Southern Religion

Toward a dream fulfilled

2009 Inaugural Celebration. Washington D.C. National Mall

This half-meter resolution image of the United States Capitol, Washington D.C. was collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on Jan. 20, 2009 to commemorate the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. The image, taken through high, whispy white clouds, shows the masses of people attending the Inaugural Celebration.

On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech in which he prophesied:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

In his inaugural address today President Barack Hussein Obama, a black man who was elected by a landslide and took office amid overwhelming public approval, called upon an attentive nation to meet the towering adversity we face:

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

In the benediction which followed, the Rev. Joseph Lowery implored God to help Americans make “choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance.” He concluded with, “Let all who do justice and love mercy say amen and say amen,” and from far and wide there came the answering amens.

We have come a long way in our journey toward fulfilling the prophetic dream of 1963.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | Comments Off on Toward a dream fulfilled

Jeremiah Wright’s Sunday

Jeremiah Wright was preaching in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

Wrote the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank of Wright’s sermon at Howard University:

Obama’s disowned minister booked himself at Howard University for church services yesterday, when he offered thousands of worshipers his thoughts on an election that turned a parishioner into a president, and a pastor into a pariah.

. . .

Now Wright, who came close to dooming Obama’s election, is resurfacing to celebrate the victory as a product of the candidate’s finding of God, which happened under Wright’s auspices.

. . .

“Barack got a new address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Wright preached. “He moved from lying on the corner of Woe Is Me and It’s ‘They’ Fault. Check him out: He now lives in a mansion on the corner of Praise God Boulevard and Thank You Jesus Avenue.”

. . .

When he stepped to the pulpit, Wright at first seemed to be avoiding talk about his former parishioner.

He related the biblical story of Jesus meeting the infirm at the Pool of Bethesda — “the blind, the lame, the paralyzed” — and curing a man who hadn’t been able to walk for 38 years. “When Jesus stepped into his story, the Lord gave him new ability,” Wright said.

He gradually extended the parable so that the man Jesus cured became Obama.

“The Lord stepped into that scrawny black kid’s story and gave him new ability,” Wright preached. “The half-Kenyan, half-Kansan said, ‘Yes, we can.’ He had a new attitude. The naysayers and the player haters said . . . you’ll never win,” but Obama was “saved by the man by the pool.”

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Comments Off on Jeremiah Wright’s Sunday

Just a few who earned the right to attend today’s inauguration but cannot

Some of us didn’t finally make it across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to see this dawn.

Let us call their names aloud.

Meteor Blades at the Daily Kos began a list:

Martin Luther King Jr. would be 80 now if he hadn’t been gunned down. Medgar Evers would be 84 if he hadn’t been gunned down. William L. Moore would be 81 if he hadn’t been gunned down. Viola Liuzzo would be 83 if she hadn’t been gunned down. Herbert Lee would be 98 if he hadn’t been gunned down. ONeal Moore would be 78 if he hadn’t been gunned down. The Rev. James Reeb would be 82 if he hadn’t been beaten to death. Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson would be 59, and Denise McNair and Cynthia Wesley would be 56 if they hadn’t been blown up in church. Fred Hampton would be 60 if he hadn’t been gunned down. The Rev. Bruce Klunder would be 72 if he hadn’t been run over by a bulldozer.

Those who I wish had lived to see this day are Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. …

I wish those three brave men were in Washington today to see how far we’ve come, how far they and thousands of martyrs like them have brought us. Not yet all the way to freedom and equality, but farther down the road than we’ve ever been.

There are so many.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Just a few who earned the right to attend today’s inauguration but cannot