Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

MLK Day: A Few Thoughts On an Old Article

Last year, a liberal, left-wing, professor of African-American history at Rutgers University, Donna Murch, published an article in the Washington Post entitled “Five myths about Martin Luther King.” Ironically, the first “myth” that she addressed in her article was the truth I wanted to discuss this morning.

As I understood it, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a color-blind society.  In his 1963 speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial he famously said:

“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.”

Now, I’m not a linguist, nor am I an expert in African American history, but it would seem clear to me that not judging someone by the color of his skin equates with “color blind.” However, the good professor at Rutgers who regularly teaches classes on the Black Panthers and mass incarceration said this was not so. Referring to King’s “dream” as myth #1, Dr. Murch wrote:

“Since his death, King has emerged as a triumphalist figure, used to reassure us that the United States has transcended its history of racial strife. Of all the minister’s powerful oratory, [those] words from his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 are some of the most cited … But King knew that the economy wasn’t color-blind, and he believed that the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts would not eliminate racial disparity.”

I’m sorry, Professor Murch, but didn’t Dr. King say, “I have a dream“? Isn’t it possible to hope for something that has not yet come to pass? Just because King may have recognized certain disparities, did it mean he couldn’t dream of a day when those disparities were erased?

Dr. King and I would disagree on some issues, particularly some theological ones (because even though he was a Baptist, not all Baptists agree on topics such as a “social gospel”). However, had I been alive back then, or if Dr. King were alive and here today, we would both find solid common ground where race and character are concerned.

Racism is wrong. Period.

We are ALL made in the image of God,  and we’re loved by Him so much that John 3:16 actually happened.

As a matter of fact, all the people groups of the world, no matter the color, are represented in Scripture, and from each one there will be those who worship Jesus Christ in unity.

And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slaughtered, and you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. – Revelation 5:9 CSB

Beyond that, I have just one more thing to say. It would be nice if the intellectual elites like Dr. Donna Murch, Ph.D., would get the name correct – Martin Luther King was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daddy.

 

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Filed under Christian Unity, current events

Reverse-Racism and Legalism

Have You Heard?

Unless you live under a rock or play video games all day while your mom does your laundry and pays your bills, you are probably aware that there was an election held in the United States. And unless you are so “spiritual” that you could care less who leads the nation in which you live, you are probably aware that Barack Obama was elected to a second term.

That being said, I thought I would share with you what happened on Wednesday morning, the day after the election.

Elementary Conclusions

If you do not already know, I drive a school bus in the mornings and afternoons to supplement my income as a bi-vocational pastor. The students I transport range in age from 5 to 18.

On Wednesday morning, after transporting the older students to school, I stopped to pick up my first elementary students. At 7:41 a.m. the first three, two girls and one boy, got on the bus

As happened earlier in the morning with the middle and high school students, chants of “Obama won! Obama won!” rang out and echoed within the aluminum walls of my bus. It was like both young and old went to the same victory rally. Then, a sweet, little girl (I won’t mention her name) came up behind me as I was driving and excitedly asked,

“Did you know Obama won?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Who did you vote for, Mr. Baker?”

“I voted for Mr. Romney.”

“Ewwww! Boooooo! Why did you vote for Romney?”

“Why do you think I voted for Mitt Romney?” I asked.

“Because he was too white, that’s why.”

How insulting! She thought (assumed) that I voted for Romney because he looked like me.  Why would she think that? Whatever she believed is what she was taught at home. Whatever she thought of me was based on what she was told about all white people. What was I supposed to say?

I spoke the truth. “[Little girl],” I said, “that was a very racist statement.”

Alive and Well

Sadly, after all the progress that has been made in this great nation, racism is still alive and well, but not in the form people want to admit. Reverse-racism is just as much racism as any other kind, but few recognize it, and fewer condemn it.

Wednesday morning I was essentially labeled a bigot because I voted for a candidate that was the same race as me. If that was true, then what does it say about those of a different color who voted for the candidate that looked like them? Are they bigots, too?

Believe it or not, legalism and this story have a lot in common. Legalism assumes the thoughts and intentions of another based on outward appearances and man-made teachings. Reverse-racism, at least in my case, assumed my intentions because of my skin color. Now, what was it that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said?

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.…[1]

Legalism ignores the “content of one’s character” as long as outward appearances don’t match a pre-determined template for holiness, while reverse-racism disqualifies legitimate concern and silences those who would speak out.

Both legalism and reverse-racism tend to cause people to act out of fear, rather than conviction. Both steal a person’s God-given freedom to think.

Both are wrong.


[1] William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced According to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).

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Filed under America, General Observations, legalism, Uncategorized, voting