MLK Day 2010: Barack Obama's sermon

Yesterday, to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (today), President Obama spoke at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, where MLK himself had spoken some fifty years before.

Excerpts:

We gather here, on a Sabbath, during a time of profound difficulty for our nation and for our world. In such a time, it soothes the soul to seek out the Divine in a spirit of prayer; to seek solace among a community of believers. But we are not here just to ask the Lord for His blessing. We aren’t here just to interpret His Scripture. We’re also here to call on the memory of one of His noble servants, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even as Dr. King stood in this church, a victory in the past and uncertainty in the future, he trusted God. He trusted that God would make a way. A way for prayers to be answered. A way for our union to be perfected. A way for the arc of the moral universe, no matter how long, to slowly bend towards truth and bend towards freedom, to bend towards justice. He had faith that God would make a way out of no way.

So let us hold fast to that faith, as Joshua held fast to the faith of his fathers, and together, we shall overcome the challenges of a new age. Together, we shall seize the promise of this moment. Together, we shall make a way through winter, and we’re going to welcome the spring. Through God all things are possible.

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"It means getting in trouble"

I’ll update more in full from the Sojourners Mobilization to End Poverty Conference (M2EP) when I have more time (and I’m more rested), but for now, here’s this awesome little tidbit.

On Sunday night, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) gave the message at Shiloh Baptist Church, encouraging us to stand up for what we knew was right, namely the fight against poverty. He said, and I paraphrase, “When God tells you to do something, often it means getting in the way, it means getting in trouble.”


Well, John Lewis, a veteran of the US civil rights movement, isn’t just one for words. He leads by example and on Monday, after speaking at the first plenary session at M2EP, he picketed the Sudanese embassy in DC in non-violent protest, calling for a reversal of Sudanese President al-Beshir’s decision to expel international humanitarian groups from Darfur, and he (along with a number of other protesters, including four other congresspeople) was arrested.

You want an example of talking the talk and walking the walk? Look at this 69 year-old congressman, whose faith inspires him to get in trouble.