Anybody seen my old friend, Martin? Reply


By Tom Quiner

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin? 
Can anybody tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people but it seems the good they die young
You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for 
Didn’t they try to find the good in you and me
And we’ll be free 
Someday soon and it’s a gonna be one day.

[Lyric excerpt from Abraham, Martin, and John by Dion]

***

It’s Martin Luther King Day.

I re-read his I Have a Dream Speech today. To me, it’s the greatest speech of my lifetime. This line stood out:

“But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

Since he delivered those important words, America changed. The Civil Rights Act was passed with bi-partisan support which outlawed major forms of discrimination on the basis of race.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was formed to protect against workplace discrimination.

Affirmative Action policies were put in place that allowed race-based quotas and reverse discrimination to redress past racial grievances, a form of national reparations, so to speak.

America takes discrimination seriously. Since Mr. King’s great speech, segregation and discrimination have been rendered illegal through a series of national and state legislative initiatives.

To amplify America’s repugnance for race-based discrimination, some states passed addendum’s to their Constitutions prohibiting any kind of discrimination. For example, here is the key wording from California’s Proposition 209 which was passed in 1996 with an overwhelming majority:

(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Interestingly, the ACLU and other liberal organizations fought ferociously against the above language, language that was the fulfillment of Mr. King’s dream, because they did not want reverse discrimination ended.

So what happened with the passage of Proposition 209?

African-American enrollment at Berkley dropped, proof to liberals of the fallacy of ending race-based discrimination.

On the other hand, black enrollment improved at rank and file colleges in California. Even more, graduation rates went up for African-Americans. Proposition 209 has produced just and moral outcomes.

America has moved into a post-race era with the election of its first African-American President. What a tribute to this great nation.

Still, voices of victimhood emanate from the political Left suggesting that the troubles in the African-American community are the result of persistent racism. And yet the data doesn’t seem to support their premise.

Did you know that only 30 to 40 percent of black males graduate from high school? What a tragedy since education is critical to success in this nation. Our school’s are very much dominated by the teacher’s union who overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Did you know that black males represent 70 percent of our prison population? Is discrimination at work here? I don’t think so. The Department of Justice reveals that 80 percent of crime against blacks was in fact perpetrated by blacks.

Let us look at black families. In Philadelphia in 1880, three out of four black families were intact, nuclear families with two parents and children.

In his book, “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925,” Herbert Gutman wrote:

“Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents.”

In 1960 the illegitimacy rate in the black community was 22 percent. Today, it’s nearly 70 percent. The family clearly hasn’t broken down because of discrimination. Black families were much stronger when discrimination was rampant. More likely, the African American community has been a victim of welfare and Great Society programs that rewarded illegitimacy and penalized marriage.

Mr. King said:

“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

America has done much right in ending discrimination. And it has damaged a group through the promotion of victimhood. This has got to end in the name of compassion, in the name of decency.

Let us honor Martin Luther King’s dream:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Didn’t you love the things [he] stood for 
Didn’t [he] try to find the good in you and me
And we’ll be free 
Someday soon and it’s a gonna be one day.

America has made progress. Our work isn’t done.

May 13th, 5PM 2


By Tom Quiner

The bullet that almost killed Pope John Paul II thirty years ago today is mounted in this crown.

Three children saw something that changed the world. The year was 1917.

It took place in Portugal on May 13th at 5PM. Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were stopped in their tracks by the mystical appearance of a beautiful woman.

Here’s how Lucia described the woman:

She was “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”

The woman appeared to them again on June 13th. And again on July 13th. Word was getting out about the mysterious woman, and thousands of people began to flock to the area.

The communist authorities attempted to stop all of this nonsense by jailing the children on August 13th. But the Woman appreared to them instead on August 19th upon their release from jail.

The children claimed “the Lady,” as they called her, entrusted them with three secrets. The first involved a vision of Hell. The second gave instructions on how to save people from Hell.

The third remained a secret until the year 2000.

***

The day was May 13th.

The time was 5PM.

The year was 1981.

Pope John Paul II made his way through St. Peter Square in an open air vehicle. A man approached the pontiff, raised a gun and fired at point blank range.

Five, maybe six shots were heard. The Pope was hit.

His internal injuries were severe. He was bleeding internally. In fact, he lost most of his blood.

He was near death. In fact, he should have died.

But he lived.

It was a miracle he lived. Upon gaining consciousness, the Pope recalled the significance of the date and time, 64 years to the second that the Lady had appreared to those three children in Fatima, Portugal.

And he thought about the significance of the yet unrevealed “3rd secret.” What was the secret? That a “Bishop dressed in white” would be shot and killed.

But John Paul II lived. He credited the Lady with deflecting the bullet just enough to spare his life.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. I marvel at the events of 1981 and contrast them with the events of 1968.

I was in 9th grade when Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. And then two short months later, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed.

It seemed as if our country was falling apart.

In 1981, I was married and just a week away from becoming a father for the first time when a gunman shot President Ronald Reagan.

The President almost died. By all accounts, he should have died. His injuries were grave.

Six weeks later, Pope John Paul II was shot and almost died.

Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and died in 1968.

Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and lived in 1981.

Why did events go so differently in 1981? Was it divine intervention?

Did this mysterious Lady from Fatima somehow intercede in a supernatural way to allow President Reagan and Pope John Paul II to fulfill their destiny, to meet and join forces to defeat communism?

You be the judge.

The Pope was presented with the bullet doctors removed from his body. He held it in his hand, turned it and studied it from every direction.

