I want to turn your attention to the man who will make Rick Warren look very, very small at the inauguration — the civil rights giant who will deliver the benediction, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery. On February 7, 2006, the pro-equality Lowery bid farewell to Coretta Scott King, another icon of the civil rights movement who was a long supporter of LGBT rights.
REVEREND JOSEPH LOWERY: What a family reunion. Rosa and Martin reminiscing, they had just begun to talk, when Martin seemed not to listen. He started to walk. The wind had whispered in his ear. “I believe somebody is almost here. Excuse me, Rosa,” Martin said as he did depart, his soles on fire, he just couldn’t wait. His spirit leaped with joy as he moved toward the pearly gates. Glory, glory, hallelujah. After forty years, almost forty years, together at last, together at last, thank God Almighty, together at last!
Thank you, Coretta. Didn’t she carry her grief with dignity? Her growing influence with humility? 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.
Well, Coretta had harsh critics. Some no one could please. But she paid them no mind. She kept speaking. As we get older, or so I’m told, we listen in to heaven like the prophets of old. I heard Martin and Coretta say, “do us a favor, Joe, those four little children I spoke of in 1963, they are fine adults now, as all can see. They already know but tell them again. We love them so dear. Assure them we will always be near. Their troubles to bless and sanctify to them their deepest distress. Tell them we believe in them as we know you do. We know their faith in god and their love for each other will see them through. Assure them at the end of the tunnel awaits god’s light and we are confident they will always strive for the right. Tell them don’t forget to remember that we are as near as their prayer—and never as far and we can rest in peace because they know who and whose they are.”
What a family reunion. Thank you, Lord. Just the other day I thought I heard you say Coretta, my child, come on home. You’ve earned your rest, your body is weary. You have done your best. Her Witness and character always strong. Her spirit, her melody from heaven’s song, her beauty warms like the rays of the sun. Good night, my sister. Well done, well done.
Tim Russo underscores just how badly Rick Warren will clearly be out of his league once Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery takes to the microphone.
If I were Rick Warren, I’d have the nuts to turn down the invitation to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration, simply based on decency. But even further, if I were Rick Warren, in the interests of my own ego, I’d be smart enough to avoid comparison of my Celebrity Driven Life with that of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who’ll be giving the benediction after Barack’s speech.
…Rick Warren will never be the man that Joseph Lowery was 50 years ago, when he founded the SCLC, or the man who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 43 years ago, let alone the man Lowery is today. Rick Warren would never have the courage, the stature, or the righteousness to sit across from George Wallace and demand a jelly donut, let alone his own civil rights.
…Rick Warren is about to get steamrolled, like a gnat against a windshield, on the biggest stage of the last 50 years by a man who helped shape those 50 years, and to whom a guy like Rick Warren is lint on his suit.
In 1965, King named Lowery to deliver the demands of a planned Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights to then-Alabama Governor George Wallace. In an event that shocked the nation, police tear-gassed and clubbed the peaceful marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge. The brutality of what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” focused the nation’s attention on the extreme measures used to prevent black citizens from exercising their constitutional right to vote, leading Congress to enact the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Rick Warren with his bigotry, small-mindedness and downright ignorance isn’t fit to be anywhere near the podium where Lowery will speak.