Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day!

In my mind, the best way to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr Day is to repeat his words and consider their meaning. Here are some of the things he said and how they touched me. I'd love to hear how this blog's readers feel his words. Drop me a comment!

We will stop communism by letting the world know that democracy is a better government than any other government and by making justice a reality for all of God's children. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King's famous speeches and powerful indictments of poverty, the war and the military-industrial complex seem amazingly fresh and on target today. I think that if Dr. King were alive today, he would view our current national state as a mixed bag of blessings and disappointments.

One thing that would give Dr. King hope: the generosity of everyday Americans who raised some $2.3 billion to help victims on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. He recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. By his words and his example, Dr. King challenged individuals to take action and lift up their neighbors and communities. That is one thing that all of the blogs I post to address...community based action to strengthen the resources of our Oklahoma communities.

One thing that I think would give the good doctor pause, is the ever widening income gap. In the America of 1960, the top 20% of the wealthiest U.S. citizens enjoyed 30 times the wealth of the bottom 20%. Just four decades later, the gap has grown to 75 times.

More children are growing up poor in America than in any other industrial nation. Millions of workers are making less money in real dollars than they did 20 years ago. Working Americans are working on average more hours than ever before. Forty-five million Americans, 8 of 10 who have jobs, have no health insurance. To me, this does not indicate wise stewardship of our most vital national resource...our people.

We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King spoke these words at Riverside Church in 1967, a year before he was assassinated. I don't think Americans listen clearly enough to that prophetic message.

A Loving Focus valuing People - A Most Christian Concept

Dr. King had much Christian wisdom to offer not just about civil rights, but also about economic equality and war. He spoke out many times against a hawkish Latin American policy which favored the elite, and general foreign policy which supported cruel dictators. Despite being a minister, he also stood up for the tradition of Church and State separation.

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I think that most folks will agree that we are still feeling the impact today of the seemingly patriotic, yet clearly unchristian choices made in those turbulent times. The only disagreements would be what choices and who made them!

I am glad we take time each January to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ..that was one smart preacher! Technorati Tags:

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