Thoughts (from MLK, Jr.) on MLK, Jr. Day

Every eighteen months or so I re-read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It is thoughtful in every sense of the word. It is direct, lucid, and logical while brimming with passion. It speaks the truth to those who would rather look away. When I look at the news coverage and our politicians’ ongoing behavior and feel like the truth is dying, I re-read the “Letter.” Here are some of my favorite lines:

  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
  • “One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
  • “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
  • “I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.”
  • “But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”
  • “I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.”

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Anti-Spam Quiz: