Christian lawmaker’s ‘get your coat hangers’ quote is projected onto building where he works

WEST VIRGINIA — After comments he posted in a local Facebook group sparked outrage, Parkersburg City Councilman Eric Barber had second thoughts and deleted them. But there’s always someone with a screenshot. Now, a local LGBT activist group is making sure more people know what Barber, who is an outspoken Christian, said.

Like many far-right Christians, Barber sees Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court as a victory in the fight against abortion. After news of Kavanaugh’s confirmation circulated, Barber expressed his delight on a comment thread in a Facebook group for locals, writing, “Better get you’re (sic) coathangers ready liberals.”

Barber was presumably praising, or making a mockery of extreme measures some think women may go to if Roe v. Wade is overturned. He deleted the comment soon after.

The Friendly Atheist‘s David G. McAfee reported that one member of the group managed to get a screen shot of the comment and shared it in a post calling Barber out.

“Shocker, that comment didn’t take too long to get deleted,” a group member only identified as “Tom” wrote.

“Any elected official who speaks this way, especially in a public forum, should be stripped of their seat immediately,” he added.


Via Friendly Atheist

This Tuesday night, the group Fairness for Parkersburg projected Barber’s quote onto the Parkersburg City Building while he was inside for a City Council meeting.

A closer look at Barber’s history shows a troubled man. According to a report from The Parkersburg News and Sentinel from last year, he has a decently-sized criminal history in the city.

His arrest on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction Monday was not Parkersburg City Councilman Eric Barber’s first brush with local law enforcement.

He has an outstanding warrant from Belpre Mayor’s Court for failure to appear in 2013 on a possession of marijuana charge, had his driver’s license reinstated earlier this year after a 2012 driving under the influence charge and served time in the state correctional system after pleading guilty to breaking and entering in 1999.

Three months after his arrest, Barber left the Democratic party because a local politician voiced support for the separation of church and state.

Speaking to the News and Sentinel this Tuesday, Barber said his comments were misconstrued but admitted that they were poorly thought-out.

Barber said he was referring to an incident when he was in Washington, D.C., and Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced, something he posted about on his Facebook account in July. He said he went to the Supreme Court building, where anti-abortion and abortion rights groups were demonstrating, and a woman threw a wire coat hanger in his face, apparently in reference to what could happen if, as some fear, Kavanaugh is part of a judicial majority overturning or limiting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

“I didn’t mean (it) how it was perceived, and I wanted to apologize for maybe painting West Virginia in a negative light nationally,” he said.

Unfortunately for Barber, the internet is forever.

Featured image via screen grab (Fairness for Parkersburg/WTAP News)

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.