I grew up in Mississippi in the 1960s. I witnessed segregation at its worse. I found myself stuck in an environment steeped in ignorance (that's what prejudice is). I don't know how many times I heard white people say, "I'm not prejudice. I don't hate niggers, just as long as they stay in their place." Really? What was their place? To recognize that they weren't equal to whites?
Or, "Hey, they have their freedom. What more do they want?" How about a chance?
I wish I could say that everyone has progressed beyond such ignorant attitudes, but I still occasionally hear similar comments. And saddest of all is that I most often hear them from "Christians."
Today, America honors one of her greatest -- Martin Luther King, Jr. A man who awakened the conscience of a nation. And he did it without inflamatory rhetoric or threats of violence. Oh, I know that morally he had his failings (many whites love to point that out, as if it negates all of the good he did.) But so did FDR and JFK.
He patterned his reforms after Jesus. He was imprisoned, beaten, spit upon, mocked. His family was threatened. His house was a target of vigilantes. Finally, he was murdered. But through it all, he was even-tempered. He continually called for love for and equality to all races. His "I have a dream" speech has to rank as one of the greatest speeches ever given.
So, today America honors this man. I'm shocked that people say, "This holiday is just a token, PC holiday to appease the blacks." Huh? No, this is a day to remember a man who awakened a nation from SIN -- the sin of hating and mistreating those made in the image of God for no reason other than the color of their skin. This day is a day to remember a man who stirred the conscience of a nation to begin doing what was right. We "whites" have as much reason to be thankful to Martin Luther King, Jr. as African-Americans do.
My prayer is that the last holdouts in our nation (our churches) will "catch the dream."