Resolution Targets Council Of Conservative Citizens

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post, Saturday, January 30, 1999, Page A6
� Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) said yesterday that he and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will sponsor a resolution condemning "the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens."

Prompted by reports describing the views of some leaders of the council and reports of prominent elected officials speaking at its meetings, Wexler said that it is "more important than ever that the Congress go on record opposed to any and all sorts of racism."

But Gordon Lee Baum, head of the council, said, "It is pathetic that such an action would be contemplated. . . . Their views are based on distortions half-truths and lies disseminated by some in the liberal media and a few radical, liberal columnists whose agenda is apparently to stifle discussion of important issues that have the support of most Americans, such as immigration reform and opposition to forced busing and quotas."

The resolution, likely to be criticized by free-speech proponents, is modeled on a 1994 resolution, which passed 361 to 34, condemning the "racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic speech given by Khalid Abdul Muhammad of the Nation of Islam at Kean College" in 1993.

"A white supremacist group isn't any less deserving of condemnation than someone who is black or African American who voices racism," Wexler said. Baum said, "We dispute any comparison" between the council and the Nation of Islam. The council advocates preserving the "white" race in the United States, and some of its leaders have called for renewed segregation and for efforts to prevent interracial marriage.