2017-01-11 / Editorials

Rev. King’s Message Still Resonates

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated on Monday, January 16. The courageous visionary and Nobel Peace Prize winner would have been 88 this year. He was taken from us much too soon, in the prime of his life, at age 39. Dr. King was raised in a secure, well-cushioned environment, with all the benefits of higher education. He said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” With his doctorate in systematic theology and BAs in sociology and divinity, he took his learning and faith to heart. Rather than resting in comfort, which he could easily have done, King set out to right the wrongs he observed around him perpetrated upon innocent victims. Dr. King started his journey as one of the key figures of civil rights battling segregation in the southern states, but he extended his vision to include equal rights for all, including the oppressed poor worldwide, protesting the war in Vietnam, and all war. He lived the great truths he spoke:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Nearly a half-century since his death, his message still resonates loud and clear. The following are two favorite quotes, which sum up beautifully his emphasis on peaceful protest, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” The temptation is great, for some, to tear down all existing institutions of society and start over, but even if one could put out fire with gasoline, that would only bring us back to our primitive, uncivilized beginnings. We build upon the efforts of our forebears, and continue improving, moving forward and backtracking as little as possible. Our society rightly values peaceful resolution of conflict.

We celebrate King to preserve his important legacy, and in recognition of the fact that he brought us a long way, and has lit the way much further along the road ahead.

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