April 19, 2014

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Church pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Praise dancers from Wesley United Methodist Church in Lorain perform a dance Sunday during the Lorain Unit NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program at Friendship Baptist Church in Lorain.  ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

Praise dancers from Wesley United Methodist Church in Lorain perform a dance Sunday during the Lorain Unit NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program at Friendship Baptist Church in Lorain. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

Complete list of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events

LORAIN — Dreams and nightmares were the subjects of a Sunday tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at the Friendship Baptist Church.

In a fiery 20-minute sermon, the Rev. John Jackson recalled King’s dream of economic and racial equality and social justice, as well as the civil rights leader’s nightmarish 1968 assassination. Jackson said dreams of equality and justice remain for black people, as do nightmares.

Jackson said that although blacks dare to dream of better lives, “often our dreams are shattered by the reality of our lives, leaving us to face a nightmare.”

Jackson said many nightmares are realities, including a high rate of violence among young black men. Between 2002 and 2011, the homicide rate for blacks was 6.3 times higher than for whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Jackson said other nightmarish realities include many black children growing up without fathers in their homes and many struggling in school. Some get hooked on drugs and others die early due to a lack of health care.

Jackson criticized Republican efforts to block ObamaCare and said efforts to improve society are often fought tooth and nail. He recalled King’s sermon of April 3, 1968, the night before he was fatally shot. That night, King said, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Jackson said it was an example of not letting adversity and fear defeat righteousness.

“The reality may be hard to bear,” he said. “But brothers and sisters, you’ve still got to have some type of hope.”

The Rev. John Jackson, of Friendship Baptist Church, gives the sermon during the Lorain Unit NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program.

The Rev. John Jackson, of Friendship Baptist Church, gives the sermon during the Lorain Unit NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program.

After the sermon, Jackson said King’s image has been sanitized. He said King’s fight for racial equality has overshadowed his antiwar stance and calls for economic justice.

State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, who spoke after Jackson, said while King’s last sermon may seem that King foreshadowed his own death, Ramos interpreted it as a call to action. Ramos said King’s condemnation of American economic injustice — “the overfed mouths of middle and upper classes” is how King described it in his 1967 book, “Where Do We Go from Here?” — has not been answered.

“He said, ‘There is no deficit in human resources,’” Ramos said, quoting King. “The deficit is in human will.”

Ramos said that mentality hasn’t changed much since King uttered the quote. For example, Ramos blamed Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration for allowing food stamp benefits to expire for able-bodied people not working 20 hours per week or in job training 20 hours per week.

Ramos said the change was unfair given Ohio’s high unemployment rate. Ohio’s rate increased from 6.9 percent to 7.5 between October 2012 and October 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate dropped from 7.9 percent to 7.3 percent during that same period.

Like Jackson, Ramos called on the 75 people at the church to continue King’s fight.

“He knew that we couldn’t reach that Promised Land with his work and his work alone,” Ramos said. “It must be a group effort. We must continue to take the torch from Dr. King and keep on marching, and 50 years later, keep on fighting.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • CharlesMartel732

    To hear this pair talk it would seem the “Promised Land” that Dr. King spoke of would be the social justice of wealth re-distribution and government assistance.

    If you want to move forward, quit listening to the lies of the democrat party. Fatherlessness, crime, unemployment, all these things mentioned by the Reverend, are all consequences of voting democrat.

    Preaching and politicizing victimhood plays and pays well unfortunately.

    • Michael A. Figueroa

      I’m a Democrat and I am neither fatherless nor dependent on the federal government. Also, I’m neither a criminal nor unemployed. Therefore your theory is debunked. Happy MLK Day!

      • CharlesMartel732

        Congratulations. If you read the article it is Reverend Jackson is the one who points out the problem of crime and fatherlessness. The difference is he accuses republicans and others while spouting the democrat party line.

        My opinion, and the opinion of many other people is the problems are caused by the policies of the democrat party.

        Happy MLK day to you as well.

    • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

      Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of America’s most prominent historical socialists, along with others such as Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and Edward Bellamy (author of the Pledge of Allegiance). Socialism has a long and storied history in this country, and we do not align with Democrats. Democrats, like Republicans, support the “order” which keeps the workers under the control of an elite class of capital.

      “And one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

      • CharlesMartel732

        You won’t take any heat from me for bringing up Dr. King’s socialism.

        Socialism seems to be something of an enigma in the democrat party. There are many members who are or were ‘card carrying’ socialists, such as Dennis Kucinich. However when asked about it most would deny it. I guess they didn’t have the courage of their convictions..

        I believe socialism has permeated the democrat party and the democrat brand of socialism has destroyed every American city it touches.

        I wonder what Dr. King would think if he were to see the destruction brought onto black America (and all who accept it) by the democrat brand of socialism.

    • Zen Grouch

      How exactly is “fatherlessness” a Democrat thing?

      It’s the Republicans who believe that every sperm and egg are precious and should be brought to full term to live with their 13 year old prostitute mothers who have no idea of who knocked ‘em up.

  • Americaschild

    Hate was not in Dr. King’s vocabulary, nor laziness, victim or excuse. Dr. King represented the finest of Americans with intelligence, future thinking, belief in America and his struggle to let the world see that color should not judge anyone–ever. God bless this man for what he showed all of us. The rest of you who rely on affirmative action, hate, excuses and blame–go read his speeches and be ashamed!