How Martin Luther King became safe

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(RNS1-AUG27) Forty years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous ``I Have a Dream'' speech, widely divergent voices _ from the conservative Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to liberal gay rights organizations _ claim to be fighting for King's ``dream.'' See RNS-KING-COMPARE, transmitted Aug. 27, 2003. RNS file photo.

(RNS1-AUG27) Forty years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous ``I Have a Dream'' speech, widely divergent voices _ from the conservative Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to liberal gay rights organizations _ claim to be fighting for King's ``dream.'' See RNS-KING-COMPARE, transmitted Aug. 27, 2003. RNS file photo.

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We do not honor the slain civil-rights leader when we conveniently forget his radical message and actions.

  • Thanks David. This is a necessary reminder at a time when many have forgotten what Dr. King was doing in the 1960s. He’s safe now. Of course, we make Jesus safe as well.

    But people don’t get killed because they are all about service. Indeed!!

  • Phil

    Excellent post on an important day. As I teach social welfare policy, I point out to my students that taking a stand comes with a price. Dr King paid the same price as Christ, for most of the same reasons.

  • Theron

    David, your analytical and deeply spiritual perspective on events that touch our lives is consistently thought provoking and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this insightful reflection.

  • Debbo

    Well. That was powerful and well-written. It suddenly put me back in my parents’ living room on the white northern Great Plains middle America watching tv and seeing things I had no experience with. I wondered what it was likept for those black people I saw on the screen. I thought about the fear, the physical pain, and the strength.

    I admired the demonstrators and they scared me. In my community there was little understanding, but great uneasiness about it all. I wondered about MLK. Was he a good guy or a bad guy or something in between? He gave so much! Could I do that? I liked to think I could, but in reality, I doubted it. Very few of the people in my community supported MLK. They understood about inequality, but wanted it achieved more quietly. The disruption frightened them.

    As I’ve aged, learned more and gained perspective, my admiration for MLK has grown. It’s very hard to carry on in the face of the visceral hatred he endured.

  • Scott Shaver

    “White American racism” , in the present tense as used by the author, is being rapidly replaced by new forms of racism and “ethnic cleansing” which are not seen quite as problematic…at least not by observers with the author’s particular world view and brand of Christianity.