View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thank you, Dr. King

When we bought our house in Gates in 1994, we got a surprise.

The deed said that the house could not be sold to African Americans.

Our lawyer pointed out that a number of older deeds did contain provisions like that, but that civil rights laws and court rulings had long since voided such restrictions.

But it still remains in the original deed, a reminder of a darker time in our history.

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for bringing some light into our darkness. He fought - through nonviolence - to overcome racism and to promote social justice for people of all races in this country. He was jailed, his life and family threatened, he was dogged by the FBI, and ultimately he sacrificed his life in the name of that fight.

He deserves to be honored.

So do all the other people in this country who have fought to overcome prejudice.

We have made progress.

Jesse Jackson made serious runs for the Democratic Party nomination back in 2004 and 2008, and one of the leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic Party nomination in 2008 - at least in this early phase of the race - is Barack Obama, and his race is never cited.

In 1960, John Kennedy was opposed by some folks in his quest for the presidency just because he was Catholic. Now the only times Catholic politicians face opposition because of their religion is when fellow Catholics protest because the politicians go against church teachings on issues like abortion.

I remember in 1984 even some long-time Democrats refused to vote for the Mondale-Ferraro ticket because of they could not accept the idea of a woman president or vice president. Now we have two women - Nancy Pelosi and Condoleezza Rice - in direct line for the presidency under the succession rules, and Hilary Clinton is a leading candidate for the 2008 Democratic Party nomination (opponents hold other issues against her, not her gender).

We are not perfect. Racism still exists. There are still social inequities. There are still class and economic divides.

Indeed, there is now a prejudice against Muslims, or anyone "tainted" by the Muslim label (some right-wing folks are trying to swift boat Obama, for example, by saying that although he is outspoken about his Christian beliefs and is a regular churchgoer, he, gasp, attended a Muslim school for a short time as a child and that his father - who deserted the family when Obama was 2 - may have been Muslim.)

Still, we are better off now than we were when King challenged us to make his dream a reality.

I am grateful for that.

Thank you, Dr. King.


Anonymous Jay said...

Dr. King Deserves Better in Charlotte, NC!

8:35 AM  

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