The man who was to become Dr. Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was twenty-five years old, in 1954. King’s faith was strongly based on Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies, praying for them and blessing them. His nonviolent thought was also based in the injuction to turn the other cheek in the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus’ teaching of putting the sword back into its place.
As the world sinks deeper into ignorance, violence and barbarity, the need for strong moral leadership has never been greater and few have stepped up to fill this great man’s shoes. On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and speaking against the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a bold 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam.” I have great admiration for Dr. King’s courage to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. Not just from the comfort of his church pulpit, but loudly, eloquently and publicly. Here are a few quotes from Dr. King that may encourage us to examine our core beliefs and “do the right thing.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
Brother John is ordained through the Universal Life Church