Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 1963)
“He was an apostle of love.”--
Ossie Davis, speaking the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated, April 5, 1968, in Central Park, New York.
Man, have we fallen a long way since then.
You'll know what I mean if you check out Friday's rally outside the Isabella County Prosecutor's office. ("Activists protest sluggish pace of CMU noose probe").
Witness the looks on the faces of these men: clergymen, mind you, every one of whom is going to tell you he considers Martin Luther King, Jr. his mentor and model.
What a joke. What a heartbreak.
(All photos below except for that of Malik Shabazz are by Jeffrey LaMonde / Special to Detroit News)
Gaze into this face of love:
Meet Rev. William Revely.
Sure enough, he calls himself “a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King.” He is pastor of Holy Hope Heritage Baptist Church in Detroit, But though a Baptist he somehow straddles Christianity and radical Islam as an active supporter of the public antics of of Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan.
(If you're a Christian and you think that’s not possible, Rev. Revely also supports Rev. Moon’s Unification Church, as revealed in his testimony at a Moon even last January, where “He commented that Jesus himself was not a Christian and that it is Rev. Moon’s movement that is truly bringing all peoples of faith together.”)
Apparently, all microphones lead to the one true religion. But what I want to know is, what Divine Principle is it that makes his face look this way?
And the text of this Sunday’s sermon by Rev. Revely?: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:19,20
Then there’s Pastor Maurice L. Rudds, Greater Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. He also belongs to Rev. Charles Williams II’s National Council for Community Empowerment. According to his bio on their website, Rev. Rudds has a “Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Thought from William Tyndale College,” (so at least we know he’s had some exposure to Christian thought. There's also this interesting personal detail: “God has given Pastor Rudds a big heart with the love of Jesus for everyone.”
Okay, almost everyone. This is Pastor Rudds showing off what "a big heart with the love of Jesus for everyone" looks like.
The stated purpose of this rally was to pressure a prosecutor into charging someone with a criminal offense, regardless of what the evidence shows or whether or not a crime has been committed. You know, the kind of thing Jesus was always doing.
“We live in America,” Pastor Rudds is reportedly shouting. We're in America. That explains all this. We live in America, where we prosecute first, answer questions later, or better yet, skip all that facts and evidence stuff all together. But wasn’t it the prosecute-first America, the rush to judgment America, that lynching America--wasn't that the America that all those Freedom Riders were striving to change during the civil rights struggle?
By the way, we've checked out Pastor Rudds’s scripture text for this Sunday's message: “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.” Psalm 94:20,21
Then we have Rev. R. Chester Gulley of New Covenant Baptist Church in Benton Harbor, who explains why evidence suggesting the student is guilty of only a harmless prank done without any ill intent, or even racial awareness, must never be allowed to play any role in the decision to rush forward with the maximum jeopardy of prosecution and criminal penalties.
“I don't hate the young man who hung the noose,” said Gulley,....But we cannot allow it to go unprosecuted.”
And if one were to press the point with Reverend Gulley and ask, “Why can’t the noose incident go unprosecuted, especially if you don’t hate him, and there’s no evidence that he hates you or yours? Moreover, there's the lack of a hateful motive that places this beyond prosecution, not to mention the even more insurmountable problem of the lack of any victim. (Or what Bruce Springsteen might complain about during concerts as “no habeas corpus delicti”)).
“Why not?” retorts Rev. Gulley. Because, “This type of behavior is not accepted and will not be tolerated as a joke.”
So now we show we don’t tolerate jokes by putting people in jail? If that’s our legal standard, the people writing The Simpsons for the last five years wouldn’t be eligible for parole until 2039.
All I can say is, if Christian love can be hog-tied by all these conditions, I’m asking for a refund on my Red Letter Bible.
And then again wasn't it so fitting when Martin Luther King once remarked about his enemies: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.”
Oh, and Reverend Gulley’s Bible message this Sunday? Open to I Corinthians 13: 5,6: “Charity is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ”
If you don’t like the “intolerable joke” explanation as an excuse for an unfounded felony prosecution, there’s always the “intolerable intolerance” explanation, if you care to wrap your head around that one.
