IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Lowery speaks 'truth to power' at King funeral

Civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery tells The Situation's Tucker Carlson why he took a dig at the Bush administration during the funeral of Coretta Scott King.
/ Source:

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.  Millions without health insurance.  Poverty abounds.  For war, billions more, but no more for the poor." These were the words Reverend Joseph Lowery spoke at Coretta Scott King's funeral on Tuesday in Atlanta in front of an audience of 10,000 including President Bush and former Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Carter.

Many have claimed the Reverend's comments were a dig at the Bush Administration.  Reverend Lowery joined Tucker Carlson to explain his comments.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST 'THE SITUATION':  So why, when you can at any time, from your pulpit or any other place, attack the president‘s policies, why would you use a funeral to needle the president about weapons of mass destruction?  Why there today?

REVEREND JOSEPH LOWERY:  Well, my remarks were not about the president, nor about me.  They were about Mrs. King and what she stood for and conversations we had had about war and the weapons of mass deception. 

Remember that Dr. King, her husband‘s three-headed monster, poverty, and war, were things that Mrs. King embraced and extended in her own life.  And she was very much opposed to war and talking about her life in the context of civil rights and human rights and the movement.  She was the first lady of that movement, and she was very active in he—in fighting and opposing violence and war. 

CARLSON:  Of course, she was against war.  Most people are against war.  But you made a very specific reference to this war and a controversy that surrounded our entrance into it. 

You said, quote, “We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there.  Coretta knew and we knew there were weapons of misdirection right down here.” 

It‘s not hard to hear that and not draw the obvious conclusion that that‘s an attack on President Bush, which of course is your right to do, and I think completely fair.  But again, it seemed very uncomfortable to say something like that in a funeral with the president right there.  It seemed like bad manners.

LOWERY:  Well, I don‘t think so.  I certainly didn‘t intend for it to be bad manners.  I did intend for it to—to call attention to the fact that Mrs. King spoke truth to power.  And here was an opportunity to demonstrate how she spoke truth to power about this war and about all wars. 

And I think that, in the context of the faith, out of which the movement grows, we have always opposed war.  We‘ve always fought poverty.  And we base our—our argument on—on the faith, on the fact that Jesus taught us.  He identified with the poor.  “I was hungry; you didn‘t feed me.  I was naked; you didn‘t clothe me.  I was in prison; you didn‘t see about me.”  He talked about war.  He talked about he who lives by the sword. 

So I‘m comfortable with the fact that I was reflecting on Mrs. King‘s tenacity against war, her determination to witness against war and to speak truth to power. 

CARLSON:  Were you comfortable with President Jimmy Carter‘s remarks, which also seemed openly partisan and political?  His reference to the domestic spying controversy now surrounding the president and to the federal government‘s response to Katrina?  Was that an appropriate series of remarks to give at a funeral, do you think?

LOWERY:  Well, Mr. Carter is very capable of defending himself.

CARLSON:  But what did you think, I‘m wondering?

LOWERY:  Well, I think that I‘m responsible for my remarks and not Mr.  Carter‘s.  I just think that, in speaking truth to power, if there were no fabrications and there were no deceptions, there were no misstatements or errors in fact, then I think that Mr. Carter had a right to say what he feels.