Union Bethel AME in New Orleans Mentioned

greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Bush Booed at Martin Luther King, [Jr.] Graveside By Randall Mikkelsen

ATLANTA (Reuters) -- In a sign of the difficulty President Bush faces as he tries to win black support for his reelection, several hundred protesters loudly booed him on Thursday as he laid a wreath at the grave of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, [Jr.].

"Bush go home" and "peace not war" the predominantly black crowd of protesters shouted from behind a barrier of buses, as Bush paid tribute to King on the 75th anniversary of his birth.

Bush wants to improve his standing among black voters this reelection year, after winning less than 10 percent of the African-American vote in 2000.

The president was accompanied by King's widow Coretta Scott King, and sister, Christine King Farris. He placed the wreath, bowed his head for a few moments, and departed without speaking or facing the protesters as the boos from the crowd increased.

The protesters carried signs with slogans like "Money for jobs and housing, not war" and "It's not a photo-op George."

A White House spokesman defended Bush's visit to the grave of the assassinated civil rights icon.

"This is about paying tribute to someone who had a tremendously positive influence in shaping the world that we live in today ... it's a solemn moment, a nice way to honor Dr. King," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

Bush was in Atlanta as a part of a two-state swing during which he also raised $2.3 million in campaign funds, trumpeted a reelection endorsement from Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller, and promoted government aid for religious charities.

King's birthday is commemorated by a national holiday on Monday, recognizing his non-violent leadership of the black civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s.

"Today, all Americans benefit from Dr. King's work and his legacy of courage, dignity, and moral clarity," Bush said in a written statement proclaiming the annual holiday.

Bush faces a stiff challenge in wooing black voters.

"Bush's policies contradict everything Dr. King stood for," said Ann Mauney, a member of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.

U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, criticized the grave visit as "yet another symbolic gesture that lacks any real substance."

"Every policy decision of the Bush Administration including the war in Iraq, healthcare, jobs, the economy, judicial nominations, housing, the environment, as well as secondary and higher education, has done nothing to strengthen Dr. King's dream," Cummings said.

Earlier on Thursday, Bush hailed King's legacy during a visit to the predominantly black Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Orleans. "I'm really not worthy to stand here, when I think about the fact that ... this is the very place where Martin Luther King stood, as well, some 42 years ago."

He also promoted his program of government aid for religious charities, which is popular among some black clergy. He announced new rules that help "faith-based" charities compete for $3.7 billion in Justice Department funding.

Bush raised $1 million at a New Orleans campaign fundraiser, and $1.3 million in Atlanta.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004


The protestors dishonor Martin Luther King's legacy by their protests against the president of the United States. If MLK were here today I don't think he would approve of the type of demonstration. Mrs. King had no problems with the visit of President Bush as he held her hand and they placed the wreath. Had President Bush not went there, he would have been critized for that. I am ashamed and distressed by the behavior of some of my black brothers and sisters toward our Chief Executive. It is right to disagree but we don't have to be disagreeable. MLK preached and practiced non-violent protest agains unjust laws. Just as they have the right to disagree, President Bush as a right to pay his respects to the memory of Dr. King even if some do not believe he is sincere. As a 20 plus year veteran of the Armed Forces, I offered my life for their right to the freedom we exercise in this nation, the freedom to disagree with the president, and to protest. But there are limits to everything.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

It's interesting how protestors selectively express their moral and political outrage. When President Clinton and NATO Commander General Wesley Clark were planning and executing their military campaign against Slobodan Milosevic in the Balkan War, demonstrations were all but silent. African embassies were routinely targeted by Al-Qeda operatives in the mid-late 90s yet "protestors" seemingly were unconcerned about the immediate threat to African life. I rarely if ever see "protestors" expressing their moral outrage about the large number of black homocides committed each year by black perpetrators in America's inner cities. Perhaps they are too busy trying to make political statements as oppossed to attending, like I do, the funerals of young black men or comforting grieving mothers, grandmothers and siblings. QED

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

President Bush by no means is my favorite president. However, I do agree that he did not deserve the behavior exhibited by the protestors. It gave no honor to Dr. King at all. I agree with Rev. Paris when he said we can agree to disagreeable, but we do not have to be disagreeable.

