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Old 01-20-2011, 03:33 PM   #31
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MLK was a religious visionary, too - USATODAY.com

By Eboo Patel

One hundred years ago, the great African-American scholar W.E.B. DuBois famously wrote, "The problem of the 20th century will be the problem of the color line."

History proved DuBois correct. His century saw the struggles against, and ultimately the victory over, systems that separated and subjugated people based on race — from colonialism in India, to Jim Crow in the U.S., to apartheid in South Africa.

No American did more than Martin Luther King Jr. — whom America pauses to honor today — to address the problem of the color line. He spearheaded the marches that revealed the brutality of segregation, made speeches that reminded Americans that the promise of their nation applied to all citizens and expertly pressured the nation's leaders in Washington to pass landmark civil rights legislation.

But to confine King's role in history only to the color line — as giant as that challenge is, and as dramatic as King's contribution was — is to reduce his greatness. In one of his final books, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, King showed that race was one part of his broader concern with human relations at large: "This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited ... a great 'world house' in which we have to live together — black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu ... Because we can never again live apart, we must learn somehow to live with each other in peace."

This ethos, as King's examples make clear, applies not only to the question of race, but to faith as well. In the same way as the headlines of the 20th century read of conflict between races, headlines in our times are full of violence between people of different religions. Indeed, what the color line was to the 20th century, the faith line might be to the 21st.

Faith as a bridge

King's life has as much to say to us on the question of interfaith cooperation as it did on the matter of interracial harmony. A prince of the black church, deeply rooted in his own Baptist tradition, King viewed his faith as a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division.

When, as a seminary student, King was introduced to the satyagraha ("love-force") philosophy of the Indian Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi, King did not reject it because it came from a different religion. Instead, he sought to find resonances between Gandhi's Hinduism and his own interpretation of Christianity. Indeed, it was Gandhi's movement in India that provided King with a 20th century version of what Jesus would do. King patterned nearly all the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement — from boycotts to marches to readily accepting jail time — after Gandhi's leadership in India. King called Gandhi "the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force."

Following Gandhi was King's first step on a long journey of learning about the shared social justice values across the world's religions, and partnering with faith leaders of all backgrounds in the struggle for civil rights. In 1959, more than a decade after the Mahatma's death, King traveled to India to meet with people continuing the work Gandhi had started.He was surprised and inspired to meet Indians of all faith backgrounds working for equality and harmony, discovering in their own traditions the same inspiration for love and peace that King found in Christianity.

King's experience with religious diversity in India shaped the rest of his life. He readily formed a friendship with the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, finding a common bond in their love of the Hebrew prophets. The two walked arm-in-arm in the famous civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Later, Heschel wrote, "Our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying."

King's friendship with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh inspired one of his most controversial moves, the decision to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. In his letter nominating Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, King wrote, "He is a holy man. ... His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to a world brotherhood, to humanity."

Better together

In his famous sermon "A Time to Break Silence," King was unequivocal about his Christian commitment and at the same time summarized his view of the powerful commonality across all faiths: "This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality" is that the force of love is "the supreme unifying principle of life."

We live at a time of religious conflict abroad and religious tension at home. This would no doubt have dismayed King, who viewed faith as an inspiration to serve and connect, not to destroy and divide. During King's time, groups ranging from white supremacists to black militants believed that the races were better apart. Today, the same is said of division along the lines of faith.

King insisted that we are always better together. Indeed, that pluralism is part of divine plan. To paraphrase one of his most enduring statements: The world is not divided between black and white or Christian and Muslim, but between those who would live together as brothers and those who would perish together as fools.



Eboo Patel is founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, a non-profit organization building interfaith cooperation on college and university campuses nationwide. He is author of Acts of Faith.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:24 PM   #32
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Beautiful article, MrsSpringsteen, thanks for sharing it.

Quote:
When, as a seminary student, King was introduced to the satyagraha ("love-force") philosophy of the Indian Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi, King did not reject it because it came from a different religion. Instead, he sought to find resonances between Gandhi's Hinduism and his own interpretation of Christianity.
And this is one of many reasons why he was such an inspirational leader, why people listened to him and followed him. Doesn't seem that hard, does it?

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This would no doubt have dismayed King, who viewed faith as an inspiration to serve and connect, not to destroy and divide.
It sure would upset him. We could use a few more MLKs nowadays.

I think the biggest problem is that here we are getting all critical over a guy being dismissive of a group of people, and yet some are doing the same thing with the South. Of course, there are those in that area of the country who fit the stereotype stated here, but not everyone who lives in a certain area thinks that way.

And to be fair, I know those who made jokes know that, and I personally know it was tongue-in-cheek and no serious offense was intended with those comments. And I don't live in the South, so it doesn't really bother me on that level, either. But there are those who do, and I think it's just sort of the hypocrisy here that some might find a bit odd.

