Monday, January 17, 2011
Ten Other Things Martin Luther King Said
I was too young to understand what was meant by "prophetic voice." My middle class, all-white Methodist Church in Jersey didn't emphasize it in Sunday School or from the pulpit. Why risk making too strong a connection with the more comfortable, complacent inhabitants of ancient Israel & the contrarians they raised up in their midst?
I discovered the "prophetic voice" in American poetry & had to backtrack to the sources. The voice isn't always loud, preachy, & obvious. It can be subtle & enigmatic. It can make you squirm in your seat or make you want to stand up & walk away, hands clasped over ears.
Establishing a national holiday for Dr. King required making him seem less radical. The religious right has tried to appropriate him, although that "movement" was galvanized by court decisions & federal policies regarding racist policies at Christian schools. Dr. King (like Robert Kennedy) was assassinated after he began speaking out against the Vietnam War & for economic justice.
Kind of like Jesus and others who bring the prophetic voice into the world.