Sunday, August 28, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

A dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was suppose to have taken place this weekend.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature, in the form of Hurricane Irene, had other plans, the the dedication has been postponed.  the TV program, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, has a nice report about it.

I was only 15 years old when he died, assassinated in Memphis TN.  It was only during my seminary years that I began to appreciate what he accomplished for civil rights, not just for Black Americans, but for all minorities.  He showed what power non-violent protest and action could have.  He showed what could be accomplished when you treated opponents, even violent opponents, as fellow human beings.  In many ways he reminds me of another famous preacher, of St. Francis of Assisi, who would walk amidst the warring factions of an Italian city, preaching peace; and who call a Muslim sultan a brother.

We live now in times when protests about injustices in society either turn violent, or are met with state sponsored violence.  We are becoming a society where civil discourse about issues is no longer seen as "in," and name calling and yelling is becoming part of politics.  Never has there been such a need for the spirit of  Doctor King, the spirit of Francis. 

I have an image in my mind, of two individuals, one a black man dressed in a dark suit, the other a small white man in a tattered brown robe, walking on a road to Washington, DC, ready to preach to power, ready to preach peace.

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