â€œSaintâ€ Michael (Jackson)?
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Should Michael Jackson be elevated to sainthood? If he was Catholic, there are a number of Catholics (and millions of other religionists, atheists, and agnostics) who would say â€œYes!â€ in a Moonwalk minute. As it is, his heart was with the God he was raised to worship, namely, Jehovah. He saw himself as a follower of Jesus Christ, and therefore endeavored to adopt the charitable spirit of the Lord. Since the King of Pop couldnâ€™t perform miracle healings or resurrections, he did whatever he could to help the ailing–especially children. He reportedly donated nearly a half billion dollars–a Guinness World Record it is claimed–to various charities. He believed Jesusâ€™ words at Acts 20:35, â€œThere is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.â€
He not only gave money to those in need, he also gave of his valuable time and other resources. In short, he gave of himself. One fan compiled the follow partial list and emailed it to me. It gives you a slight idea of the extent of Michaelâ€™s dedication to helping the poor and oppressed: Â Â Â
January 10, 1984: Michael visits the unit for burn victims at Brotman-Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles to encourage children who are burn victims.
April 9, 1984: David Smithee, a 14-year-old boy who suffers from cystic fibroses is invited to Michaelâ€™s home. It was Davidâ€™s last wish to meet Michael. He dies 7 weeks later.
April 14, 1984: Michael equips a 19-bed-unit at Mount Sinai New York Medical Center. This center is part of the T.J. Martell-Foundation for leukemia and cancer research.
July 5, 1984: During the Jacksonâ€™s press conference at Tavern On The Green, Michael announces that his part of the earnings from the Victory Tour will be donated to three charitable organizations: The United Negro College Fund, Camp Good Times, and the T.J. Martell-Foundation.
July 14, 1984: After the first concert of the Victory Tour, Michael meets 8 terminally ill children backstage.
December 13, 1984: Michael visits the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated when he was burned very badly during the producing of a Pepsi commercial. He donates all the money he receives from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children.
January 28, 1985: Michael and 44 other artists meet to record We Are The World, written by Michael and Lionel Ritchie. The proceeds of this record are donated to the starving people in Africa.
1986: Michael sits up the “Michael Jackson UNCF Endowed Scholarship Fund”. This $1.5 million fund is slated for students majoring in performance art and communications. Each year part of the money is given to students attending a UNCF member college or university.
February 28, 1986: After having had a heart-transplant, 14-year-old Donna Ashlock from California gets a call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she is a big fan of his. Michael invites her to his home as soon as she is feeling better. This visit takes place on March 8th. Donna stays for dinner and watches a movie together with Michael.
September 13, 1987: Michael supports a campaign against racism. He supports efforts of the NAACP, to fight prejudices against black artists.
October 1987: At the end of his Bad Tour, Michael donates some personal items to the UNESCO for a charitable auction. The proceeds will be for the education of children in developing countries.
February 1, 1988: The Song “Man In the Mirror” enters the charts. The proceeds from the sales of this record go to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.
March 1, 1988: At a press conference held by his sponsor Pepsi, Michael presents a $600,000 check to the United Negro College Fund.
April 1988: Free tickets are given away for three concerts in Atlanta, Georgia to the Make A Wish Foundation.
May 22, 1988: Michael visits children who suffer from cancer in the Bambini-Gesu Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Rome. He signs autographs and gives away sweets and records to the little patients. He promises a check of 100,000 pounds to the hospital.
July 16, 1988: Before a concert at Wembley Stadium Michael meets the Prince of Wales and his wife Diana. He hands over a check of 150,000 (approx $250,000 USD) pounds for the Princeâ€™s Trust, and a check of 100,000 pounds (approx $160,700 USD) for the childrenâ€™s hospital at Great Ormond Street.
July 20, 1988: Michael visits terminally ill children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. At a unit for less critical patients he stays a little bit longer and tells a story.
August 29, 1988: At his 30th birthday Michael performs a concert in Leeds, England for the English charity-organization “Give For Life.” The goal of this organization is the immunization of children. Michael presents a check for 65,000 pounds (Approx $106,000 USD).
December 1988: Michael visits 12-year-old David Rothenburg. His father had 5 years earlier burned him very badly in an act of revenge against his former wife.
January 1989: The proceeds of one of Michaelâ€™s shows in Los Angeles are donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child-abuse. In appreciation of the contributions of Michael, Childhelp of Southern California is founding the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse.”
January 10, 1989: The Bad Tour comes to an end. Underprivileged children are donated tickets for each concert and Michael donates money to hospitals, orphanages and charity-organizations.
Stay tuned next week for even more. Sometimes Michaelâ€™s actions were misunderstood. I know how he feels to an infinitesimally small extent. For instance, in my September 24, 2009, column entitled, â€œMichaelâ€™s Murky Murder Mystery?â€, I wrote that when confidante June Gatlin recorded a blockbuster telephone conversation between her and Michael in September 2008, Â that â€œapparently Michael wasn’t aware he was being recorded.â€ I characterized it this way so as to show that the conversation wasnâ€™t staged. That it was real. Genuine. That was it. Michael Jackson trusted Ms. Gatlin, and Iâ€™m quite certain that his trust was well placed. She has bravely done all Michaelâ€™s fans a great service by sharing the tape with the world. Thank you Ms. June Gatlin.
Stay tune for more charitable works from Michael Joseph Jackson. His legacy will endure to time indefinite. Amen.