The Resurrection Of America!
Bobby E. Mills, PhD
Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., ignited a spiritual resurrection of the soul of America by helping America overcome its original sin: RACISM. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the Children of God.” (Matthew 5: 9). The innocent blood that was shed by so many “God-fearing-individuals” throughout the Civil Rights struggle was an abomination to God and mankind. Moreover, the death of so many “Children of God” by “Children of Cain” was heart wrenching. Dr. King was a gentle soul, and he appealed to the “better-angels” of the human spirit by embracing the tactic of non-violence. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for there is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5: 10). Dr. King in many of his sermons as well as public speeches admonished Blacks to keep the FAITH because, “we shall overcome”. Hence, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5: 8-9).
Dr. M. L. King spiritually and morally helped to shepherd America through some “spiritually-turbulent-violent” societal times: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, The assassination of President John Kennedy, the Urban Riots of the 1960’s, the poor people’s march on Washington, the Selma March, and the sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. However, the spiritual apex of Dr. King’s life is “canonized” in the letter from the Birmingham Jail in which he writes about the higher morality and spirituality of “self-purification”. On the one hand, injustice should not be tolerated in American society. But, on the other hand, those who are the victims of societal injustice should “self-purify” in order not to participate in their own victimization. Words without deeds are the epitome of immorality.
Saying one thing and doing another is not self-purification, but self-denigration (sin). In the deep shadows of disappointment regarding the race based policies of discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama, at that time, Dr. King wrote about taking direct action in the struggle for basic human and civil rights: “We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self-purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: Are you able to accept blows without retaliating? Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?” This quote is an excerpt from a letter Dr. King wrote while in a Birmingham Jail. (The Letter from the Birmingham Jail—MLK Research and Education Institute). Hence, this letter laid the framework for the spirituality of the Civil Rights Movement. Lest we forget the Black church in conjunction with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was the hub for the Civil Rights Movement.
America says constitutionally and philosophically that she is “one nation under the reality of God” whereby “equal is equal, not equal is more or less equal”. But, in reality America, even after a devastating and costly Civil War, America is still divided along racial and ethnic lines, the reality of the devil. God allowed his permissive will (the election of Donald J. Trump) to expose to the world community what America has been and still is: Racially Divided! Martin L. King spiritually attempted to foster God’s reality in the consciousness of American society by utilizing the tactic of non-violence. In order to continue to ensure a more just political and social climate in American society individuals must participate consistently in the democratic process by voting: “Don’t Complain VOTE”.
In turning the other cheek and going the “second-mile” the violence perpetrated against Blacks by Whites was magnified in the news media, especially television. Silence is consent. Morality cannot be legislated. Even though, we are a nation of laws (enacted), it is only an internal sense of “spirituality and morality” that will cause individuals to obey external laws. Therefore, we must always remember to: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4: 5-6).
This was Martin L. King’s spiritual approach to dealing with evil men whose “evil” mindset was to beat, lame, maim, and kill unarmed individuals who were seeking their constitutional rights. But, through it all MLK was able to make a historic “spiritual” speech at the Lincoln Monument: “I have a dream….I might not get to the promise land with you. But, as a people, we will get to the promise land”. The death of MLK was executed by a spiritually, unfulfilled man that knew not what he was doing, because he took the life of a spiritually fulfilled man from this earth. Without a doubt, Dr. King’s spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of freedom loving individuals.
America, what shall we say about these things concerning the twenty first century? Of course, there is a time honored saying, “if you cannot respect the man”: “respect the office”. Donald J. Trump has utterly destroyed this “spiritual-moral-paradigm”, because of his complete lack of “spiritual-moral-character-conscience”. This profound state of moral confusion could not have occurred without the consensual participation of Christian Right Evangelical Leaders and spiritually weak minded Republican officials, who can talk a good game, but cannot live by any spiritual-moral-precepts. In fact, they are not even willing to protect their own children from gun violence.
MLK would be alarmingly appalled at the lack of “spiritual-moral-conscience” displayed by twenty-first century Christian Right Evangelical Leaders regarding their public support of the immoral-divisive-behavior of President Trump. The letter from the Birmingham Jail was MLK’s public moral retort to the Christian leadership criticism of him as well as the inability of Christian Leaders to take a public-moral-stand-against the evil of racism and police brutality. Moreover, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8: 28). America, be not spiritually and morally dismayed, God does make “redemption-provisions” for individuals and nations when they sin.
The four conditions for God’s forgiveness of sins are recorded in (2 Chronicles 7:14): “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7: 14). For after all, true repentance is more than idle talk. Repentance is about changing one’s behavior. Therefore, without a doubt, MLK sought to call America to true repentance and a change of its behavior as a nation toward Blacks. Selah!