On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there are always plenty of starry-eyed reminiscences about the life of Dr. King. There are somber reflections on his legacy, how much progress he made and how much work remains to be done.
Politicization, polarization, popular culture; Martin Luther King Day has become, in our time, nearly as fraught as other previously uncontroversial, uniquely American holidays like Independence Day and Thanksgiving.
What would his next steps have been, had an assassin’s bullet not found him? What would he think of the modern day social justice movement and its leaders?
Lost in the crushing scrum of our modern political landscape, is the longer view of the holiday, of the visionary leader, his works and the Civil Rights blueprint he left behind.
Something often overlooked as an inconvenience, on the progressive left anyway, is that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of profound Christian faith. Before he was a counter-cultural political icon successful enough to attract a coterie of FBI agents to surveil him, he was a respected leader in the church and in the faith community.
The Christian faith is one of the many institutions that has drawn the crosshairs of the progressive left in recent years. In taking aim at something activists are already insisting is a racist, colonialist, white supremacist, misogynistic, homophobic danger to minorities and LGBTQ+ people, progressives are regrettably missing over half the story.
Ironically, it is the same half believers like Dr. King have been trying to shout from the mountaintops since long before the Civil Rights era.
Almost all of modern western civilization as we know it- from architecture to the faith tradition that shaped early America- is African.
The United States of America adopted its culture primarily from Great Britain; Great Britain got its culture from the Romans. The Romans were copying the Greeks, who in their turn had admired and copied the advanced Ancient Egyptian civilization which has been so well preserved into modernity.