Tales from the Trail

Clinton finds the jazz in her job, honors King and Gandhi

With jazz great Herbie Hancock and Congressman John Lewis at her side, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a State Department ceremony on Thursday to mark the departure of a cultural delegation to India to commemorate civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s trip therhancocke 50 years ago.

King and his wife, Coretta, traveled to India in 1959 to study the life and works of India’s legendary nonviolent independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. King adopted many of Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence to the U.S. civil rights movement in the early 1960s.
Clinton said she was “jealous” of the trip by the delegation, which includes Hancock, civil rights veteran Lewis, King’s son, Martin Luther King III, and Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus. The group will travel to New Delhi and other sites associated with Gandhi.

Hancock said the philosophy of cooperation, communication and harmony espoused by King and Gandhi “are also essential elements of every jazz band.”

Clinton, meanwhile, said the delegation was “exactly what the State Department should be doing even more of.”

“Jazz is not just about music,” the newly installed diplomat said. “As secretary of state, I’m improvising every day.”

from FaithWorld:

Obama evokes church/state divide at National Prayer Breakfast

Religion's role in U.S. politics was on full display on Thursday as President Barack Obama spoke and prayed at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

Obama, an adult convert to Christianity, used the occasion to announce that he will be establishing a White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This will replace or be an extension of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives established by former President George W. Bush, who was strongly supported by conservative Christians.

Some of Obama's remarks about the new office are sure to raise eyebrows in those conservative Christian circles. For example: