- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 15, 2017

As the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day, one longtime political observer has an issue with the media coverage. There is a “deafening silence about the one element of King’s life without which none of his efforts would have been possible: his devotion to his faith and his God — his devotion to Jesus Christ,” writes Lee Habeeb, vice president of content for the Salem Radio Network, in a lengthy essay for Lifezette.com, the news site founded two years ago by Laura Ingraham.

Mr. Habeeb calls it the “secularization of Martin Luther King Jr.” and says the press methodically “strips faith” from the coverage, “redacting any and all references to the source of King’s inspiration.” He cites the absence of biblical references made by King himself during multiple speeches, most of them famous. Also missing: the title of “Reverend,” despite the fact that King held a doctorate in systemic theology from Boston University and was a Baptist minister, becoming pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1954 when he was 25.

“Listen to the stories of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. this week, and what you’ll hear is the sound of a secular media hard at work stripping the animating spirit out of one of America’s great men: the spirit of his Lord Jesus Christ,” Mr. Habeeb observes in his analysis. “The one enduring fact — the one enduring truth — the media can never rewrite, as hard as they might, is this: Martin Luther King Jr.’s desire to serve the God he loved changed forever the country he loved.”

A BIBLE IN TRANSIT

Every Bible is precious and noteworthy, that is for sure. Some Bibles, however, travel more than others. Such is the case with Ronald Reagan’s family Bible, used by Reagan when he was sworn into office as both California governor and U.S. president. This Bible has a hand-tooled natural leather cover depicting a dove, a horseman and the inscription “Cowboy Chapter Fellowship of Christian Athletes.” Normally on display at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, it will be a pivotal part of the inaugural ceremonies on Friday.

When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swears in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the Indiana governor’s right hand will rest upon the Reagan Bible — the first time anyone other than Reagan has done so at an inauguration. It will be open to II Chronicles 7:14, scripture also used by the 40th president in his own inaugurations.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” the passage reads.

The Reagan Foundation and Institute says the Bible is “a priceless artifact and requires special protection, and is entrusting it to Andrew Littlefair, one of President Reagan’s top White House aides, and who now serves on the board of trustees for the foundation. He will hand-carry the Bible from Los Angeles to Washington and “put it under lock and key,” the organization advises.

“It will be humbling to enter office with President Donald Trump, standing next to my family, with my wife Karen holding the same Bible used by President Reagan when he took office,” notes the ever-gracious Mr. Pence.

DEMOCRATS GIRD FOR BATTLE

President-elect Donald Trump has not gotten any honeymoon with the press, and he’s not getting any honeymoon from the opposition either. Which leads us to “The Trump War Room.” No, this is not a Republican undertaking. It belongs to the Democratic Party, which is consolidating its efforts to counter Mr. Trump in “a massive undertaking” — the incoming administration described as “the least qualified and most conflict-ridden Cabinet in history.”

The “war room” is also a fundraising tool, however.

“We’re putting more resources, more hours and more staff into holding Trump and his administration accountable — but we can’t do it without your help,” the Democratic Party advises loyalists. “Chip in to help fund our Trump War Room so Democrats can fight back.”

WRANGLING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

“Public school history textbooks have brainwashed generations of Americans with a cherry-picked, politically correct account of American history that presents mythologized versions of past American presidents as fact. So what’s the real story? Who was George Washington, really? Thomas Jefferson? Abraham Lincoln?”

And so asks Larry Schweikart, a University of Dayton history professor who was vexed enough by this phenomenon to write a book about it. The result: “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents, Part 1: From Washington to Taft” has just arrived in bookstores.

“Discover the unapologetic, unvarnished truth about early American presidents,” Regnery Publishing advises.

As was said back in an earlier era: huzzah.

Mr. Schweikert is also the author of multiple popular and scholarly books, including “A Patriot’s History of the United States.” So that ought to tell you something.

FOXIFIED

Fox News has a monumental schedule planned for its inauguration coverage later this week. But Monday has its own surprise in store.

The network will debut a new nightly prime-time show that has a unique tie to the incoming Trump administration.

“The First 100 Days” anchored by Martha MacCallum, will chronicle the beginning of the new administration and run through President-elect Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. Interesting. Ms. MacCallum herself believes there will be intense interest as the nation witnesses the Trump White House take shape, Twitter wars and all. Airtime is 7 p.m. EDT.

POLL DU JOUR

• 66 percent of Americans say the federal government should ensure everyone has access to affordable health insurance; 41 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

• 65 percent overall say Obamacare should be repealed at a later date “when there is a replacement”; 48 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats agree.

• 23 percent overall say Obamacare should be repealed now and replaced later; 34 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

• 13 percent overall say Obamacare should be repealed now and not replaced; 18 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,424 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 7-10.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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