When President Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 21—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—he placed his hand on Bibles once owned by my uncle, Reverend King, and by President Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator.
The historic struggle for African Americans’ equality under the law was represented at this ceremony by the Holy Scriptures belonging to the man who freed the slaves and the man who led the civil rights movement. The fulfillment of this struggle would be represented by our nation’s first black president.
Unfortunately, the gesture was not symbolic. It was ironic.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed God’s word. He took his Bible very seriously—so seriously that he repeatedly risked his life to proclaim its message of love for God and love for neighbor. Uncle M.L., like everyone, was far from perfect, but he loved the Lord. It was God’s word that he used to unite a movement and change a nation.
But Obama’s support of abortion, same-sex marriage, and free contraception under his unpopular Obamacare reform is difficult to reconcile with my uncle’s legacy as a man of God.
I had hoped and prayed that when the president handled the Bible, it would accidentally open to where it says “Choose life,” or “God hates the shedding of innocent blood.” I was hoping it would just shake him up a little bit. I don’t know if that happened, but I keep praying that my uncle’s belief in the sanctity of all human life will change our president’s heart. I hope everyone will join me in praying for a change of heart for the president.
Legal abortion has turned into genocide for the African American community. The man with his hand on my Uncle Martin’s Bible is aiding and abetting this terrible injustice.
Dr. Alveda King is director of African American Outreach at Priests for Life and a member of American Life League’s board of advisors.