Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Too often our churches are guilty of sanitizing and domesticating King's radical message. We embrace the King of Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, while ignoring the King who boldly and courageously opposed the Vietnam War, arguing that "America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube." We lose sight of the man who was assassinated while supporting sanitation workers in Memphis. We forget that prior to his death, King was in the midst of organizing a Poor Peoples campaign to unite white, black, and brown around a shared economic justice agenda. Dr. King understood that the next phase of civil rights had to realize economic justice for the disinherited of America. At worst, some will proof text and manipulate King's words – such as "we should be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character" in order to justify their own ideological arguments to reverse many of the gains of the civil rights movement, including in affirmative action programs.

Adam Taylor, Baptist minister

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