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Martin Luther King Not Always Popular, but Still Right

January 21, 2013

In commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, I recall my reflections from two years ago.  I had recently read David J. Garrow’s Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for a doctoral seminar on American Christianity.  That Pulitzer Prize winning book, clocking in at a voluminous 625 pages, was not always a pleasant read due mostly to the sobering historical subject matter.  Nevertheless, it is a fine argument for how King was able to organize the Civil Rights movement and initiate lasting social and religious changes that still define America to this day.

Why I Would Not Have Supported Martin Luther King Back in the Day

I’m not a racist, and I don’t think I ever would have been. I’m a conservative, Bible-believing Christian who values a civil and moral society. I think my values would have been much the same if I lived in King’s era. I know I’m a sinner saved by grace, but I like to think of myself as a good person. But reading about King’s life and work has humbled me because I know that my conservative morality would have likely given me moral and intellectual justification to oppose King’s movement had I seen it unfold before my own eyes.

There is just one problem… King was right.

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