08/31/10 — Unearned wrath: Why is gathering about faith, heroes automatically racist?

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Unearned wrath: Why is gathering about faith, heroes automatically racist?

Forget whether or not you feel that radio talk show personality Glenn Beck was merely trying for publicity with his weekend gathering called "Restoring Honor."

And if you suspect that the gathering at the Lincoln Memorial might not have been apolitical, then there might be an impetus for a discussion.

But if you are a person of faith, or if you believe that every part of Washington, D.C., belongs to every American -- and if you really listened to the message of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech -- you will be more than a little surprised that a gathering of people who wanted to celebrate faith, honor and heroes was looked at as anything other than a positive day at the nation's capital.

The hoopla and criticism of the Beck rally started before it was over, with some black leaders -- you can probably guess the ones -- who claimed that the event was meant to overshadow celebrations of the anniversary of the King speech. They said those gathered were not epitomizing the message of the speech and implied that they were, in fact, supporting principles that were more based in racism or intolerance than in hope, love and equality.

And that, right there, is what should make anyone who is a person of faith think about the direction his or her country is headed.

Since when is a gathering of people who are white -- or mostly white -- automatically a hate rally?

And why, all of a sudden, is a gathering of people celebrating their faith -- as represented by Judeo-Christian values, the principles upon which much of this country's fabric is based -- a reason to automatically assume hate and intolerance?

The Beck rally was about making it OK to be proud of America and proud of those who have put their faith and their hearts to work for others.

That is what America needs more of -- not less.

Dr. King's speech was about people of all faiths, colors and backgrounds uniting for what is right, what would make this country a better place.

The more times we do gather, stand up for what we believe in and join hands to become a better nation, the more we honor the man and his message.

And anyone who sees anything other than that, simply missed the point -- both this past weekend and in 1963.

Published in Editorials on August 31, 2010 10:10 AM