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An Open Letter to Brother West

Dear Brother West,

Regarding your comments about President Obama’s non-deservingness to take his presidential oath on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Bible, I am going to have to disagree.  Not because I think he “deserved” to take the oath on Dr. King’s Bible, but because it really isn’t our place to judge another wo/man’s worth.  Additionally, though I am a Black American woman committed to peace and justice, I don’t feel ownership over the “legacy” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it doesn’t feel “personal” to me.  Making it so personal would be to place a man on a pedestal erected–culturally, linguistically, and socially–by other men.  If I’ve learned anything in my short time on this earth, it’s that all “great men,” are human and like the rest of us deeply flawed.  I have absolutely no doubt that your concern over protecting the dignity and legacy of such a great man comes from an honest place, as you say, you are of that tradition; however, at what point do we take a step too close to the threshold of idolatry?  Dr. King isn’t in that Bible.  He isn’t the Bible.  It’s just one that he happened to use.

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