Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, January 15, 2012
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.
And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.
A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
A riot is the language of the unheard.
An individual has not started living
until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns
to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.; he was born on this date, 1929;
he was assassinated in Memphis, age 39
In 1967, age 21, I came to live in the United States to join a religious order. Very quickly I came to see just how pervasive racism was, over 100 years since emancipation; just how profoundly America had been shaped by slavery. And still is. That was 45 years ago and, while some things have greatly changed and improved, I am still shaken by the daily evidence today of how powerfully racism manifests itself. Rarely does a day go by that racist acts are not reported, whether it be a black man dragged to death behind a pick-up, or Republicans (the spiritual/political descendents of the original American colonies in the Deep South and Tidewater) trying to pass laws on voter ID that will clearly negatively affect the African-American community (among others), or the deliberate targeting of African-Americans for sub-prime mortgages, or other more “subtle” insults and discriminations.
Whatever propagandists try to do to distract us, the bottom line is that Dr King died in service of and love for freedom, for the whole of American society, and as a witness to the God of Justice and Compassion.
I am a member, in America and in the World today, of a minority discriminated against, scapegoated, deprived of the equal rights promised to all in the Constitution, and often the victim of violence - witnessed to just today by the falsely-called “Christian Evangelicals”, many of whom head anti-Gay hate groups, and who today endorsed Rick Santorum. With deep personal reverence, I honour Dr. King today and give Thanks for him and his non-violent witness for equality, dignity, and freedom for all.