On Monday, January 19 the U.S. will celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday, honoring the life of an American hero and a Christian martyr.
Dr. King grew up in a world where many people believed that the black African people were inferior to the white Europeans. This belief, which was used to support slavery in the U.S. and the colonization of Africa by Europe, directly contradicts Biblical teaching that all humans are from the same family and that God commands us to love our brothers. However, the rise of Secularism and a Darwinistic view of the human race gave a scientific veneer to the myth of racial superiority. Modern science has now proven that all humans came from the same mother, as the Bible teaches, and that there is more genetic difference within the races than between them.
So Thomas Jefferson was right when he said all men are created equal. But making that statement a reality has been a long battle in the U.S. We fought the Civil War to end slavery, and the war brought God’s judgment, as one soldier died for each slave imported into the country and the slaveholding South was devastated. Nevertheless, racial inequality was reborn in the “Jim Crow” system of laws which discriminated against black people in the South. After the Second World War black servicemen who had proven themselves the equal of their white brothers found it more and more difficult to accept their oppression.
In many countries oppressed minorities had taken up arms, but the U.S. was spared from this fate. Instead, a black Baptist pastor called on his people to use nonviolent Christian principles to bring about change. Dr. King’s Civil Rights crusade eventually bought an end to the Jim Crow laws and led to a broad level of reconciliation between the races. Sadly, he and many others gave their lives to bring about the nonviolent Civil Rights revolution.
We still have some work to do to reach Dr. King’s goal of a color blind society and full racial reconciliation. But on this day we celebrate a Baptist pastor who used Christian principles and his Christian faith to bring his white and black brothers together.
Let us pray that Dr. King’s memory will be honored by reconciliation and unity, and that those who would divide and promote hatred, whether white or black, will be exposed and repudiated.