Sunday, January 15, 2006
Ring Out Freedom - Martin Luther King Remembered
Tony Campolo, Neil McLeod, Michael Bruner and Patrick Hare after the Martin Luther King concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Sunday January 15th. 2006
The concert on the 15th of January was a truly memorable event, and Patrick Hare pulled the rabbit out of the hat again. Sorry I couldn’t resist. Professor Michael Brunner was an excellent Master of Ceremonies, with well researched and succinct comments on the participants. All the choirs were dazzling and The Hollywood Mass Choir just tore the place up, and we were ready. You had to be in a wheel chair if you weren’t standing and clapping and tapping.
Andrea Kim Walker’s dramatic tribute to Rosa Parks has added a new dimension to the breadth of subject matter that might be considered suitable for a Martin Luther King celebration, and her performance of the scene on the bus when the arrest occurred was compelling.
I got to play harmonica again as I went up to recite my poem “Oh Black and Unknown Bards”. I find it adds a little sparkle to the water.
Now the real kicker. Tony Compolo's message that was brilliant. This is a man who knows how to work even the stiffest crowd, and he had a good message. I found myself softening my stance about leftist ideology. I found his arguments valid, that the analogy of what could be done in our society if we spent three trillion dollars on the poor and the needy and the underprivileged rather than war convincing. He mentioned gay rights once, and only glancingly, but still this was the wrong platform to do so. Personal sexual preferences have nothing whatever to do with a forum on civil rights. The extreme left constantly tries to equate the two and to blur our perception with a seductively juxtaposed argument. They want a morality-blind and color-blind society. Well I don't. Saying part of the truth is just as good as saying a complete lie.
But I am convinced that this preacher/speaker/author is one of the best on the circuit, and found myself wanting to buy one of the books that he was signing after the concert. That I resisted. I thought of my bonny bride at home, and our three children, and I knew that for the moment the money would be better spent on them.
One final thought. The Martin Luther King holiday has been a minor American holiday, one upon which many still work. Personally, I have always have been confused between celebrating human rights, and justifying public handouts. I do believe now that there is more to the holiday than that. It now seems the be the focus of the next area of growth in our democratic experiment, and I and America are growing.