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Biden: Americans Should ‘Pay Attention’ to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

President Joe Biden made a historic pilgrimage to the “Free Church of America” ​​on Sunday to mark Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, saying democracy is in danger and leading the civil rights movement. The life and legacy of those who “show the way, and we should pay.” “

As the first sitting president to give a Sunday morning sermon at King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Biden cited a meaningful question King himself once asked the nation.

“He said, ‘Where are we going from here,'” Biden said from the pulpit. choose a believer and a dream, be a doer, be fearless, always move forward, and go with me.

Only two years apart in a divided country RiotBiden told congregations, elected officials and dignitaries, “The battle for the soul of this nation continues unabated. It is a constant struggle… of hope and fear, of kindness and cruelty, of justice and injustice.” Between”.

He said the fight to protect democracy is being waged in courts, ballot boxes, protests and other means against those who “trade in racism, extremism and riots”. . “At the best, the promise of America wins. …But needless to say we are not always at our best. To do.”

Suspension in Ebenezer came at a sensitive moment for Biden after Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday announced the appointment A special counsel to investigate how the president handled classified documents after he stepped down as vice president in 2017. The White House on Saturday. clearly Additional classified records were found at Biden’s home near Wilmington, Delaware.

In introducing Biden, the church’s senior pastor, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock said the president is a “devout Catholic” and that “this Baptist service can be a little rowdy and exuberant.” But I saw him clapping his hands.”

King, “the greatest American prophet of the twentieth century,” as Warnock puts it, served as co-minister from 1960 until his assassination in 1968.

Warnock, like many battleground Democrats, won re-election In the 2022 election, he distanced himself from Biden as the president’s approval ratings plummeted and inflation rose.

But with his election delayed and a full six-year term looming, Warnock has fully embraced Biden. Near the closing, he asked Biden to come to the front of the church, asked Ebenezer’s congregation to pray for the president, and listed some of Biden’s legislative accomplishments.

“My friends, it’s God’s work,” Warnock said, adding that Biden “was a little bit involved.”

As Biden begins to turn his attention to his anticipated 2024 re-election efforts, Georgia will be on his radar.

In 2020, Biden won Georgia and also narrowly won Michigan and Pennsylvania. Winning black voters in those states is vital to Biden’s 2024 hopes.

The White House tried to promote Biden’s agenda in minority communities. The White House cites efforts to encourage states to consider equity in public works projects as they spend money from the government’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Acted to end the sentencing gap between crack cocaine offenses and powder cocaine offenses.

The administration also highlights Biden’s work to diversify the federal judiciary. Appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Eleven black female judges confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court and to the Federal Court of Appeals, as the first black women to serve. That is more than the number of judges installed in these powerful courts under all previous presidents combined.

Biden’s failed to pass His election manifesto, a proposal for measures to better protect voting rights, has been one of his biggest disappointments in his first two years in office. The challenge is even more acute now that Republicans control the House.

In his remarks, the president said the country had now reached a critical point in its history because of all the progress the United States had made. Referring to collapse, he said democracy could go backwards.

“Progress is never easy, but it is always possible, and things will improve in the march to a more perfect union,” he said. We know the much work we must continue to do to protect justice, civil rights, voting rights, and democracy, and we are reminded that our job is to redeem the soul of America.”

At this moment, he said, “It’s time to make a choice. …Are we the people who choose democracy over dictatorship? Everyone thought democracy was here to stay, so 15 years ago the question was …But it is not.” Americans must “choose community over chaos. That’s why we’re here as Dr. King’s life and legacy shows us the way, and we should heed.”

Born on January 15, 1929, King was murdered at the age of 39. He facilitated the passage of his 1964 Civil Rights Act and his 1965 Voting Rights Act. his older sister Christine King Farris;

“I’ve spoken before Congress, before kings, queens, and world leaders, and this is terrifying,” Biden said at the beginning of his sermon.

The president will be in Washington on Monday to speak at the National Action Network’s annual breakfast on the King’s holiday.


This story has been updated to reflect that Christine King Ferris is the sister of Martin Luther King Jr.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-voting-rights-martin-luther-king-jr-ebenezer-baptist-church/ Biden: Americans Should ‘Pay Attention’ to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

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