The Content of Our Character, Not the Color of Our Skin
Is there any holiday more politicized on our calendar than MLK Day? Liberals may carp about that trio of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans' Day, but the reality is, that's pretty tame stuff compared to what goes on every year, especially every four years, at our black churches. This would probably with or without a national holiday, or 50 separate state holidays, as it were, but it certainly gets more ink this way. (The "National Holiday" is supplemented by 50 state holidays. I personally like Virginia's answer, which was to covert an existing holiday into Lee-Jackson-King Day, and it wasn't Spike and Jesse, either.)
Here's a roundup of some of the sermons from yesterday:
"We are still living in the dark ages," the Rev. Paul Martin said Sunday.
But as attempts are made to whittle away affirmative action, trust between the black community and the police erodes and the war in Iraq lingers, Martin said, he feels "we are living in a system that is calcified."
"King would be opposed to the eradication of affirmative action," he said. "King would be opposed to the war in Iraq. ... But the worst thing is that those of us who know better aren't saying anything. King would be opposed to the fact that the church is not engaged in this."
[The Rev. Joseph] Lowery said the current war in Iraq and other aggressive stances by the Bush administration would have been "antithetical" to everything King stood for.
"I'm on the other side," he said to rousing applause.
In the tradition of King and other civil rights leaders, Roberts gave a long sermon that was part history lesson, part indictment of violence and injustice and part call to action to correct the inequities he said exist in areas such as education, housing, the justice system and international relations.
[The Rev. Joseph L.] Roberts, Jr. criticized President Bush's visit to King's Atlanta memorial last week, saying the president was a man of war and King was a man of peace.
Back in Atlanta, King's widow, Coretta Scott King, said: "Peaceful ends can only be reached through peaceful means.
Things didn't go as smoothly for the state holiday. In 1987, newly elected Gov. Evan Mecham rescinded a newly created King holiday enacted by his predecessor, Bruce Babbitt. Mecham's action tarnished Arizona's reputation and splintered the state racially and socially. Conventions and entertainers boycotted Arizona.
Her [Opal Ellis, subject of the piece] grandson, Jarrett Maupin II, has taken up the torch at 16, too.
Last fall, during the Democratic presidential debate, Maupin coordinated a luncheon for candidate Al Sharpton to meet local African-American leaders.
Maupin, whose hairstyle mimics Sharpton's, appeared on national television and was nicknamed Sharpton's "Mini-Me."
Paul Martin badly needs a calendar; Coretta Scott King evidently has forgotten all the events between Sumter and Appomattox, and little Jarrett Maupin's favorite Purim costume is that of a bigoted slanderer who's incited others to murder. Unlike some others, I can't claim to know how Dr. King would have stood on the pressing issues of the day. But somehow, I don't think this is quite what he had in mind.