In the midst of the civil rights struggle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked this profound question: Where do we go from here? In the twenty-first century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 this question is still relevant. Seemingly we have more chaos than “coming together” as one nation under God. However, in 2016 Blacks must reevaluate their plight in American society. We are about to celebrate the birthday of Dr. King, who played an important-pivotal role in the struggle for Black human dignity, and Civil Rights in American society. But, make no mistake about it, we have not yet overcome, because the struggle for liberty and justice for all has not been realized. Black America, let’s be honest with each other about how far we have come, and the distance we must go in order to become full citizens of American society.
The moral arch of the universe (God) always bends towards justice, because justice is a spiritual concept: The two Great Commandments. However, when will blacks receive the full-benefits of being an American citizen?
Black men given the opportunity to acquire JOBS enabling them to provide for their families.
Equity in quality education funding; including highly qualified classroom teachers.
Eliminate gerrymandering as a way to reduce political participation-economic impact.
Fairer representation in the judicial system and criminal procedures, prosecution and sentencing.
Community policing that is policemen living in the communities that they police.
Civilian reviews boards in policing as a way to enhance police accountability.
Without a doubt, each individual must judge for himself, because the profound spiritual fact of human existence is simply this: “morality cannot be legislated”. Morality must be spiritually taught and morally exampled in family structures.
Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. was a Baptist pastor who sought to live by spiritual precepts and moral codes of human interaction. This is precisely why he wrote the letter from the “Birmingham Jail” to the “universal” pastoral community raising these questions: Why criticize me? Why aren’t you in jail with me? If you have a better way than the Jesus-Way, please show me the way, and I will gladly follow! All Christian believers know that the Jesus-Way is the only way to salvation, and being born again.
This question must be asked: Do Black lives really matter? The writer is not attempting to be presumptuous, but I know that Dr. King would profoundly state that “all lives matter”, because all lives come from God. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thy camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1: 5). Dr. King wanted all individuals to know that “lack of moral character” is the problem, not skin color. Therefore, judge individuals by the content of their moral character, not the color of their skin. Individuals who have problems with skin color invariably have a God-problem. There is one God, one mediator between God and men, and out of one blood He created all things; including nations to dwell upon the face of the earth. “And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:25). All of us should clearly understand that: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11). Therefore, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4: 16). My fellow Americans, we need a spiritual awakening to help us come from the spiritual-dark-side and come into the marvelous light of God. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7).
Tearing (pulling) down physical walls is an easy proposition, but pulling down institutional spiritual-racism is a more difficult task. The physical signs of segregation and institutional racism have been removed, but segregation and racism still exist in the spiritual hearts of many Americans as displayed in contemptible disdain for President Obama. Former Governor George Wallace of Alabama emphatically stated: “Segregation today, Segregation tomorrow, and Segregation forever.” Governor Wallace is dead, but his words still ring true. Just maybe Governor Wallace was referencing the spiritual heart/mind of many individuals. Yet, since 1964-1965 (Civil Rights Act/Voting Rights Act), we have had physical desegregation, but not spiritual-moral-integration as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Once again, “morality cannot be legislated”.
Question: Is it possible after almost four hundred years for American society to transcend the color-line? Dr. King tried faithfully through the spiritual tactic of non-violence to get American society to the point where all could say, “free at last”. For we know, an individual cannot enslave others without enslaving himself.
Question: How do Blacks transform their major institutions? But, more importantly, transform their communities from a “ghetto mentality” to a “neighborhood mentality”; build a viable business structure based upon spending their money where it makes more sense, and most of all holding parents, religious, educational and political leadership accountable. The answer lies in doing it the right way, which in turn, is God’s way; if not God’s way, who’s way?
In conclusion, and in humility, let’s honor the sacrifice of Dr. King as we commit ourselves to not destroying ourselves, because: “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12). Selah!