Paterno, Jackson, and Ammons Faced Moral Dilemmas

Monday, 16 Jul 2012 02:10 PM

By Alveda King

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It is often said that politics makes strange bedfellows.

Three men — one Caucasian and two African-Americans — are in the headlines right now. But what do Joe Paterno, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and James Ammons really have in common?

ammons-ap.jpg
James Ammons stepped down from Florida A&M University over a hazing incident that resulted in the death of a student.
(AP Photo)
One is a sports coach, another a congressional lawmaker, while the third is a college president. These three men all had power that could make or break the destinies of young people entrusted to their care.

At Penn State there is a struggle to determine whether to remove the statue of Joe Paterno because he failed to protect victims of sexual abuse.

Florida A&M University President James Ammons stepped down today following a hazing incident that resulted in the death of drum major Robert Champion on Nov. 19, 2011.

Jesse Jackson is absent from the halls of Congress, while battling a medical condition reportedly related to a mood disorder. Congressman Jackson along with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus are known to support the president's anti-life and anti-procreative family agenda.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Jesse, Jr. and indeed all these men. As a woman, I can only imagine, how sad it must be to be tempted — or required — to support initiatives such as abortion and homosexual marriage — or, in the case of hazing, to defend such bullying.

We live in a society today where the weakest are bullied and brutalized from the womb. And then we are encouraged to look the other way when the natural procreative family is dismantled, replaced by a more "tolerant homosexual agenda."

And, so it has to be a challenge living in such a time for a man and a leader. Does a person choose to be "politically correct" currying the favor of humans while seeking fame and fortune?

Knowing that seeking to gain the world can cost a man his soul. So certainly our hearts and prayers go out to these newsmakers — that they’ll be able to get their bearings, get their focus.

Sometimes we have to step away from our careers and professions and find quiet moments of reflection that will call us back to those high places and high callings. My uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often cited the life of Paul the Apostle, who said that things that he should do, he would not do, and things that he should not do, he found himself doing.

He found that to be a dilemma.

We would like to see hazing stopped. Hazing is a violent act and certainly although having a different name than bullying, is nothing more than a sanctioned form of bullying. It has to stop.

And as far as Congressman Jackson is concerned, I grew up knowing Congressman Jackson’s family, and am probably closer in age to his sister Santita. Mr. Jackson's voice and legacy, like many voices, is torn between values and political agendas. Supporting a pro-death culture brings destruction upon oneself and that is enough to make someone suffer.

Again, our hearts and prayers go out to these men and their families. It is still so sad to see them struggle with these moral dilemmas.

As an African-American woman, I’m looking at the lives of two African-American men who are suffering and experiencing moral dilemmas. However, this issue is not one that is limited to only one ethnic group.

All people across the globe are suffering from moral turpitude. For instance, Caucasian children, Asian children, Native-American children, and African-American children are all subject to hazing or bullying. Children often respond to this either by suicide or succumbing to social pressures.

Although African-American babies are specifically targeted for abortion in America and girl babies are specifically targeted for abortion in China (sex-selection) babies in the womb are at risk everywhere.

And certainly child molestation is not ethnically specific.

In every case discussed here, the civil rights of the victims are at risk. Their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are in danger.

So let’s not look at it from an African-American perspective. Let’s just look at it for what it is: three more men join the growing list of those falling into an abyss.

Three men in the news are faced with moral dilemmas from not doing what they knew to be right. They went along to try to get along. The tried to be politically correct and we can see that here we have three men whose legacies are now deeply affected.

God help us. Can the church say Amen?

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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