A long, bitter campaign season brought to the surface divisions between different factions in America as never before. Are there leaders who can bridge the gap? And could exposing hidden fractures ultimately lead to more authentic unity?
For decades Dr. Alveda King has traversed a wide chasm between those with divergent views, specifically on the moral and social concerns of abortion and racism. Speaking at an event to support the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center following the election, King quoted her uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "We must learn to live together as brothers — and sisters," she added, "Or perish as fools."
Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, an initiative of Priests for Life serving minority communities in particular, Dr. Alveda King shares in an interview how she responds when some challenge her pro-life stand — and why the church must continue to be a voice for life in our culture.
Bound4LIFE: Dr. King, during election season, you and the Priests for Life team were early to join the pro-life coalition that formed around Donald Trump. How did you respond to the criticism you received?
Alveda King: I respond to criticism, as much as I can, with love and not defense. I purposed very early not to be angry when I was challenged, but to be able to say why I made a decision to vote for Mr. Trump.
Certainly the Supreme Court Justice nominations are going to be very important and some of the other work that he will do — as we hold Mr. Trump to his word. I believe time will reveal this is all in the plan for America to be healed.
Bound4LIFE: Now that he is the President-elect, what are your hopes for the Trump Administration?
Alveda King: My hopes are never going to be in the administration of humans. My hope will always be in God, my faith and my trust. But I do believe, as Mr. Trump is held accountable to his pro-life commitments, he will make decisions for life, for liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I expect that he will do that, but we have a part to play. Just to expect him to do what we believe is right without encouragement and support, it would not be fair — so we must do our part as well.
Bound4LIFE: Dr. King, why do you believe the divisions between different ethnic groups have become so pronounced this year?
Alveda King: Our country has been divided into classes, categories and ethnic groups for far too long; we see all of that in 2016.
My mother, Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King — the wife of my father, slain civil rights activist Reverend A.D. King — often said, "You cannot clean house by sweeping all of the dirt under the rug." You have to roll the rug back, beat it, get all the problems out, clean the house and clean the floor, then you can be happy.
I believe what's happened this year is that America's carpets have been rolled back: we see all the dirt of racism and prejudice, including those who dismiss how abortion affects black families disproportionately. Now it's time to move forward, to clean the house.
Bound4LIFE: Are there certain voices you hear right now who are true leaders in forging racial healing?
Alveda King: I believe that the true leaders of America are found in places that we forget to look — in our churches, our communities, certainly some in the political arena as well.
I'm listening for the voice of God through the servant leaders of America, and I believe that voice will grow louder. God is on the move! I believe anybody can be a leader if they follow His voice.
Bound4LIFE: What are your prayers for the Trump Administration and for our nation at this time?
Alveda King: There's a beautiful scripture in First Timothy chapter two which says essentially, Pray for those who are in authority, for our leaders, that we can have a peaceful life.
I will be praying for President-elect Trump, his Cabinet and his Administration; also, for our State Governors, the Congress, Supreme Court Justices and all leaders in the political arena. In lifting up our community and church leaders, I pray God will be the one we look to and depend on in the days ahead.
Dr. Alveda King recently authored the book King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family and Our Nation to Prosper, available online.