While watching the Obama inauguration on television, I could not help but be struck by two very different emotions. On the one hand, I was happy for the African-American community. An African-American President in the White House is certainly a symbol of affirmation of the civil rights movement. However, on the other hand, I was also left with a feeling of disappointment when I contemplated just who is President.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched for civil rights, he was building upon a legacy set in motion by those before him. People like Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens opened the eyes of the nation to the equality of African-American people by breaking new ground. What is not often known is the class and integrity with which they broke that ground.
Let’s take Jackie Robinson for example. He endured racist insults and discrimination from his own teammates his first year in major league baseball. Instead of retaliating, Robinson put his Christian faith into action by “turning the other cheek” and pressing on. This resulted in his winning the respect of his teammates, including the players who once opposed him.
Jesse Owens also showed poise and integrity by ignoring the attacks on his character and instead showed his equality was indeed real by defeating Hitler’s athletes in the Berlin Olympic Games. His strength of character was such that even the German athletes he defeated befriended him. This is what character is all about: overcoming by enduring the pain and sacrifice of a difficult task for the greater good. It is a Biblical principal highlighted in the Gospels and in the Epistles as well.
Dr. King, a committed Christian and reverend, said in his "I Have a Dream" speech, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This is precisely the standard that we all should strive for in order to heal race relations and precisely what disappointments me about Barack Obama. Just what is the content of his character? Has anyone even bothered to ask that question?
Ask yourself why Dr. King’s dream of character was never discussed during the 2008 campaign? This is no accident I believe. When candidate Obama stated that he does not look like those men on the dollar bill, he was implying that he alone is somehow qualified to heal race relations in America. Here we see the Cult of Obama at work.
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