Editorial: Butner’s views don’t represent Rowan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mac Butner’s racially tinged Facebook posts have attracted statewide attention to Rowan County for all the wrong reasons. The N.C. Board of Elections was completely justified in removing Butner from the Rowan County Board of Elections last week, but no one should consider Butner’s view representative of this community. People across the state should also know about the good things going on here in Rowan that run directly counter to Butner’s narrow views.

They could start with the mature and measured discussion that has taken place here in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

Hood Theological Seminary has embraced the twin issues of race and justice. First it hosted a key community forum to address questions raised about Salisbury’s Confederate Monument. Last week, Dr. Bradley Trick, assistant professor of New Testament, began a communitywide study of the Book of Romans, with a focus on racial reconciliation. The study is sponsored jointly by a white church and a black church — St. John’s Lutheran Church and Soldiers Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, respectively. The six-week study will meet on Thursday nights through Nov. 19 in the Aymer Center on the Hood campus.

Along those lines, Dr. Ken Walden, a Hood associate professor, has been leading a weekly discussion with area clergy on the theme of racial reconciliation, using his new book, “Practical Theology for Church Diversity.”

There have been several instances of black churches and white churches joining together in faith and fellowship, from a prayer service near the Bell Tower to shared suppers and projects.

Salisbury is on the verge of a City Council election involving five black candidates and 11 white candidates, the most diverse slate ever. Many of the candidates participated in a forum last month dedicated to the theme of racial justice, sponsored by a group called Time to Talk.

Most significantly, Butner’s kind of rhetoric has not won him a following in Rowan County. Long active in the Republican Party, he has run for public office several times without success. Whatever he’s selling, voters aren’t buying it. Which begs the question, how did Butner’s name ever get on a list submitted to the State Board of Elections? Whoever is responsible for that blunder — someone in the local Republican hierarchy, evidently — needs to be held accountable. They have wasted the State Board of Elections’ time and hurt Rowan County’s reputation.