The CMU organizer of the rally, senior Kierre Majors, a 21-year-old elementary education student, (and leader of campus group Students Against Discrimination), insists that, if the prosecutor doesn’t charge this student with the harshest crime, and expose him to the harshest criminal penalty available, “it sends a message to us that we're tolerating intolerance, that we’re supporting this young man. And I don't want that message sent to the student body.”
Fine. Let's send this message instead:
To all CMU students: anyone caught tolerating intolerance, or engaging in intolerance, will not be tolerated, and further, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law--AND PROBABLY BEYOND.
The online profile for Students Against Discrimination says, “Our ultimate goal is to be happy by promoting diversity, equality and justice.”
We know that wherever people's happiness is at stake, we know we're not allowed to question whatever it takes to get them there, (especially if it involves a partial-birth abortion or trying to get some kid thrown in jail for unauthorized congress with a sanctified symbol of the struggle.)
But it doesn’t sound like the happiness thing is exactly working in her case. On the other hand, Ms. Majors isn't exactly promoting justice in this case, is she?
And, si bien sur, where would any self-respecting Black church affiliated civil-rights protest be without a visit from Malik Shabazz, general counsel of the New Black Panther Movement, who showed up Friday to tell protesters: “The battle is everywhere. We must march on, and we must stand together.”
“No Justice--No Peace®” indeed.
For those of you unfamiliar with him, Malik Shabazz is as close to a complete self-invention as we’re ever going to see.
He stole his name from Malcolm X, (his real name is Paris Lewis); he belongs to an organization stolen from Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, he preaches a religion stolen from radical Islam and The Twilight Zone, and he sports a black uniform stolen from Himmler’s SS. The only thing genuine about him is the hate.
Foreseeing such creatures as Shabazz, Martin Luther King once said this:
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
A sentiment I'm sure all of us can recognize in Shabazz's April 2002 speech at a New Black Panthers Party demonstration outside the B'nai B'rith building in Washington, D.C.:
“Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”
I ask you--what is there not to be inspired by in this Heaven-sent Apostle of Love? And I’m puzzled that the Southern Poverty Law Center would condemn the NBPP itself as “fundamentally racist."
Then there was the time Shabazz, (who, as general counsel for the NBPP is known in the ranks as “our attorney at war”), refused to apologize for his unjust support for the lynching of the Duke lacrosse students, even after they were vindicated by the North Carolina state attorney general as “innocent.” Instead, he blamed Nifong (whose name he kept pronouncing “Neefong” as a sign of disrespect), for his incompetence in framing up and jailing the innocent students.
When challenged by Michelle Malkin on the Bill O’Reilly show about his refusal to own up to being so wrong (sort of like right now) about the Duke case, he responded by calling Michelle “political prostitute.”
(Hint: This is how a man acts when he believes he is immune from public accountability for anything he says. Please spend some time thinking about that).
Ms. Majors--she of the intolerance of intolerance--was only slightly chagrined when she learned one of her key speakers holds an advanced degree in intolerance, saying “she was stunned when asked about Shabazz's status as a leader of a known hate group. ‘It makes me aware of something I wasn't aware of before,” Majors said. ‘[But at least] He did not get up there and speak about hate.’” (“Leader of hate group addresses rally opposing hate at Central Michigan University”).
Neither did the student you’re so determined to lynch, Ms. Majors. But symbolism always takes priority over susbtance. Or so you’ve all been lecturing us for the last 40 years. What message does Shabazz at your parade send?
Of course, we've already met the Rev. Charles Williams II, who’s doing his best to ride herd on all these sharp-elbowed Sharptonistas so he can take credit for the win. Here he is in a Detroit News photo as he “shouts up to Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick's office, while Robert S. Womack, of Grand Rapids, points his flag during the rally… accusing Burdick of dragging his feet in pressing charges in the CMU noose incident.”
Though Williams's main mentor is Rev. Al Sharpton, he also has a framed photo of Martin Luther King that hangs in an honored place on his wall just below his gigantic Sharpton “No Justice!--No Peace!®”) poster. As a tribute to MLK, Williams has been working on his own version of the “I Have A Dream” speech, in which he declaims, in part:
I have a dream that one day the state of Michigan will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands against little white boys who tie play nooses that aren’t intended for nothing--and throw they’re asses into jail. Oh, wait, yeah, and what was that other thing that, oh yeah--and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
Reverend King, please send help.