Gov. Haley R. Barbour, left, greets Rep. John Lewis, Democrat from Georgia and a veteran of the civil rights moment, at the 40th anniversary commemoration of the civil rights murders in Neshoba County on June 20, 2004. “We know that when evil is done it is a complicit sin to ignore it, to pretend it didn’t happen even if it happened 40 years ago. You have to face up to your problems before you can solve them,” Barbour said in Neshoba County 40 years after James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered here by the Ku Klux Klan because they were registering blacks to vote.
Gov. Haley R. Barbour, left, greets Rep. John Lewis, Democrat from Georgia and a veteran of the civil rights moment, at the 40th anniversary commemoration of the civil rights murders in Neshoba County on June 20, 2004. “We know that when evil is done it is a complicit sin to ignore it, to pretend it didn’t happen even if it happened 40 years ago. You have to face up to your problems before you can solve them,” Barbour said in Neshoba County 40 years after James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered here by the Ku Klux Klan because they were registering blacks to vote.
Excerpts from remarks made by Gov. Haley Barbour on June 20:

It is all together fitting and proper for us to be here today to remember a terribly evil event. I'd say Mississippi is a wonderful place and America is the greatest and best country in the history of the world. Early on, philosophers like Alex de Tocqueville recognized that American is great because its people endure. American's greatness results from the people's goodness and so shall it ever be. Unless we forget, evil things can and do happen in good places and in great countries. To remember that openly and honestly is a deterrent against other future evils. When John Winthrop wrote that the new land for which he was leading his band of devout Christian settlers should be like the Biblical city on a hill, he not only meant it should be a positive earthly example to all around it, he also meant that the community would and should be totally open to observation and scrutiny so that all living in Massachusetts Bay colonies would conduct themselves as if every deed would be seen by their neighbors, friends and foes as well as by Almighty God.

Winthrop's admonition for righteous living was often restated in the 20th century. History taught us that sin and evil must be recognized, confronted and confessed before redemption can be achieved.

We know that when evil is done it is a complicit sin to ignore it, to pretend it didn't happen even if it happened 40 years ago. You have to face up to your problems before you can solve them.

Today it is appropriate to remember this horrid evil 40 years past and it is also appropriate to recognize and praise God for all the progress that has occurred since then especially here in Mississippi.

The fact that our state has made as much or more progress in race relations than others is praise worthy but it doesn't mean that we should or can forget the reprehensible murders that ultimately led to our being brought here together today.

The events in the world of 2004 bring home there is another battle between good and evil going on right now, largely in the Middle East but not exclusively.

Other young Americans are risking and sometimes losing their lives for freedom the same as the three young men we remember here in Philadelphia.

It is my confident prayer that freedom will again triumph in the war on terror and it is my further hope that all Mississippians, all Americans, all lovers of freedom everywhere will not rest, will not retire, and will not forget that freedom is not free. Freedom is something we must nurture, protect, sometimes fight for, even die for.

Yes, our state of Mississippi is a wonderful place and our nation as great as ever but we are not perfect. We are sinners, one and all and evil can still raise it heinous head.

By remembering this 40-year-old evil and considering today's evil of fanatical Islamic terrorism we recommit ourselves to fighting and defeating the extreme hateful intolerance in both these evils.

We must stand for the proposition that intolerance is intolerable. We must not limit ourselves to opposing murder or terrorism or other obvious evil. Let's commit ourselves today to rooting out the small intolerances too. Especially those in our own mind, words and deeds. When we disagree, let it be agreeably. Let us learn to tolerate opposing views even if we work to uphold in our own lives the values and standards we claim to cherish. For those of us that are Christians, let us try to obey Jesus' commandment that we should love our neighbors even as he loved us. If we do that evil will find this a very poor place to take root and to do its damage. God bless you. God bless our Mississippi and God bless America.