"And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means… destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967
Today we celebrate the heroic life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He modeled courage. He challenged oppression. He risked and even gave his life for the cause of justice. He not only pushed this country to be a racially integrated society, but he also stood in solidarity with underpaid workers, and he was a passionate advocate for peace.
In the almost 40 years since Dr. King’s death, our society has continued to struggle over issues of equality and justice. Sadly, ours remains a society where Queer people can be vilified by politicians and preachers alike, and where discrimination against Queer people can be promoted by legislatures and written into constitutions. Sadly, we continue to wage war, even on our own environment. Sadly, we continue to drop bombs on foreign soil. Sadly, racism still tries to undermine “liberty and justice for all.” Sadly, power and privilege are still protected while the middle class slips into poverty, and the poor struggle to survive.
And yet, the witness and the example of Dr. King remain with us, and his voice continues to call out for justice and equality and peace. Today, let’s pause to reflect on the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. And let’s recommit to establishing peace, progress, fairness and goodwill in our society and in our world.