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Racism is such an ugly thing. A wise person follows the Rev. Martin Luther King's counsel and judges others by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And yet in today’s politically divisive world, the word "racist" is thrown about with such ease.

Believe the United States should secure its southern border? Racist! Think it’s prudent to check ID at the voting booth? Racist! You argue the welfare state can create disincentives for the able-bodied to work? Racist!

Reggy McDaniel, owner of the Louisiana-based family grocery business, Mac’s Fresh Market, is learning firsthand how quickly speaking out on an issue will get you labeled a racist.

McDaniel owns grocery stores in Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. He recently sent out a weekly advertisement mailer that read, “Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has open borders. Let that sink in.”

McDaniel told Lafayette television station KLFY that he wanted the ad to get people thinking about whether or not they are prepared to go to heaven. In the past, he’s sent out fliers with other religious messages such as “Jesus is the reason for the season” during Christmas and one in January that read, “Persecution and distress cannot be separated from God’s love.”

But the quick-to-play-the-racist-card crowd jumped all over McDaniel’s ad. One person posted on the company’s Facebook page, “You guys think that heaven is only full of white people? Boy, are you in for a surprise. You may wanna try hell first, who knows you may see more people you know than you thought there.”

Another posted that claiming heaven has immigration policies was shameful and not Christian behavior. The person added that she was sure “God is not happy with your disgusting racism and intolerance.”

Another posted, “Nice ridiculous political message. I guess y’all don’t have foreigners in your heaven. Disgusting.” Several others called McDaniel’s advertisement racist.

“I thought it was a perfect time because everybody is talking about the border, some people want it, some don't want us to have one,” McDaniel told KLFY television. “The only thing I was shocked about was that it's (considered) racist. I have never in my life been accused of being a racist. I’m 70 years old. I haven't evolved into one.”

But this is how some debate politics these days. They don’t argue on the merits of a policy or an issue but instead assign motive in an attempt to discredit. If you don’t have facts on your side, it's the only way to win your argument.

It’s absurd to claim someone is a racist simply because they support border security. All the ridiculous claim does is shut down any real or reasonable debate on immigration. Want a wall? You’re a racist! No, I’m not. Yes, you are. End of debate.

In the past, many conservatives and elected Republicans would get intimidated by the racist charge and refuse to fight back. President Donald Trump has shown us another way.

McDaniel seems to be taking his cue from the president and is refusing to back down despite the threat from some customers of a boycott. He says he won’t be bullied and will continue to put religious messages in his ads despite the pushback from some customers.

“If I used a political message, and I’m very aware it's political, to highlight Jesus Christ, then I’m guilty of it," McDaniel said.

McDaniel said people have the “privilege” to shop where they want. He added he would be “shocked” if some stopped shopping with him over the ad.

Not all customers viewed McDaniel’s ad as racist, as evidenced by some other social media posts:

“Looks like I need to start shopping at Mac's. He has my support. Freedom of speech people.”

“Stand strong!! Wish I lived closer I would absolutely shop there! God bless the USA!!

“Mac's never back down from your Christian principles! Christian owned and operated Chick-fil-A stuck to their Christian principles and are doing extremely well!”

Labeling someone racist should be reserved for those who are openly bigots — the David Dukes and Louis Farrakhans of the world. It’s unfair to call someone a racist simply because you disagree with them policywise. Truth is, none of us know what’s in another person’s heart.

Email Dan Fagan at Twitter: @DanFaganShow.