What Would MLK Do?
Obama is not a given.


Martin Luther King Jr. gets invoked for political gain just about as often as Jesus does, and, for obvious reasons, I can certainly see where folks might simply assume that if King were alive today, he would be a Barack Obama supporter.

Maybe; maybe not.

Of course, it’s pure speculation on anybody’s part, since King isn’t here. But I don’t consider it any more audacious of me to point out the differences that King would most likely have with Obama’s positions, than for anyone else automatically to assume that King would vote for Obama.

Trinity United Church of Christ
I’ve been to King’s church in Atlanta. I never got to see King preach in person, but I’ve been there since, and I’ve read a number of books on King, as well as a good number of his published sermons. I’ve worshipped in quite a number of predominantly black churches. I’ve also visited Obama’s church of 20 years, Trinity United Church of Christ. And I don’t believe I’ve ever been in any Christian church that was as far afield of traditional Christianity as is Trinity United.

I simply cannot, for the life of me, imagine King standing in his pulpit, hollering profanities aimed at the United States of America.

Jeremiah Wright:

God bless America? No, no, no!
I say, God damn America!
For killing innocent people.
It says that right here in the Bible.

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

If I wandered into a church where David Duke was trying to pass himself off as a Christian minister, and Duke was hurling profanity at the Jews, as Wright does at white people (occasionally singling out Jews, as well), I don’t think it would take me five minutes to make a character judgment, rise to my feet, and walk straight out the door. How long would it take anyone of good will to decide simply not to stay? Wright’s gospel of hate, envy, greed, unforgivingness, and utter lack of personal accountability is, I believe, the antithesis of anything King stood for.

Obama claims to have read and studied a great deal about the civil-rights movement. But he has evidently missed King’s Christian message of love for all, including even the “white devils” spurned by Wright. King said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” These words could have saved Barack Obama 20 years of listening to Wright and using him as a spiritual mentor. (They could have saved him a bundle of money, too. Obama gave tens of thousands of dollars to Wright’s church.)

In a recent Newsweek article, “Finding His Faith,” Obama answers questions regarding his attendance at Trinity. He now says he and Michelle really didn’t attend Trinity very often at all. “At the beginning, we went fairly frequently . . . probably went two or three times a month. When we had Malia, our first child, we went less frequently, and that probably continued for a couple of years, just because — I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of taking young, squirming children to church, but it’s not easy. . . . As they got older, we would go back a little more frequently, probably twice a month.”

Unfortunately, Senator Obama gave a vastly different answer to the same question when he was running for his U.S. Senate seat. Here’s what he told Cathleen Falsani, in a face-to-face interview for the Chicago Sun-Times. In March 2004, Obama said this about his church attendance:

FALSANI: Do you still attend Trinity?
OBAMA: Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service. Ever been there? Good service. I actually wrote a book called Dreams from My Father, it’s kind of a meditation on race. There’s a whole chapter on the church in that, and my first visits to Trinity.


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