Martin Luther King’s Birthday

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Last week, I attended a King Day service in which the minister told of witnessing racial violence against Blacks in predominantly white communities, and against whites in predominantly Black communities. Among many other important points, he said the obvious: White kids shouldn’t beat up on Black kids, and Black kids shouldn’t beat up on white kids. 

I told him afterward that he hadn’t gone far enough. The real point is that nobody should beat up on anybody. 

Don’t allow racial pride to turn Jekyll into Hyde

January 15th is the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., no matter what your calendar tells you.

The third Monday in January, which never falls on the 15th, is the federal holiday to celebrate the legacy of the civil rights leader. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 “for his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population.” The holiday serves as a reminder of how far we have come in civil rights and how far we have yet to go.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968—the year the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was adopted. This holiday, though, waited until 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.

A Baptist minister, King brought Christian principles and Gandhi’s strategies of passive resistance to the struggle for equal rights.

And that is what struck me about the sermon at the King Day service. Hatred and violence are evil, regardless of who is doing what to whom. It’s especially ugly when it occurs between people who look different from one another, but evil is evil. The world is shortsighted; we should look for what we have in common rather than what divides us.

Think of what we could achieve in a world that truly judged people on the quality of their character.

Want to read more of the column quoted above? You can, online, at Under Advanced Search, search for “Howard Fielding” in All Text, “Republican-American” in Source, and “January 24, 2010” in Date.

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