On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr weekend, a weekend meant to be of public service, civil commitment and spirituality, it’s tough to accept the fact that George Wallace finally won the White House.
The current President executes the policies and rhetoric that Governor Wallace ran and lost on. Trump's "Make America Great Again" did what Wallace's "Stand up for America" could not: install a strategic and proud bigot in the White House.
It’s devastating to many of us that, after all this progress, hate still too frequently prevails.
Get mad, react, fight back, but most of all Dr. King would tell us, as does President Obama, vote. Mobilize and vote; which we will.
In the meantime, the most pressing question to me is the same one posed by Dr. King in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: where is the white church in the midst of this madness?
I will not repeat the litany of issues on which President Wallace, er Trump, has defiled Christ’s Sermon on the Mount; it is sad and bears not repeating. Just one, this week, is enough: countries with Black and Hispanic people are “shit-holes”. It is exactly in these countries that so many missionaries of deep faith, from denominations literally doing the Lord’s work that I support, are most invested. They are there because of poverty and deprivation--what Dr. King referred to as "disinheritance"--and to save souls. They are there because they know from Christ’s teachings that each of us is valuable, each of us has something to offer, each of us with the proper support and direction can make change in God’s image and name.
Dr. King wrote that white moderates, including clergymen, posed a challenge comparable to that of white supremacists, in the sense that, "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection." King asserted that the white church needed to take a principled stand or risk being "dismissed as an irrelevant social club."
Evangelicals were moved this week to speak out. In a joint statement they expressed cautious concern about the President's behavior and leadership. This is an important step, one that should be followed and solidified with decisive action, with mobilization.
It is unlikely the President will change; he knows what he's doing and chooses his words deliberately, in my view. We need more, much more, from leaders in the faith community who hold dear the teaching…