National News

Georgia candidate likens removing Confederate monuments to Taliban regime

Posted May 2, 2018 2:25 p.m. EDT

ATLANTA -- During a lieutenant governor candidate forum this week, a Georgia Republican likened talk of removing Confederate monuments to being under Taliban rule.

David Shafer, currently a state senator, told the DeKalb Republican Assembly on Tuesday he believed in protecting Confederate monuments and memorials in Georgia.

Specifically, Shafer said he bristled at the thought of removing a giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, as was proposed by former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Abrams is a Democrat running for governor.

"I cringe at the idea that we would destroy art for political purposes," Shafer said. "It reminds me of when the Taliban was toppling all of the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. That's not something I agree with or support."

Abrams drew national headlines last August when she suggested that the state remove the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from Stone Mountain. Her comments came in the days after the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lawmakers and civil rights groups have called for the removal of Confederate symbols at the memorial for years. But Georgia code clearly states the memorial should be "preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause."

Republicans rejected Abrams' proposal last year, but state leaders said at the time they would take a "serious look" at how to handle monuments, memorials and street signs commemorating the Confederacy. Lawmakers did not address the topic this year.

Maya T. Prabhu writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Email: Maya.Prabhu(at)ajc.com.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

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