Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rick Warren's Prayer, Martin Luther King's Dream, and Barack Obama's Character

There has been lots of controversy and criticism coming from both sides concerning "America's pastor" Rick Warren accepting Barack Obama's invitation to pray at his inauguration. Do I think Rick Warren should have accepted the invitation - No! But that is not what I want to discuss here today. A lot of people a lot smarter than I am have made plenty of comment about this and I do not feel the need to go over ground already covered. For good biblical insight I recommend you read Al Mohler's article concerning Warren's invitation here.

Personally, I was stunned that Rick Warren didn't think Obama's inauguration was worthy of his best Hawaiin shirt. You may even notice that Rick Warren's voice strikes an uncanny resemblance to that of Dr. Evil (could they be one in the same . . . I've never seen them in a room together . . . c'mon Rick say "one million dollars" . . . naaahh!!). But what struck me even more was the content of Rick Warren's prayer. Thankfully, he didn't sissy boy out on praying in the name of Jesus (STOP PRESS - actually he did wimp out, see this post). But I want to zero in on another comment during the prayer that I believe reveals a lot about Rick Warren's theology and how it is informed by ideology rather than vice versa. Watch and see if you can spot it . . .

Did you notice Rick Warren's reference to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?

"We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven."

Dr. King was a great activist who fought the unbiblical racial segregation in the USA during the 1960's. Probably the cornerstone of Dr. King's platform (and his most famous speech) was that he had "A Dream". What was his dream? The essence of it was summed up during that famous speech when he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" (emphasis mine).

One would assume judging by Warren's statement "that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven" that he sees the election of Barack Obama as a realisation, at least in part, of Dr. King's dream. The context for Warren's claim (which he is in no position to make anyway - we only know that heaven rejoices over sinners who repent) is based upon Obama's African ancestry. Just stop and think about it for a moment - is it the realisation of Dr. King's dream? Is Warren basing his comment on the color of Obama's skin or the content of his character?

So we've just had an election where many black people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. Many women voted for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. Many mormons voted for Romney because of his mormonism. Many soldiers voted for McCain because he is a war hero. And scores of people with less than a black belt in karate voted for Huckabee because Chuck Norris said so. Does modern America really evaluate people on the content of their character? Legislatively much has changed, but attitudes seem to be hard to sway through policy.

We can only speculate as to whether Martin Luther King would have endorsed Barack Obama as President. But we can at least examine this in the light of the creeds Dr. King professed. In 1963 writing from a jail in Birmingham Alabama he once wrote:

"A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law."

If Dr. King's evaluation of the content of a man's character was based upon men living by these stated values and furthermore as a champion of those who are oppressed and have no voice (black people were not allowed to vote at that time) then one can only hope that Dr. King would have also been a defender of the unborn. It is interesting to note that the niece of Dr. King (Dr. Alveda King) recently said:

"the killing of a quarter of the black population of the US has not been from the lynch mobs of her childhood days, but from abortionists, “who plant their killing centres in minority neighbourhoods and prey upon women who think they have no hope." “The great irony,” she said, “is that abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of.”

Watch this video and ask yourself if the election of Barack Obama is the realisation of Dr. King's dream . . .

Go On To Read The Next Post On Rick Warren's Inauguration Prayer

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