Put Political Strife Out to Pasture

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 10:16 AM

By Dr. Alveda C. King

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I have few regrets in my life. At the top of the list is the demise of two children in my womb, and one miscarriage. Next to that, I regret having said to a group of peers that my Uncle M. L. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) was a Republican. I said that without having all the facts.
 
My grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. was a registered Republican. Uncle M. L. was an independent, who in his own words tended to vote Democrat. I assumed that since granddaddy was a Republican, Uncle M. L. was too. After all, before the election of President John F. Kennedy, the majority of African-American voters were Republicans.
 
Granddaddy convinced a large block of blacks to vote for President John Kennedy after he helped to get my uncle out of jail during those turbulent days. Uncle M. L. tended to vote Democrat, but remained independent because he found weaknesses in both parties.
 
The truth of the matter is that God isn’t a Republican or a Democrat or a tea party voter. God doesn’t vote. The squabbling and division among the parties is tragic.
 
Wise Christian leaders such as Dr. Billy Graham and others who have visited the White House over the years to advise sitting presidents have focused on the times and not the parties. I’m beginning to understand the wisdom of such. As a result, I am no longer endorsing political candidates, choosing rather to vote responsibly and to follow the Bible instructions that we must pray for all people, including those in authority.
 
1. First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.
2. For kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
3. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.
4. God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
M. L.’s perspective: As a Christian leader and civil rights activist, Uncle M. L. followed a pattern of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate. He wrote: "I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both — not the servant or master of either."
 
In a 1958 interview, he expressed his view that neither party was perfect, saying, "I don't think the Republican Party is a party full of the almighty God, nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses . . . And I'm not inextricably bound to either party.”
 
He also assessed both parties' performance on promoting racial equality.
 
“Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right-wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of Southern Dixiecrats and right-wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move toward liberal legislation in the area of civil rights.”
 
Although he never publicly supported a political party or candidate for president, in a letter to a civil rights supporter in October 1956 he wrote: "In the past I always voted the Democratic ticket." In 1960, like my grandfather, he privately voted for John F. Kennedy: "I felt that Kennedy would make the best president. I never came out with an endorsement. My father did, but I never made one."
 
He also went so far as to consider making one endorsement: "Had President Kennedy lived, I would probably have endorsed him in 1964.
 
Surely it is possible to be a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or a member of the tea party, Green Party, a Christian Party member, or affiliate with any party one chooses, and not hate our brothers and sisters who choose another path. Church denominations and political divisions make too many enemies when we need to be united in this one human race that dominates this planet.
 
As one who has been elected to office as a Georgia State Representative (Democrat), served as a presidential appointee (Republican), and who has often been voted as an independent, I can truly say that we would all be better off without the political squabbles that tend to divide us.
 
Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

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