Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Disgusting displays of disrespect

A funeral is a complex time, a time to remember and reflect a lost one...To celebrate a person's life even as we mourn their passing. No matter what faith, and no matter what traditions, it is never truly happy, even a wake is a slightly bittersweet celebration.

So its no surprise that I found the standing ovation and cheering for the partisan comments at Coretta Scott King's service to be completely out of place.

From the drudgereport:

KING FUNERAL TURNS POLITICAL: BUSH BASHED BY FORMER PRESIDENT, REVEREND

Tue Feb 07 2006 15:49:48 ET

Today's memorial service for civil rights activist Coretta Scott King -- billed as a "celebration" of her life -- turned suddenly political as one former president took a swipe at the current president, who was also lashed by an outspoken black pastor!

The outspoken Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, ripped into President Bush during his short speech, ostensibly about the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.

"She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," Lowery said.

The mostly black crowd applauded, then rose to its feet and cheered in a two-minute-long standing ovation.

A closed-circuit television in the mega-church outside Atlanta showed the president smiling uncomfortably.

"But Coretta knew, and we know," Lowery continued, "That there are weapons of misdirection right down here," he said, nodding his head toward the row of presidents past and present. "For war, billions more, but no more for the poor!"

The crowd again cheered wildly. Former President Jimmy Carter later swung at Bush as well, not once but twice. As he talked about the Kings, he said: "It was difficult for them then personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretaps." The crowd cheered as Bush, under fire for a secret wiretapping program he ordered after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, again smiled weakly.

Later, Carter said Hurricane Katrina showed that all are not yet equal in America. Some black leaders have blamed Bush for the poor federal response, and rapper Kayne West said
that Bush "hates" black people.

Why is it that some politicians cannot find it within themselves to let a solemn occasion just be that: A solemn occasion. This was a funeral service, not a stump speech. I might expect this from a known activist like Al Sharpton, but I find it hard to forgive a former President and Minister, both of whom must know how to conduct themselves in public...and it's funny I should mention it, but according to NewsMax the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton both took a few shots as well.

No instead we are treated to grandstanding and showboats. Is the fact that the president and first lady are and are unlikely to respond that tempting of a target?

Apparently.

compare their comments to Bush's:

To the King Family, distinguished guests and fellow citizens. We gather in God's house, in God's presence, to honor God's servant, Coretta Scott King. Her journey was long, and only briefly with a hand to hold. But now she leans on everlasting arms. I've come today to offer the sympathy of our entire nation at the passing of a woman who worked to make our nation whole.

Americans knew her husband only as a young man. We knew Mrs. King in all the seasons of her life -- and there was grace and beauty in every season. As a great movement of history took shape, her dignity was a daily rebuke to the pettiness and cruelty of segregation. When she wore a veil at 40 years old, her dignity revealed the deepest trust in God and His purposes. In decades of prominence, her dignity drew others to the unfinished work of justice. In all her years, Coretta Scott King showed that a person of conviction and strength could also be a beautiful soul. This kind and gentle woman became one of the most admired Americans of our time. She is rightly mourned, and she is deeply missed.

Some here today knew her as a girl, and saw something very special long before a young preacher proposed. She once said, "Before I was a King, I was a Scott." And the Scotts were strong, and righteous, and brave in the face of wrong. Coretta eventually took on the duties of a pastor's wife, and a calling that reached far beyond the doors of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

In that calling, Dr. King's family was subjected to vicious words, threatening calls in the night, and a bombing at their house. Coretta had every right to count the cost, and step back from the struggle. But she decided that her children needed more than a safe home -- they needed an America that upheld their equality, and wrote their rights into law. And because this young mother and father were not intimidated, millions of children they would never meet are now living in a better, more welcoming country.

In the critical hours of the civil rights movement, there were always men and women of conscience at the heart of the drama. They knew that old hatreds ran deep. They knew that nonviolence might be answered with violence. They knew that much established authority was against them. Yet they also knew that sheriffs and mayors and governors were not ultimately in control of events; that a greater authority was interested, and very much in charge. (Applause.)

The God of Moses was not neutral about their captivity. The God of Isaiah and the prophets was still impatient with injustice. And they knew that the Son of God would never leave them or forsake them.

But some had to leave before their time -- and Dr. King left behind a grieving widow and little children. Rarely has so much been asked of a pastor's wife, and rarely has so much been taken away. Years later, Mrs. King recalled, "I would wake up in the morning, have my cry, then go in to them. The children saw me going forward." Martin Luther King, Jr. had preached that unmerited suffering could have redemptive power.

Little did he know that this great truth would be proven in the life of the person he loved the most. Others could cause her sorrow, but no one could make her bitter. By going forward with a strong and forgiving heart, Coretta Scott King not only secured her husband's legacy, she built her own. (Applause.) Having loved a leader, she became a leader. And when she spoke, America listened closely, because her voice carried the wisdom and goodness of a life well lived.

In that life, Coretta Scott King knew danger. She knew injustice. She knew sudden and terrible grief. She also knew that her Redeemer lives. She trusted in the name above every name. And today we trust that our sister Coretta is on the other shore -- at peace, at rest, at home. (Applause.) May God bless you, and may God bless our country.

Say what you will about Bush, at least he knows how to be reverent. I don't care if you think he was insincere, at least he was appropriate.

It's surprising that Carter, a Sunday school teacher and Lowery, co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, seem to have forgotten the bible in their desire to take a few cheap shots:

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8