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, National Socialist Movement and West Virginia Skinheads. He doesn’t like immigrants coming to the U.S., favors Palestinians over the Jews, is disgusted with gay men and says that he is a supporter of modern-day Nazism.
Roper is 32. He has a master’s degree from Arkansas Tech, taught world history, geography and economics for a year in a high school in Lafayette County, and he now works for a mortgage company in Russellville.
This week, Roper and his followers will be in Little Rock to protest the annual meeting of the League of United Latin American citizens. More than 10,000 are expected to attend the LULAC meetings. Roper may have more people with him than he did last month in Boston, when he criticized observance of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps after World War II. Roper doesn’t believe there was a Holocaust, and he and his group of about 15 shouted their disbeliefs in front of the New England Holocaust Memorial. I couldn’t get Roper on the phone, so I asked him some questions on e-mail, and he replied.
Q: What was your reaction when Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said on national TV, “Today of all days, to have white supremacists come here from Arkansas, is most disappointing, disgusting, and I wish they’d go back home where they came from and bury themselves under the rocks that they crawled out from.”
ROPER: “Governor Romney, drooling idiot that he is, didn’t embarrass me. Most of the Massachusetts citizens I spoke with while visiting their fine state are embarrassed by him. However, I’d be happy to engage him in a public debate, if he’d like. No, what embarrasses me more than the comments of the Massachusetts state governor are the comments of our own Governor Huckabee, who stated in 2001 at the Arkansas State Baptist Convention that white Americans owed it to Hispanics to be especially gracious and welcoming in order to make up for our collective sins against blacks. This psychopathetic guilt complex, reminiscent of medieval flagellants, is a clear indication that he isn’t fit to be wandering the streets alone, much less to aspire to higher office.”
Q: But why would you want to protest a celebration of the anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps?
ROPER: “There were 20 of us present at the Boston demonstration, which was sufficient to express our free speech protested political views as protected under the First Amendment. If the Holocaust is a historical event, then it must be open to inquiry and debate, to determine the truth of what happened. If it is just religious dogma which cannot be questioned, then it has no place being taught in public schools as if it were an unassailable fact. Jews and their supporters need to decide, one way or the other.”
Q: Why are you bringing your group to Little Rock to criticize the members of LULAC?
ROPER: “LULAC is a brown power, mestizo supremacy organization in favor of open borders, Spanish language education, amnesty for illegal invaders, and the invasion and conquering of America by Hispanics, as the state chaplain for LULAC’s comments in the Arkansas Times clearly illustrate. We intend to stand against them, and defend America and the people who created our nation, against the invaders. If our politicians will not defend our country, then our citizens must.”