Hey, look out the window, over there, that's where queers get married and equal rights are for everybody! You don't want to end up like Massachusetts, do you? (Drumbeat of Activist Judges...Activist Judges...Activist Judges...)
Well, Sunday in the poor, Black and Latino North Philadelphia, former okay football Eagle Herbert H. Lusk II sat with devils left and right as his Greater Exodus Baptist Church was the scene of Justice Sunday III. This third in a series of arch-conservative rallies ostensibly was to support U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
By all measures, it was some dog and pony show. It featured long-term bigots Jerry Falwell and Rick Santorum, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. niece, Alveda King.
We were one of the bugbears last Sunday in a fundy Philly flock. At the pro-Alito rally, Blacks and bygone bigots joined to denounce liberals, slam abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and sing.
As the Washington Post wrote of Lusk:
Citing the harsh criticism he has faced from liberals and other black leaders, Lusk said: "I've been called a sellout. I've been called an Uncle Tom, and the New York Times called me a maverick in the black church." Lusk said he welcomed being called a maverick if it means supporting "the original intent of God Almighty" in opposition to abortion and the "redefinition of marriage. . . . Brothers and sisters, we will not go down without a fight."Odd woman out on the dais surely was Ms. King. She has a law degree, and is strongly anti-abortion and anti-gay. She is the author of such inspirational works as I Don't Want Your Man, I Want My Own: A Collection of Testimonies. Of course, there is that implicit association with he uncle.
However, the moral and political anomaly of her presence was not lost on Salon, which reported, "But what Alveda King and the other participants at Justice Sunday ached to overcome wasn't discrimination or poverty or disenfranchisement. Rather, they spoke of overcoming decades of progressive jurisprudence — the very jurisprudence that provided legal support to the civil rights movement."
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, Coretta Scott King, told Reuters eight years ago where she stood:
I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.You have to ask yourself what would bring Black Americans to support noted arch-conservatives and former or perhaps present racists and homophobes. Salon, the Washington Post and others have noted that Lusk endorsed George Bush at the 2000 Republican Convention. His Greater Exodus Baptist Church subsequently got $1 million in George the Lesser's faith-based initiative grant for its social programs.
Yet, he and some others seem more intrigued by a theocracy that incorporates their petty morals. After all, the white consevatives are not calling for them to lose their rights. It's the I've-got-mine-give-me-more pattern. Indifference to the rights and welfare of other is sad indeed.
Infamous Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum played the "activist judges" card. While he did not cite specific Massachusetts or U.S. court decisions, he did say, "The only way to restore this republic our founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito. Unfortunately, the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee seem poised to drag these hearings into the gutter, so they can continue their far left judicial activism on the Supreme Court."
He sat next to Rev. Jerry Falwell, literally and figuratively. They both attempted to muddle the distinctions between church and state. By all accounts, the audience loved it.
Salon also wrote that Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council and the event's host, responded to ministers praying together at end with, "Black Americans, white Americans. Christians, standing together."
The cynicism of these clowns using Black Americans to further their cause is appalling. It is less surprising that they managed to find one King family member to join them. It is just as cynical that Lusk will plug into the Bush and fundy power grid.
That has happened on a local level in places like Boston, where a few anti-gay, anti-SSM Black ministers pretend that their befuddled pronouncements speak for not only all Black ministers but for their congregants. Philly or Beantown, we have yet to accept the morality of trying to withhold rights or the constitutionality of attempting to legislate narrow aims of one religion.
Shame! is not strong enough.