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    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Letter from a Birmingham Jail
    On good Friday, April 12, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy were arrested for demonstrating without a permit. The next day, the Birmingham campaign was launched. These demonstrations would prove to be the turning point in the war to end desegregation in the South. During the eleven days he spent in jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a famous letter. If you get a chance, King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail is worth the read. It demonstrates the genius of an inspirational leader who fought injustice through non-violent means and sparked a social revolution.

    A few passages really spoke to me...

    "I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constatnly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    But despite [some] notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as on of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as along as the cord of Rio shall lengthen.

    Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are."

    King's disappointment with the "white moderates" and "white church" is quite compelling. It leaves you with the impression that when confronted with injustice, silence is often just as bad as the injustice itself.



    Shared by Silke @ 1:30 PM

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