What did he do with it? He had it mounted in the crown of the statue of the Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Mother of Christ.

The Pope was devoted to the Blessed Mother. He asked for her prayers of intercession daily.

I juxtapose the events of 1917, 1968, and 1981 as one of life’s many mysteries.

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin? 1


By Tom Quiner

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can anybody tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people but it seems the good they die young
You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for
Didn’t they try to find the good in you and me
And we’ll be free
Someday soon and it’s a gonna be one day.

[Lyric excerpt from Abraham, Martin, and John by Dion]

***

I’m thinking about Martin Luther King, this January 17th, 2011. It’s Martin Luther King Day.

I re-read his I Have a Dream Speech today. To me, it’s the greatest speech of my lifetime. This line stood out:

“But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

Since he delivered those important words, America changed. The Civil Rights Act was passed with bi-partisan support which outlawed major forms of discrimination on the basis of race.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was formed to protect against workplace discrimination.

Affirmative Action policies were put in place that allowed race-based quotas and reverse discrimination to redress past racial grievances, a form of national reparations, so to speak.

America takes discrimination seriously. Since Mr. King’s great speech, segregation and discrimination have been rendered illegal through a series of national and state legislative initiatives.

To amplify America’s repugnance for race-based discrimination, some states passed addendum’s to their Constitutions prohibiting any kind of discrimination. For example, here is the key wording from California’s Proposition 209 which was passed in 1996 with an overwhelming majority:

(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Interestingly, the ACLU and other liberal organizations fought ferociously against the above language, language that was the fulfillment of Mr. King’s dream, because they did not want reverse discrimination ended.

So what happened with the passage of Proposition 209?

African-American enrollment at Berkley dropped, proof to liberals of the fallacy of ending race-based discrimination.

On the other hand, black enrollment improved at rank and file colleges in California. Even more, graduation rates went up for African-Americans. Proposition 209 has produced just and moral outcomes.

America has moved into a post-race era with the election of its first African-American President. What a tribute to this great nation.

Still, voices of victimhood emanate from the political Left suggesting that the troubles in the African-American community are the result of persistent racism. And yet the data doesn’t seem to support their premise.

Did you know that only 30 to 40 percent of black males graduate from high school? What a tragedy since education is critical to success in this nation. Our school’s are very much dominated by the teacher’s union who overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Did you know that black males represent 70 percent of our prison population? Is discrimination at work here? I don’t think so. The Department of Justice reveals that 80 percent of crime against blacks was in fact perpetrated by blacks.

Let us look at black families. In Philadelphia in 1880, three out of four black families were intact, nuclear families with two parents and children.

In his book, “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925,” Herbert Gutman wrote:

“Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents.”

In 1960 the illegitimacy rate in the black community was 22 percent. Today, it’s nearly 70 percent. The family clearly hasn’t broken down because of discrimination. Black families were much stronger when discrimination was rampant. More likely, the African American community has been a victim of welfare and Great Society programs that rewarded illegitimacy and penalized marriage.

Mr. King said:

“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

America has done much right in ending discrimination. And it has damaged a group through the promotion of victimhood. This has got to end in the name of compassion, in the name of decency.

Let us honor Martin Luther King’s dream:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Didn’t you love the things [he] stood for
Didn’t [he] try to find the good in you and me
And we’ll be free
Someday soon and it’s a gonna be one day.

America has made progress. Our work isn’t done.

In praise of Dr. King and Mother Teresa 1


By Tom Quiner

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

August 26th was a big day.  That was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

August 28th was another big day.  That was the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s epoch “I Have a Dream” speech.

Mother Teresa didn’t know how to deliver a speech very well.  She’d stand at a podium and read her speech without looking up at the audience.  When she finished, she’d leave without fanfare.

Martin Luther King knew how to deliver a speech very well.  He’d engage his audience with the passion of man on a Godly mission.  His speeches had a rhythm, a carefully controlled cadence that kept listeners enraptured.  He was a leader, a moral authority sent by God to right a terrible wrong in this country.

Interestingly, despite her rhetorical shortcomings, Mother Teresa, too, kept her audience on the edge of the seat through the sheer power of her moral authority.

Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” is a work of art. Read it in the quiet of your room and you will be roused from your chair.

Mother Teresa’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. in 1994 is also a work of art.  Read it in the quiet of your room and you will be moved to tears.

Let us compare a few similarities in their messages.

Dr. King said,

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

He was addressing one of the shames of this great country, violence directed at innocent people by the people who were supposed to protect them.  Mother Teresa had a similar concern:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.  And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

She, too, addressed the issue of violence directed at innocent people by the people who were supposed to protect them.

Dr. King voiced his concerns about the children:

We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Mother Teresa talked about how our hope lies in children, just as Dr. King said children must have hope:

“Let us bring the child back.” The child is God’s gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things – to love and to be loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take their places.

Hope.  We thirst for hope.  In one of the great inspirational flourishes of his generation, Dr. King invoked his hope for America

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

Mother Teresa invoked the beauty of hope in an incident that occurred in Calcutta:

Then there was the man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms and, after we had brought him to the home, he only said:  “I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for.” Then, after we had removed the worms from his body, all he said, with a big smile, was: “Sister, I am going home to God” -and he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel – this greatness of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.

Dr. King and Mother Teresa loved the poor and the downtrodden.  They taught us to respect the dignity of life.  We live in undignified times.  We need their message today, a message of human rights from conception to natural death.  From their perch in heaven, we humbly ask them to pray for us.