Ex-Klan member to speak Sunday in Cherokee County
by Rebecca Johnston
rjohnston@cherokeetribune.com
November 03, 2012 01:00 AM | 1443 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — A former Ku Klux Klan leader who turned his life around to become a minister with the Church of God in Christ is coming to Canton tomorrow to share his message. The Rev. Johnny Lee Clary is the guest speaker at Canton Community Church at 10:45 a.m.

The evangelist is an ordained minister under Jimmy Swaggart Ministries World Evangelism Fellowship and is a member of Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, La., pastored by Jimmy & Francis Swaggart, and Donnie Swaggart.

Clary travels all over the world holding revivals at churches and speaking in schools, universities and doing radio, TV and newspaper interviews and has preached for Swaggart at his church.

He also works with the FBI as a counter-terrorism consultant; is an official “Agent Of Change” and Diversity Speaker for the United States Armed Forces; works with law enforcement agencies as a consultant on white racists and gang activity as well as terrorism; speaks in schools advocating an anti-bully, anti-drug, anti-gang, anti racism message and is one of the leading advocates for racial unity in the United States

But that was not always the case.

Clary says that as a young child he found Christ, but when his father committed suicide and he was sent to California to live at the age of 11 his life took a bad turn and he was living in a gang-invested neighborhood.

Soon he has joined up with the Ku Klux Klan who offered him protection.

“I am coming to Canton to share my story — it is one of redemption and overcoming racism. You are not born a racist, it is taught to you,” Clary said in an interview Friday. “I lived those beliefs and made a lot of bad decisions.”

For 16 years from 1974 to 1989 Clary rose through the ranks of the notorious organization to become a body guard for the notorious David Dukes, the national public spokesperson for the group and eventually the national leader as the Imperial Wizard.

He was an outspoken defender of racism until he suddenly had a change of heart.

“People were committing crimes, I didn’t like my life,” Clary said. “Then I met a girl and fell in love with her and found out later she was an undercover agent for FBI.”

That twist to his story led him to begin to question everything about his involvement with the Klan.

“A lot of people were outed by that and I was getting a lot of distrust from the Klan, and I started thinking that I did not need that so I resigned,” he said. “And then things went from bad to worst.”

Clary was also a professional wrestler under the name of Johnny Angel with the National Wrestling Federation and the Arkansas state champion.

“When they found out that I had been associated with the White Supremacists they tore up my contract,” he said.

His life spiraled down further.

“I just couldn’t get a job. I was finally at my wit’s end and didn’t want to go on anymore, I even considered suicide.”

“Then I picked up a Bible and started praying and I remembered some tapes I had made of Jimmy Swaggart,” Clary said. “I went to church and told God that I would give my life to Him. I prayed that prayer and my life changed. Things turned around for me, I got a job with good people who stood by me.”

Eventually God led Clary to begin to offer help to others who might be racist.

“I started praying and asked God to send someone to help other kids and he spoke to me,” Clary said. “I still travel all over the worked and help people get over their problems, they are able to pull their lives together.”

Today he stresses the need for all adults to set a proper example promoting racial unity for the children by promoting racial integration in public places including churches, civic organizations, schools and home. The public is invited to hear Clary speak tomorrow. The church is located at 260 Rolling Hills Drive in Canton on Highway 5 near Univeter Road. For information, call (770) 479-3792.
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