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I don’t know why, but when the news reported that Pastor Corey Brooks was being criticized for donating $2,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick (former mayor of Detroit, accused of corruption), the story “Gulliver’s Travels” (by Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745) came to mind, especially the image of Gulliver lying flat on his back, tied down with many, many ropes by many little people. 

Maybe it was because in the recesses of my mind, I remembered that the Lilliputians – the little people – were depicted as backbiters and petty.  

Anyway, Rev. Brooks defended the donation from his church by pointing out that the money was for the family of Mr. Kilpatrick, and Mr. Kilpatrick’s family did not commit the crimes.  He also stated that the philosophy of his church was to help others and that his church would not stop giving.  He and his New Beginnings Church remain humane or “humanely yours.”

As some readers may recall, Rev. Brooks lived on top of an abandoned motel for three months during the winter to call attention “to the violence plaguing the community” and to raise enough money to tear down the motel, the site of a lot of criminal behavior. 

He succeeded. 

He then walked from New York City to Los Angeles from June to October of 2012 to continue to bring attention to violence and to raise money to build a community center in the church’s neighborhood.

There are others who remain “humanely yours.”  Father Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest and still pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, is a social activist.  He has been criticized and threatened for being too outspoken and too involved in social issues, but he continues to fight against violence and help those in need.  Humanely yours.

The (14th) Dalai Lama fled Tibet during the Tibetan uprising in 1959, but he continues to travel around the world and talk about “the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life.”  He remains humanely yours.

As we approach January 21st the day to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), we should think about Dr. King’s efforts “to help oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity,” which included involvement in the anti-poverty movement.  He was criticized, threatened, jailed and beaten for fighting for the welfare of others, but he remained humanely yours and mine. 

Dr. King continued the fight for others until he was assassinated.  I doubt that he would condemn Pastor Brooks and his church for making a donation to the Kilpatrick family in the spirit of giving.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...