'They Tried to Take God Out' of 'I Have a Dream' Speech 50th Anniversary Event, Says MLK's Niece

During last week's 50th anniversary commemorating her uncle's famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., one thing was glaringly clear for Dr. Alveda King – most speakers at the overly-politicized event were snubbing God by omitting reference to the Lord in their speeches, she says, noting that it's something unheard of when it came to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If you go back and listen, the speakers kept saying 'one nation, one nation,' you heard that, but you didn't hear much 'under God,' you really didn't," King told The Christian Post on Tuesday, talking about the event held on Aug. 28. "They tried to take God out."

King said her cousin, Bernice King, the youngest daughter of MLK, Jr., was the lone exception to speakers who seemed to leave out the spiritual side of the Baptist preacher who was a prominent leader of civil rights movement of the '60s. In addition to speaking at the Lincoln Memorial at the event on Wednesday, Bernice King led and helped organize several events throughout the week.

"It was all politics, with the brightest and brilliant exception [being] when Bernice King" spoke and prayed at the various events that began on Saturday (Aug. 24), said King. "People heard God in that prayer." At a related event the next day in which Bernice King was a featured speaker, again, King says "it was all about God" and the music "totally glorified God in a musical context."

King, who is the pastoral associate and director of African American Outreach with Priests for Life and founder of Alveda King Ministries, told CP that she suspects that a rearrangement of the program on Sunday, which included a last minute exclusion of the "Let Freedom Ring" choir and an original song of the same name, also had something to do with organizers wanting to omit anything overtly spiritual.

On Thursday, King tweeted, "My song 'Let Freedom Ring' pulled from 8/28 MLK Rally to play a lot of BB Winan's singers Broken agreement Beyond our control Stay tuned." Then, "'Let Freedom Ring' Singers pulled to play lots of BB Winans music at 8/28 Bell Ringing ignored pleas of Bernice King," and finally, "Outrage! Bernice King disrespected Let Freedom Ring singers/original song dumped/replaced w BB Winans fillers due to political correctness."

Winans "filled-in" a new song of his where the "Let Freedom Ring" singers were originally scheduled, King told CP.

"I know that BeDe didn't want the song sung because he wanted to promote his own song," she said. "But I believe that there was others as well because the lyrics are out there. I don't know if they wanted to hear 'Let freedom ring and thank God that King had a dream' because too many speakers kept saying 'one nation' and they never said 'under God.'"

King, who said she doesn't get into political debates, said her uncle was more non-partisan. "He tended to vote Democrat, but he was not locked into that."

She said she's "definitely a Christian" but prefers not to be labeled "conservative," although she is a leading anti-abortion activist. She said she likes to quote comedian and political activist Dick Gregory, who said it takes both a left wing and a right wing for an eagle to fly.

Although some have argued that Republicans were not invited to the anniversary event on Wednesday, King insists that several were invited, but could not attend.

"I think people put too much emphasis on politics and not enough emphasis on Christian love," she said. "I don't get into political debates. I don't think they help us."

As far as the repercussions of an event in which MLK, Jr.'s call to follow God, also found in his "I Have a Dream" speech, were primarily ignored, King said, "We are in a what-do-we-do next mode."

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