Life Through the Lens of Faith
An Open Letter to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
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Friday, February 1, 2008


                        An Open Letter to

             Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick


Dear Kwame:


I worked as an operative in Detroit during the 1996 presidential campaign.  During that time I taped a radio commercial featuring a young school teacher with political aspirations.  Imagine my elation, a few years later when I was watching the news and discovered that you were the new mayor of Detroit.


A year after that, I gave my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Now I cherish the reading of the word of God, spiritual growth under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and spreading the gospel above all earthly pursuits.  Elections and politics mean nothing to me now.  That is, unless they conflict with the mission.


As I have watched events unfold from afar regarding your text messages this week I hoped that sanity would prevail--having watched a similar death spiral from a vantage point near Marion Barry’s inner circle.  Now I feel compelled to chime in.


What happened in Detroit Wednesday night epitomized everything that is wrong with the black church and African American politicians.  Both are all too often undisciplined, unprincipled and fake.  Theirs is an unholy alliance.


The gospel is to be lived by example, and is best preached one on one, not for a camera.  Love, compassion, sacrifice and forgiveness are the watchwords; but humility and holiness are also critically important.  Politics is corrupt and almost completely in opposition to Godly pursuits.  Politics is about ego, power and money.  The two don’t mix; or shouldn’t.


Politics and politicians are not necessary for salvation.


When one stumbles badly and commits major sin, sincerely asking for forgiveness is only the first step.  For faith and holiness to mean anything whenever a leader falls short he must step aside for a period of spiritual cleansing and rejuvenation.  Any other course is phony.


As a lawyer I understand your taking the 5th in staged mea culpa.  But as a saved person I have to ask: “Mayor; why didn't you admit what you did wrong and put yourself in God's hands?”


The answer is; because you put your position and power before faith in God (which is probably what got you in trouble in the first place).


That churches have offered unscrupulous civic leaders the protection of the cross in the past is reprehensible and it has demeaned the church.  Many politicians only use religious faith when it suits them.


Brother Kilpatrick, you have tainted yourself, and all who follow you, with your capricious errors.  To continue will only compound them.  You have disqualified yourself as a leader--at least temporarily.  Your moral authority is gone.  How can the top official of a city go on after lying under oath about a material matter in court?


What do you want the children to remember?  That power and image is everything.  Or, that one’s actions have consequences, and people of faith are real.  We all will get over the shock and embarrassment.  But pretending that nothing has happened is insane.


I pray, Mayor Kilpatrick that you don't go to jail and I pray you do repent.  I've been there myself and no one wants to abandon you.  I forgive you as I know the Lord will.


It's best if you just step aside brother.  Sometimes, just apologizing isn't quite enough.


  • Related Articles & Blogs

Washington Post article "Detroit Mayor's Troubles Test a City Short on Good Fortune," from 3/8/08

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