[January 19, 2015] Today we pay our respects to Martin Luther King Jr. His leadership through insight and persistence helped pave the way for equality under the law for all races. He used nonviolent means to help bring about fundamental change based on the belief that people should not be judged by their race but by their character. But is this happening today?
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
There are many today who say that has become less true. The argument goes something like this: because blacks are helpless to achieve success in America, the government must use its power in law and persuasion. Therefore the government is justified, the argument continues, to impose success through quotas, special privileges and advantages, and the tolerance of race-baiting, rioting, and anti-police rhetoric. I disagree with this assessment as I see the overall advancement made has been momentous. Others agree with me also.
Even the most righteous movements have setbacks. Over the past few years race relations in the United States have not advanced and perhaps have regressed. Here is a message to those who see people for the content of their character … take heart and don’t despair as there will be a rise in leadership and through the good works of people in our society we will soon be back on track.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The struggle will falter if we justify violence and disobedience of moral law, fail to honor the good character in people, and use unjust means to achieve a justified end. “My father’s approach to the most brutal and unambiguous social injustices during the civil rights struggle was rooted in nonviolence as a morally and tactically correct response,” Martin Luther King III said in an interview with The Washington Times. “In no way do I, nor would my father, condone any ‘ends justify the means’ behavior.”1 For a great read on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s thoughts about racial injustice, I recommend reading his Letter from the Birmingham Jail (link here).
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