That last quote from Matthew 12

In my musings Sunday, I left one connection out between the Bible’s Matthew 12 and presidential statements.

Matthew 12:29 “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”

Barack Obama, 2002 (attacking Martin Luther King Jr and other successful Republicans): “You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff. But the principle of empathy recognizes that there are more subtle forms of violence to which we are answerable. The spirit of empathy condemns not only the use of firehoses and attack dogs to keep people down but also accountants and tax loopholes to keep people down.”

In the last instance, “empathy” was the code word he was using at the time for forced redistribution of wealth. The technique he proposes to “bind the strong man” is to deprive him of “accountants and tax loopholes” — and “spoil his house” with higher tax rates and regulations.  The one problem with this is that the creation of wealth through inventiveness, perseverance and hard work does not “keep people down,” it provides their incomes and their motivations — and the “house” that he would spoil is the United States. It was risky for Obama to attack MLK, but I suspect that few in his audience (or even today) picked up on it.

There is another subtlety here — Obama’s assumption that reducing the amount of money going toward big government coffers is something that will “keep people down” — and that this is the intentional goal of successful people.

The contrast is interesting. MLK spoke eloquently of non-violence, and sought a day in which race would no longer be a factor. Obama speaks (then and now) of violence, revenge, and tapping into the anger of black people.  Interestingly, Obama does not fight to benefit this constituency, other than to do (and heavily promote) those things that seem to pander to them without actually solving problems. For example, he recently levied (by executive order, of course, since such legislation would never pass) an order essentially exempting black students from discipline. I’ll write more about this later, but it does no favors to a student population to give them essentially free rein to misbehave.

Obama specifically left violence on the table as one of the two possibilities, stating that non-violence only made sense under certain circumstances.

Obama’s and King’s approaches are remarkably different in many respects, and Obama’s resentment of Martin Luther King Junior  spills into the speech above to an extent, grouping him with “rich people” who advise “non-violence” because “they’ve got what they want.”

One problem he had with MLK was that King wanted race issues to be resolved, so that character rather than skin color was the important issue. To Obama, racial tensions were necessary: They were the fuel and pathways for Obama’s ambitions, as he explains in his autobiographies.

When King spoke, it was clear that he sought peace … that the goals of racial equality were achievable, desirable, and beneficial to all. Regarding violence, he said in 1963:

In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.

There were similarities, of course, between Obama and MLK, particularly as the latter came more and more under the influence of his Communist advisors. Both speak about redistribution, though Obama uses “redistribution of wealth” whereas King spoke of “redistribution of economic power” (here, for example).  The differences are subtle.

In Obama’s speeches, he makes clear that the goal is class war and revolution and revenge against “enemies” — and he appoints people who are fiercely racist and members of racist organizations (MEChA, La Raza) to his advisory positions.

I think that this president would do well to well to study more deeply the religion he adopted (not black liberation theology, but the Christianity it was mutated from), rather than just using it for political convenience as he describes in The Audacity of Hope.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle