Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Feast of Martin Luther King Jr.

From the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last; Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I wanted to touch on this yesterday but there was too much stuff and note enough day, so I'll give it a toss.

I was a kindergartener on April 4, 1968 when the shot rang out in the Memphis sky. I remember the unrest that broke out in my hometown of Coatesville, PA, when arsonists struck with fury. Those were nights when not only were homes burning, but the volunteer firemen were sitting ducks for snipers waiting in the overpasses. These were tragic days.

I often wonder, 42 years after the Reverend Doctor's untimely demise, what would be his take on the shape of things today?

Dr. King's message was Biblical and Conservative. It stood in stark contrast to the evils perpetrated by and perpetuated by southern Democratic Governors and legislatures, Bull Connor types and men who went about in white hoods. In the Doctor's ethos, the Black man and the White man shared the same humanity. He inspired those to look for the day when his children would live in unity and harmony with my father's children. In his vision, pigmentation would no longer be a point of division. Rev. King's words seem to echo those of Saint Paul who proclaimed the truth of the "Colorblind" Kingdom of God.

Sometime in the late 1980's, Doctor King's message was hijacked by those advocates of race-based politics. The message of unity was usurped by an angry, divisive, hate-filled message. a contingent of self-loathing white liberals jumped on this message with a vengeance. This new message of victimhood has only served to balkanize the very society that Doctor King sought to unite.

I truly wonder what Doctor King would say to the Jackson's and the Sharpton's of today's world?

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