By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star
Our nation has been blessed with many great men. They were historical giants because they stood for something larger than life. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, to name a few.
Harry Truman won the war. Ronald Reagan won the peace. Leaders of such stature are a national symbol to us all. In my opinion, Dr. Martin Luther King was truly such a great man.
Fifty years ago, Dr. King's courageous voice echoed across the Washington Mall to a crowd of a quarter-million people. Millions more watched by television. His "I have a dream" speech was a prophet's anointed call for justice, for America to live up to its national creed that "all men are created equal."
That ideal still stands true. But today I think my black brothers are being defrauded. Remember - Dr. King was a preacher of God's Word before he became a voice against injustice. His values were his credentials. True dignity is more than political power. Self respect and wholeness is deeper than that.
How are our black leaders of today failing us? Not in politics — we have a black President and he was even elected to a second term. Not in governing — we have a very good black voter turnout across the nation, and we have many fine black leaders in city, county and state offices. Not in education — we have high quality schools for and many excellent black teachers and administrators. So, how have today’s black leaders failed? I can tell you.
They have failed their constituents in one critical area: the area that counts more than politics; more than religion; more than schools; more than the economy. What is this crucial point of need? I maintain that the vital area that is the most important key to our nation's future, to our community's peace, and to our children's prosperity — without which no amount of federal funding programs or political party intentions will ever work – is … the family!
Families in America are hurting. The disintegration of the two-parent family is a disaster for the single mom and for unsupervised youth. Poverty, violence, gangs, dropouts, teen sex and children having babies, and drugs. It adds up to a staggering loss for America. Folks, nothing on earth can replace the beautiful economic engine: the wholesome, essential, beneficial, practical two-parent family.
We now have a higher percentage of single-parent homes than ever before in America. Too many children come home to an empty house with no daddy. More and more there is a baby daddy but no real man being there, living in the home, acting like good fathers should.
I know — it is a huge problem for all races, not just blacks. But it is disproportionately higher for blacks than any other ethnic group. It didn’t used to be that way. Who are our role models now? Why do we idolize athletes and celebrities who glamorize sex outside of marriage or babies out of wedlock?
These traditional Christian values are what Dr. King lived with! Now they are eroded. Marriage is old-fashioned, but it works. Morality is scoffed at, but it works. Being made to mind your parents is tough, but it raises respectful human beings.
There is no doubt: the family in America has fallen on hard times. When I see a young couple with little children, I stop and notice. It makes me proud. I say to myself — "There goes a real man!" He is with his wife. He is with his children. He may not even know it, but he is being faithful to God's pattern and to God’s purpose for his life because he is being there for his family! I breathe out a prayer, "God bless that young family; make them prosper and succeed."
Last week, two young black boys passed down my street. I had seen them before, walking down the road bouncing a basketball, headed toward a friend's house. I called to them from my front yard and said, "Hello, boys!" The younger one looked up and called back, "How are you, sir?" I smiled and waved, pleased to hear the respect that any child – white or black – should have toward adults. Somebody’s father or mother was training that child right!
Ron Wood ministers at Trinity Assembly of God in Meridian, located on State Boulevard Extension. Contact him at www.trinitymeridian.com.