Politics & Policy

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.

These answers are clearly in conflict — and call into question either his memory or his veracity. Would King forgive and forget Obama’s “memory lapses,” and cast a vote for him? My own hunch is that, unlike Jeremiah Wright, King would forgive — but I’m doubtful that he would trust our nation to a man who couldn’t even keep his stories straight.

School Choice

If Barack Obama were a candidate committed to genuine change for disadvantaged Americans, offering them a choice of better schools for their children would be a no-brainer issue for him.

Indeed, at one point last fall, Obama appeared to be at least somewhat amenable to parental choice, saying, “Let’s see if this experiment [school vouchers] works, and if it does, then whatever my preconceptions, my attitude is you do what works for the kids.” He even added: “I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn. We’re losing several generations of kids and something has to be done.”

For a minute there, Senator Obama seemed to have it right: Kids come first — above teacher unions, above party fidelity, above partisan politics. But no sooner had these remarks been publicized than his campaign issued the take-back, which has become such a common Obama practice that it hardly occasions comment anymore.

The campaign’s “Response to Misleading Reports Concerning Senator Obama’s Position on Vouchers” said, “Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers. . . . Throughout his career, he has voted against voucher proposals and voiced concern for siphoning off resources from our public schools.” The statement also asserted — perhaps to reassure those teacher unions, who provide so much of Obama’s campaign money — that the candidate’s education agenda “does not include vouchers, in any shape or form.”

An altogether inconvenient reality for Barack Obama is that school vouchers do indeed work. The Milwaukee school voucher program for low-income parents is the largest program of its type and has been operating since 1990. According to a recently completed study on the program’s effectiveness, about 64 percent of Milwaukee students who used vouchers to enter ninth grade at ten private schools in 1999 graduated from high school four years later, compared with 36 percent of students in public schools. The study’s author, Jay P. Greene, said it adds to a growing body of research demonstrating that school vouchers have led to improved academic outcomes for students, particularly low-income and minority students in failing school systems.

Yet Barack Obama has closed the door on the possibility of his support for such programs.

Frances Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, believes that children and the wishes of their parents should have higher priority than teacher unions:

Studies show that a majority of black parents wish to have school-choice scholarships so they can have the same school options for their children as are available to our more affluent citizens. Senator Barack Obama opposes school-choice programs because he puts the special interest of the teachers’ unions above the interest of poor black children trapped in failing schools. Obama even expresses disdain for successful charter schools, calling them a mere “experiment.” Obama is so wedded to the far left-wing of the Democratic Party that he is willing to ignore a basic reality — competition is the key to success in educating our children. Obama is . . . mired in the liberal mind set of the teachers’ unions. . . . Money for education belongs to the people, not the buildings controlled by the teachers’ unions.

King demonstrated, throughout his public life, a stalwart commitment not only to the principle of non-violence, but also to a set of values that put the needs of real people above politics and personal expediency. Would he approve an ideology that condemns children to futures of poverty and dependence out of a misplaced loyalty to powerful unions and their campaign money?

Abortion

Would MLK endorse abortion rights?

Perhaps if Barack Obama took the opportunity to hear Alveda King, MLK’s niece, speak on the genocide that abortion has inflicted on the black community, he might have a change of heart; but as it stands now, Obama has embraced the most radical pro-abortion views of any post-Roe presidential candidate. Considering Obama’s claim to share King’s Christian faith, this seems quite extraordinary.

As Alveda King passionately explains, the crime of abortion is quite akin to slavery: “How can the ‘Dream’ survive if we murder our children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. In the hands of the mother is the fate of that child — whether that child lives or dies.”

Just as the slave was legally considered the property of the slave-owner, who therefore had legal authority over the life or death of the slave, so does the infamous Roe decision grant this right to the owner of the womb, in which an equal-in-all-manner, merely smaller, human being resides. The Latin word, fetus, translates simply to “little person.”

And just as African slaves were once considered not “real” people, and therefore unworthy of constitutional protection, so the decision in Roe treats the child in his mother’s womb as less than a “real” person. It was Christian abolitionists who insisted that slaves were indeed human beings, worthy of protection, just as many Christians today insist that human beings at all stages of development deserve constitutional protection. Whether on a plantation or within a womb, human beings are human beings, plain and simple. No genius required to comprehend this fact.

For more than a decade, abortion numbers among whites have been falling, but numbers for blacks continue to rise. MLK would certainly take notice of this.

As the Guttmacher Institute (statistical arm of Planned Parenthood) confirms, the abortion rate among blacks is three times that of whites and twice that of Hispanics. Abortion has become an incomprehensible, self-inflicted wound for the black community. As Alveda King so passionately reminds us: “Oh God, what would Martin Luther King Jr., who dreamed of having his four children judged by the content of their characters, not just the color of their skins, do if he’d lived to see the contents of thousands [actually, millions] of children’s skulls emptied into the bottomless caverns of the abortionists’ pits?”

Barack Obama has brazenly stated publicly that if one of his daughters were to make a “mistake” and become pregnant inconveniently, then he would “not want her punished with a baby” (emphasis mine). In viewing children as a punishment, Barack Obama seems not to have read his Bible: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. They are his reward” (Psalm 127:3).

Obama has a 100-percent positive voting rating from Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States, and the largest beneficiary of tax dollars for female “reproductive health.”

Obama even voted against a state version of the Infants Born Alive Protection Act — which would guarantee the right of medical care to babies who have survived attempted abortions. Alveda King asks, “Who among us is so cold-blooded as to vote to deny health care to a baby born alive during a late-term abortion and allow that baby to die?” Apparently, Barack Obama is.

This pro-abortion attitude is in direct contradiction to the values of King, who once stated flatly: “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.”

King, the Leader vs. Barack, the Politician

By all measures, Martin Luther King Jr. was a true leader. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is just another politician — one who has demonstrated far more regard for the interests of teacher unions than for the children they are paid to serve, far more regard for the pro-abortion lobby than for the future of the black community, and far less good sense than the average person has when it comes to picking a spiritual mentor.

The positions and values of Senator Obama stand mightily against those espoused, and what’s more, practiced, by Martin Luther King Jr. Based on all these considerations, I think it is quite probable that King, were he alive today, would not vote for Barack Obama.

Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected since its initial posting.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is an independent citizen journalist and a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at www.kyleanneshiver.com.

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