Cornel West Lashes Out at Use of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Bible at Inauguration

The professor says it dishonors King's legacy.

Posted: 01/23/2013 03:52 PM EST

The colorful and outspoken professor Cornel West has no plans to let up on President Obama in his second term. Indeed, West went on the attack before the president had even taken the oath of office.

The reason? Obama's decision to use Martin Luther King Jr.'s bible at his public swearing-in.

"When I got the news that my dear brother Barack Obama, President Obama, was going to put his precious hand on Martin Luther King Jr.'s bible, I got upset," West said in an appearance on C-SPAN last week. "And I got upset because you don't play with Martin Luther King Jr., and you don't play with his people. And by his people what I mean is people of good conscience, fundamentally committed to peace and truth and justice, and especially the Black tradition that produced it."

West, who in the past has called the president a "Republican in blackface," is offended by the use of King's bible for what he described as a "a moment of presidential pageantry." He said he's glad that Obama won because Republican Mitt Romney "would have been a catastrophe." But he has on several occasions suggested that if King were alive today he'd be protesting Obama, who in his opinion hasn't done enough to close economic, educational and other gaps for minority and low-income communities.

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(Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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