There is an indigineous American group that uses another form of protest. They simply stand quietly with their back turned to the person with whom they disagree. If there had to be a protest I would suggest this form. But, to be quite honest, I do not think a protest marking King's birth was the right time.

Just to let you know brother Dickens, there is a group of Philadelphia who protest the deaths of blacks struck down by crime. I cannot remember the name of the group, but they march through the streets to call attention to the tragedy. When I think of the name I will let you know.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

I apologize. I made an error in the third sentence of the first paragraph. It should read as follows:

"President Bush by no means is my favorite president. However, I do agree that he did not deserve the behavior exhibited by the protestors. It gave no honor to Dr. King at all. I agree with Rev. Paris when he said we can agree to disagree, but we do not have to be disagreeable."

I would also like to add that sometimes it pays to be quiet and to listen to what a person has to say rather than take an adversarial role from the outset. Perhaps, the protestors would have learned something had they done that and President Bush as well. That time could have been used to honor Dr. King's principals of bringing down walls and barriers rather than building them. How very sad.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

Atlantans might practice Nonviolence but have always been verbal and don't mind you knowing it. If you don't come to Atlanta with the right motive and attitude, you can be sure that we will verbally say it to you. We hold no one up as a god or goddess here.

Atlantans have a long history of speaking out. And when we speak no one can say that they don't understand what we are saying to them or have missed the point. This goes back at least to the 1870s and in some instances even earlier than this. It includes several Bishops of our church such as Henry McNeal Turner, Joseph Simeon Flipper, Henry Heard, William Fountain and Harold Irvin Bearden to name a few-- who unflinchingly spoke out from the streets and pulpits with no apology or fear.

The memory of MLK was not honored by this charade. I recall that it was King who verbally spoke out against the Administrative polices of JFK towards blacks. As a result, at least two things were accomplished by it. The first is that he became the target of that Administration's wiretap. But the second was that they realized the error of their ways and spent the rest of their short lives amending it.

All Government Officials are servants of the people, not the other way around. Thus, the people have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to speak out, redress, recall and refuse to reelect them. This is the way our founding fathers designed our government to work. So those who are so "courteous and proper" that they deny this right to others need to think again. I refuse to let you take away the rights I have gained through other's, blood sweat and tears. Which is what you are doing when you attempt to silence me and take this right from me. I, for one, will say it and I will say it "LOUD AND CLEAR."

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

Bro Robert' how do you determine one's motive and attitude except by behavior? I suggest that President Bush may have been pre-judged by the protestors.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

Robert opines -

"So those who are so "courteous and proper" that they deny this right to others need to think again. I refuse to let you take away the rights I have gained through other's, blood sweat and tears. Which is what you are doing when you attempt to silence me and take this right from me."

I don't think anyone is suggesting that protestors should not "protest" but simply reconsider the venue where you are "protesting". However, unpopular elected officials know that organized opposition will always await them when they make public appearances. Bill Clinton understood this during his Presidency and George W. Bush understands that truth today. If Hillary Clinton's obsession with the vast right-wing Christian element is true, it would be only consistent to respect their dissenting protests about her husband's Presidency. I would rather see more moral outrage and political action directed at basic local issues like crime, poorly performing local school districts, neighborhood preservation and other issues which immediately impact the quality of black life. We have local issues of paramount importance which to date generates small citizen interest. A "protest strategy" which disproportionately targets President Bush and ignores local concerns is elitist, myopic, and eventually counter-productive. QED

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

Bro Dickens you touch a sensitive nerve and you are absolutely correct. Is it possible this is a vast right/left wing conspiracy. Speaking of wings, I read somewhere recently that it taks two wings to fly, left and right.

Be blessed

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

Very good Rev Paris. God Speed

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2004

Moderation questions? read the FAQ