Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Class and Crass. I watched/listened to a good portion of the Corretta Scott King funeral today at lunch and found myself very moved by President Bush's speech. You might say, "well, you're a Bush supporter." Yeah, that's been true in the past, but I haven't been too happy with him lately -- and not blogging enough to set forth the reasons why. But that will wait for another day. His address, which is available here, was very moving -- it nearly brought me to tears. One of the attorneys I work with said she thought the President sounded more like a minister than a politician.

He touched on the details of her life -- including the ministry at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, addressed her family heritage ("the Scotts were strong, and righteous, and brave in the face of wrong"), noting it wasn't just "vicious words," but also having her house firebombed. And he addressed the spirit which made Coretta great, concluding:

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. 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.
I listened up to, and through, the address of Rev. Joseph Lowery, which I found very disappointing. He seemed to forget why they were there and just wanted to make points at the expense of Bush. He seemed to think it was a time for "vicious words," not the loving, forgiving, healing words of Jesus. He seemed to want to be a politician, not a minister.


But I guess he got what he wanted.

Here's a sample of a funeral address by Dr. King, the Eulogy for the Young Victims of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing, delivered at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church:
And so my friends, they did not die in vain. (Yeah) God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. (Oh yes) And history has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive. The innocent blood of these little girls may well serve as a redemptive force (Yeah) that will bring new light to this dark city. (Yeah) The holy Scripture says, "A little child shall lead them." (Oh yeah) The death of these little children may lead our whole Southland (Yeah) from the low road of man's inhumanity to man to the high road of peace and brotherhood. (Yeah, Yes) These tragic deaths may lead our nation to substitute an aristocracy of character for an aristocracy of color. The spilled blood of these innocent girls may cause the whole citizenry of Birmingham (Yeah) to transform the negative extremes of a dark past into the positive extremes of a bright future. Indeed this tragic event may cause the white South to come to terms with its conscience. (Yeah)

And so I stand here to say this afternoon to all assembled here, that in spite of the darkness of this hour (Yeah Well), we must not despair. (Yeah, Well) We must not become bitter (Yeah, That’s right), nor must we harbor the desire to retaliate with violence. No, we must not lose faith in our white brothers. (Yeah, Yes) Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.
Here is the heart of Rev. Lowery's address:
She secured his seed, nurtured his nobility she declared humanity's worth, invented their vision, his and hers, for peace in all the Earth. She opposed discrimination based on race, she frowned on homophobia and gender bias, she rejected on its face. She summoned the nations to study war no more. She embraced the wonders of a human family from shoulder to shoulder. Excuse me, Maya.

She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew, and we know there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance, poverty abound. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.

The words of a politician, not a minister.

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