Why we need a prophetic voice in America (COMMENTARY)

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Participants hold hands at the Moral Monday demonstration on the grassy lawn of the N.C. General Assembly last Monday (June 17). During Moral Monday demonstrations, participants listen to a fiery speech denouncing the Republican majority’s legislative actions, sing freedom songs, chant civil rights slogans and then they march two by two into the legislative building to be handcuffed by police and arrested for failing orders to disperse. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

Participants hold hands at the Moral Monday demonstration on the grassy lawn of the N.C. General Assembly last Monday (June 17). During Moral Monday demonstrations, participants listen to a fiery speech denouncing the Republican majority’s legislative actions, sing freedom songs, chant civil rights slogans and then they march two by two into the legislative building to be handcuffed by police and arrested for failing orders to disperse. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

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(RNS) As we pause to remember King, the prophetic voice rings out still, interrupting our petty politics to call forth a moral movement that recaptures our deepest religious and constitutional convictions.

  • “But no victory goes unpunished in a prophetic moral struggle.”

    What is prophetic about it?
    Religion and its inhumane decrees of bondage and bigotry was precisely the enemy in the pursuit of human rights for all. The Southern Baptist Church was founded on principles of RELIGIOUS SLAVERY.

    Americans who seek prophecy show no respect for their Constitution
    The only “prophetic voice” we need is the US Constitution
    which represents one of the highest achievements of human endeavor.

    The nauseating and depraved consequences of ‘prophecy’ are the religious beheadings, medieval superstitions and empty gods which fill up our news 24 hours a day.

    Eliminating Jim Crow was about reducing the power of the rich, religious power and living up to Human Rights above God’s laws.

    “that America may one day live up to the promise of its (secular) creed” – MLK

    ‘ALL ARE BORN EQUAL’, SAID NO GOD, EVER.

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  • Black Folks y’all already know a democratic socialist. His name was King. –Killer Mike

    Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.
    –MLK, 1966

    I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. … –MLK, Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952

  • Greg j

    I think Dr King knew the difference between destroying your enemy and winning people from your enemy. The enemy was something rather than someone. I don’t know if you destroy things like racism and poverty. It could be that you go from generation to generation winning people away from the acceptance of these things. Winning from generation to generation looks different than destroying your enemy from generation to generation. Sounds different, feels different, works different. Hard to explain what exactly makes that difference but people can be moved to change we have witnessed it in this country. But is it the prophet or is it something else?

  • Our problems will not be solved by another prophetic leader. http://thelastwhy.ca/poems/2011/6/29/dalai-lama-pope-et-al.html

  • I would add that when the Church, both as a collection of individuals and as an institution, does not speak prophetically to society, it supports and promotes the sins of the status quo and the oppression practiced by those with wealth and power. But not only that, it disillusions its own members who are young. Unfortunately, there are more historical examples of the Church siding with wealth and power than examples of the Church speaking prophetically. And evidence the Church is failing to speak prophetically is seen when the Church emphasizes the need to repent from individual sins while neglecting to preach repentance for national, societal, and systemic sins.

  • Jack

    This article is correct, and wonderfully so, on how Dr. King’s generation was truly prophetic — speaking truth to power and risking their lives, their safety, and their freedom in the process. This includes the pantheon of black civil rights heroes, but also people like Rabbi Heschel and most starkly, young people like those who died horribly in the “Mississippi Burning” atrocity.

    But today’s apologists for thugs and bullies like Michael Brown are not prophetic; they are conformist. Worse, they are calling good evil and evil good. By turning thugs into heroes, they devalue the true heroes in the black community, who live quiet lives of integrity and compassion.

    Unlike the current generation of conformists and moral cowards, King was not afraid of addressing the problem of thugs, criminals, and the destructive radicalism that makes excuses for bad behavior.

  • Scott shaver

    Perhaps the prophetic voices around us just aren’t recognized as such. They could very well be rejected carte-blanche as xenophobic, homophobic, politically insensitive, gender insensitive, micro-agressive…..or whatever else the grid of positive tolerance demands these days.

    Don’t know that “prophets” have always been as moved-by-the-culture as some would have them today.

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  • Debbo

    Exactly, Mr. Day.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    As a cradle Methodist and former leader in the UMYF (United Methodist Youth Fellowship) I am satisfied that a certain Presidential candidate which shares those characteristics can function as that so-called “prophetic voice.”

  • Jack

    But Scott, some of these same people have decided that the way to advance the things of God is to go the way of the world, by hiring out political “muscle” in the form of arrogant, boastful, sneering, unrepentant demagogues like Donald Trump.

    That is not prophetic.

    Unfortunately, there are no prophetic souls running for president, nor are there any prophetic voices in America today.

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