Anywho, I seem to recall Jesus' overall message was loving each other. Even if he did believe it was best to come to his way of thinking, it's been a while since I've read the Bible, but I seem to recall that he never would have put his feelings that way. Look at some of the people he hung out with, who may not have been "true Christians". This immature "I'm better than you 'cause I believe this" crap has to stop.

Angela
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:10 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Moonlit_Angel View Post
Beautiful article, MrsSpringsteen, thanks for sharing it.

I think the biggest problem is that here we are getting all critical over a guy being dismissive of a group of people, and yet some are doing the same thing with the South. Of course, there are those in that area of the country who fit the stereotype stated here, but not everyone who lives in a certain area thinks that way.
No we don't. But, as a life long resident of Alabama, it's truly exhausting to have to keep speaking out to try and defend ourselves against people like Gov. Bently. I campaigned against him as much as possible and he's not sorry and a throwback to our sordid, racist history.
I don't know him personally, and don't want too. I am sorry he's the Governor of this state and truly hope we don't have to endure much more. It's not looking very well so far.

Quote:
And to be fair, I know those who made jokes know that, and I personally know it was tongue-in-cheek and no serious offense was intended with those comments. And I don't live in the South, so it doesn't really bother me on that level, either. But there are those who do, and I think it's just sort of the hypocrisy here that some might find a bit odd.
I know you don't live in the South, but unfortunately, those of us that do and do not subscribe to these bigoted/religious ideals are lumped in (not by you, or most for that matter) with the rest of the misfits that are running this state.
It should bother everyone on all levels. It does me, even when it's not my state. I just want to cry from frustration.
With that said Angela, from all the years I've been on this forum, I know what you are saying and you are an incredibly fair and decent person and I know it bothers you.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:23 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by sue4u2 View Post
No we don't. But, as a life long resident of Alabama, it's truly exhausting to have to keep speaking out to try and defend ourselves against people like Gov. Bently. I campaigned against him as much as possible and he's not sorry and a throwback to our sordid, racist history.
I don't know him personally, and don't want too. I am sorry he's the Governor of this state and truly hope we don't have to endure much more. It's not looking very well so far.
I can imagine. I thank you and those like yourself who are trying to speak out. Even if it doesn't seem like it's doing a lot, just the fact you're trying is worth noting . Keep at it. Hope one day your campaigning finally pays off.

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Originally Posted by sue4u2 View Post
I know you don't live in the South, but unfortunately, those of us that do and do not subscribe to these bigoted/religious ideals are lumped in (not by you, or most for that matter) with the rest of the misfits that are running this state.
It should bother everyone on all levels. It does me, even when it's not my state. I just want to cry from frustration.
I totally understand that feeling. I grew up smack dab in middle America, I get it. Completely *Nods*.

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Originally Posted by sue4u2 View Post
With that said Angela, from all the years I've been on this forum, I know what you are saying and you are an incredibly fair and decent person and I know it bothers you.
It does. It sucks when everybody gets lumped into the same boat because a few people ruin things with their stupid comments/actions. I've never agreed with that line of thinking, ever.

Thank you for understanding and your kind words .

Angela
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:17 PM   #35
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The Christian faith is a very narrow faith. The Christian faith says there are not many roads to heaven or many beliefs or ideas that are all equal.

There is only that rebel from Nazareth claiming to be God and claiming to be the only way to salvation.

That is the hard cut of the message of Jesus.


Which is one major reason very long ago that I started to move away from those Fundamentals' in any of Humanity's Religions who believe that their way is the only way to touch and honor God, Goddess, The Gods & Goddesses, The Power, The Powers, The Source, The All, The Ground of All Being, The Great Mystery, and other Names....
and call myself a Spiritual Person

And many of my friends are/have been Atheists, or Agnostics - very Ethical people, too, so they are equal in my life as well.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:36 PM   #36
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No we don't. But, as a life long resident of Alabama, it's truly exhausting to have to keep speaking out to try and defend ourselves against people like Gov. Bently. I campaigned against him as much as possible and he's not sorry and a throwback to our sordid, racist history.
Well luckily for me- By listening to, and reading very deeply abut issues of racism, I learned very long ago about good people in The South, and that racism was way not confined to The South,either often (but not always) more on the sly.

***Good Luck*** for with what ever this Gov of yours is going to either shove on folks on take away from folks in your state. Blerggg!

++++++++++++++++

Thanks for the Mr Eboo article, Mrs S!

While not mentioned in that article Dr was also very concerned in general with poverty in America.
He was with others planning The Poor People's March which was a multi-racial Tent City on The Mall of DC in that 1968 Summer.
But without his extra powerful presence - it was not as successful as it could have been.

And when he was assassinated he was marching with The Sanitation Men of Memphis, Ten, for higher wages and safety measures.
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