Sunday, January 25, 2009

A few words about politics

I do not like to debate politics. It is one of those subjects I leave alone. What is the saying? Never discuss politics and religion in polite company.  Well, once in a while I will violate that rule. This is one of those times I chose not to follow that social convention.
I was totally aghast and taken aback at the benediction for Pres. Barrack Obama's inauguration. Generally, a prayer is an opportunity to commune with our Heavenly Father. It is an occasion where we can ask for God's help and guidance. It is NOT a venue for a sermon or an appropriate place to make social commentary. However, the Reverend Joseph Lowery chose not to follow that standard of practice. Instead he said the following:
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."
Are you kidding me? Was he having a senior moment or was that a ginormous brain fart? I did a double take. I literally asked myself, "Did I hear that right? Did he really just say that?"
I am appalled that at our first African American president's inauguration he would utter those very divisive words. And moreover, that the good Reverend felt it acceptable to do so during a prayer to our Heavenly Father. Oh my goodness! I know that he is a celebrated civil rights activist, but he overstepped his bounds. In my opinion, the inauguration is supposed to be an event that brings together all the differing ideologies; it is a new beginning. But, his words felt like a slap in the face. 
Didn't the white embrace the "right" by choosing to elect an African American man to the highest political office in the United States? Didn't the fact that an African American man had won such an election demonstrate that equality has finally been obtained? I realize I am simplifying the situation, but the United States electorate is made up of black, brown, yellow, red and white men and women; together as a united nation, we elected this man to this office. I would never use those colors to describe a segment of the population. It is demeaning and racist. 
I am both confused and frustrated that there wasn't more of an outcry against his words. Here in our politically correct society, a person can get slammed for the slightest slip of the tongue. But, I feel like allowances were made for his deliberately planned words; that the offensive nature of his comments were overlooked. I feel his prayer was not only grossly mischaracterizes those segments of society he portrays but it demeans the sacred nature of prayer.
Well, there it is! That's my opinion. Take it or leave it, that's how I feel. I am colorblind. Race has nothing to do with how I view a person. What is more important is what is on the inside. As the scriptures say: "... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)." We are exhorted to do the same. As a man of God, the Reverend should have concluded his prayer with something more uplifting and inspiring. Maybe he should have asked our Heavenly Father to help us join our hearts together; he should have simply invoked divine guidance on us all during this time of war and economic difficulties.
 As a society we have made tremendous advances in civil rights since the 1950's and '60's. In addition, caucasians have made significant improvements in the nature of racism and bigotry. Sure, we can still find those haters out there, but they are in the vast minority; they are not in the majority an more.  I am disappointed that this courageous civil rights reformer hasn't kept up with the social changes. Perhaps, Rev. Lowery should humble himself and ask for a change of heart?
I apologize if I have caused any offense. None is meant. If you disagree with me, I welcome any comments or critique you may have. I am an equal opportunity blogger!  

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