I will be honest. I really hate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is no doubt heresy to secular liberals, but I do. Now, before you shout me down, let me be clear: I do not hate Martin Luther King, Jr. in fact, in some ways I quite admire the man. I have no problem with having a day that celebrates his legacy. What I despise is how we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy on that day. I find the secular holiday that supposedly honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to to trite and superficial, to the point of being demeaning of his legacy.
Why do I say this? The fact is that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.was a Christian. Not only was he a Christian, he was a Baptist minister. He had a sincere belief and relationship with Christ. Under-girding all of his political philosophy and theories of equality was the very basic premise: Mankind must look to God because humans are sinful.
Take, for example, this sermon he preached in 1954. I quote directly:
"The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’t so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live, have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. (That’s right) So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood. (Lord have mercy) And the great danger facing us today is not so much the atomic bomb that was created by physical science. Not so much that atomic bomb that you can put in an aeroplane and drop on the heads of hundreds and thousands of people-as dangerous as that is. But the real danger confronting civilization today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most dam- aging selfishness. That’s the atomic bomb that we’ve got to fear today.Problem is with the men. Within the heart and the souls of men. That is the real basis of our problem."
In other words, man is sinful. And how does he say this is remedied? By looking to God, specifically to Divine Law that God has written into the fabric of the world:
"All I’m trying to say is, our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so! God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against
God. That’s what we need in the world today-people who will stand for right and goodness. It’s not enough to know the intricacies of zoology and biology. But we must know the intricacies of law. It is not enough to know that two and two makes four. But we’ve got to know somehow that it’s right to be honest and just with our brothers. It’s not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines. But we’ve got to know the simple disciplines, of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don’t learn it, we will destroy ourselves, by the misuse of our own powers."
In other words, "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ sayeth, thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. Upon these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets."
This is the very basis of everything the Martin Luther King, Jr. believed and spoke about again and again.
You see it in his writings again and again and again, the last of which I quote here:
"I hope you can find some consolation from Christianity's affirmation that death is not the end. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power during these trying days."
Now, compare all this to what you hear at secular Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations and recollections by cable TV talking heads. Do you hear any of them talking about any of these foundational keystones of King's theology and political theory? I surely do not.
Take for instance this incredible document that the liberal bastion slate.com posted earlier this week. Notice anything in the opening commentary about King's Christian vision? Nope. Do they even touch the last bits about prayer and "using moral and spiritual forces to carry on the struggle for justice"? Are you kidding? The author of the article does quote the GOD BLESS YOU ALL at the end, but that's about the extent of the religious commentary on the document, and even that is just a direct quote.
Until I hear anyone seriously discussing the root of Martin Luther King, Jr's message, MLK Day to me will remain in the realm of annual political navel gaving as we say, "That surely was a nice speech," as we pat Dr. King on the head and send him on his way. He might even say something like this:
"It seems that I can hear the God of the universe smiling and speaking to this church, saying, "You are a great church because I was hungry and ye fed me. You are a great church because I was naked and ye clothed me. You are a great church because I was sick and ye visited me. You are a great church because I was in prison and ye gave me consolation by visiting me." And this is the church that’s going to save this world. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to heal the broken-hearted, to set at liberty them that are captive, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
Like Santa Claus, we tell him, "glad you stopped by, see you next year!" We certainly don't want him hanging around. He might actually make up theologically uncomfortable.We can't have something like that. It might ruin our day off. He might actually talk about the Bible and God and stuff. Like Jesus, he might even actually ask us to repent or something.
Oh, the horror.