MLK’s Martyrdom & Presidential Criminality: A Day of Irony

I am writing this meditation on the day of the martyrdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, fifty-five years ago.  He who led a movement in search of truth and justice and needing to overthrow a century of lies and lynchings and denial of voting rights and ownership rights that prevailed in America long after the civil war supposedly ended slavery.  

The road to freedom runs through Justice and Peace: MLK’s “Birth of a New Nation” speech, April 7, 1957, at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Brett Bymaster

A time when anger and resentment, fear and projection prevailed over our “better angels” that on paper at least promised that “all men [and women] are created equal.”

Much can be said and has been said about King’s life and work and death but one thing we can say for certain is that his work and that of his aspiring community in search of truth and justice was good work and godly work.  This is why humans of many tribes and traditions call God “Truth” and call God “Justice.”

And King died for both.  Truth and Justice.  He died playing out the example and the teachings of his spiritual guide, Jesus, who said that “greater love than this no one has, than to lay down their life for their friends.”  Truth and Justice were among King’s “friends” as were his striving for a “beloved community” which would be marked by the pursuit of truth and justice and the celebration of community, the “common good” in action. 

He extended an invitation and challenge to all peoples and all communities to put truth and justice forward as the work common to all humanity.  And he, like his mentor Jesus, paid the ultimate price for it.

Alex Wagner reports on Eastern Florida State College cancelling a U.S. government class after a student felt “discomfort” over a discussion of civil rights. MSNBC

Today, 55 years later, the struggle is as pressing as ever.  Though two civil rights laws were passed due to his and his movement’s perseverance and bravery, they are currently in jeopardy due to the return of racism and bitterness, resentment and projections on a large scale in America’s body politic and fanned by money-hungry and power-hungry media forces more bent on spreading lies and hatred than truth and justice.

One hero of that movement is being indicted today, King’s martyrdom day, for taking extreme measures to cover-up truth in order to be elected president eight years ago.  The first ever president to be so charged for criminal malfeasance and head of a political party that is busy again dismantling the rights of minorities to vote and be full citizens.

Irony indeed.

See Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 58f., 50.

See also Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Black Lives Matter” street painting on New York’s Fifth Avenue at Trump Tower. Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

How do you honor the “good work” that King devoted his life to?  How do youinterpret the irony of King’s death day being also the day of arraignment for a previous president on charges that led to an election victory?

Recommended Reading

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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11 thoughts on “MLK’s Martyrdom & Presidential Criminality: A Day of Irony”

  1. Avatar

    When people’s rights are taken away and injustices are allowed to flourish, it all ends up creating great inequity and a battleground. And when sides are taken up, hatred and violence are sure followers and companions. And how does one protect themselves in this environment of anger, hatred, and violence? With a plentitude of guns, automatic weapons, and other means of destruction of course. For biases, prejudices, and injustices to flourish, they give birth to more lies, untruths, false testimonies, and violence. Welcome to today’s America. When Martin Luther King Jr. himself was shot down, his dream, the reality of how life today could have been, was shot down as well.

    Does all that not tell us that the movement away from divisiveness is not more divisiveness, but a movement towards inclusion, an inclusion for all and not just those we like and agree with? Do our words and actions move us towards inclusion or continue to keep us in our own camps, separated and apart? Why is there an ‘us’ and ‘them’ instead of an ‘all’? Is that not still the dream, having freedom, peace and justice for ‘all’? Or have events precluded us from having those dreams anymore? — BB.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Bill, Thank you for your deep heart. Being one who DREAMS, important courageous dreams, is hard work.
      Martin Luther King exemplified this for us. He did it with deep grounding in the Ground of All Being.
      Courageous! Yes, Bill, we need to refresh, renew, recharge our hearts with/for Courage.

  2. Avatar

    Heart Truth WANTS equality. But mind truth is still mired in the old “better than” dualistic materialistic and capitalistic thinking. And mind truth gets angry and afraid when it thinks that someone is going to get an unfair share or take something away from it (even if it can be shown that it had an unfair advantage to begin with–because it clashes with the fairy tale idea of being “self made” because of one’s own “hard” work. And on top of this sits a 1% autocracy whose only wish is to manipulate even more money out of the 99% by ENCOURAGING the 99% to split into almost equal camps so they can concentrate on destroying each other–while the autocrats further empower themselves behind the scenes by basically paying for nothing and slowly sucking all the rest of the 99%’s finances (and energy and attention) dry. Divide and conquer. In any way possible. In our hearts we know this is not the answer. It is a zero sum game, which causes much dying and suffering. There is a more living and creative answer. But we have to reach deep within for the Ground of Being to be able to bring this out into the world.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Truth, love, justice, compassion, mercy, peace… these are roots that run deep… they are like an old growth forest. Some may attempt to cut these living trees down… however the nature of this deep rootedness, will continue to sprout new growth. Some may try to poison this forest with lies, yet the nature of this forest breathes underground, their roots entwined and weaved together as One.

    The Mother Tree within this forest, knows how to pass on the wisdom of her ways… empowering the next generation, to carry this earthy mantle forward… to keep emerging under pressure, to steadfastly persevere in breaking new ground.

    We, the prophets, the mystics, the poets, the artists, the activists, the truth-tellers, the justice seekers, the peace makers… we are the old growth forest, deeply rooted in the wisdom ways and nature of truth, love, justice, compassion, mercy and peace!

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you, Jeanette. I am blessed with a huge Box Elder Tree behind the house. We pray together.
      It reminds me of my responsibility to connect Earth and Heaven every day!

  4. Avatar

    Creativity) Present within, through, among Us within our ongoing co-Creation~Incarnation~
    Evolution in our beautiful sacred Mother Earth and our sacred multidimensional-multiverse Cosmos within God’s Loving Diverse Oneness….

  5. Avatar

    The contrast between lies and truth-telling has found a place in the forefront of
    my thought lately. An article by Josh Chandler Morris in Medium about five mis-
    interpretations of scripture caught my attention. Here is a brief summary:
    1. Sin — To miss the mark
    2. The son of God or ‘a’ son of God?
    3. Repentance — To change one’s mind
    4. The meek/non-reactive shall inherit the earth
    5. Apocalypse — The unveiling

    Do we focus on the Old Testament passages of retribution and judgement
    or do we strive to emulate the forgiveness and compassion found in the
    stories of Christ?

  6. Avatar

    The legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is love, no matter the cost. While we honor all those who have been crucified for the sake of love and truth, we need to be mindful of the evils that spread lies and hatred. By their fruits, ye shall know them. We need to discern without being judgmental and speak and act for love and truth, whatever the cost. Jesus is said to have spoken the words of forgiveness from the cross, for his murderers knew not what they did. But forgiveness does not mean assent to ongoing evils, the fruit of which are poverty, scapegoating of the “other”, and all the isms that cause suffering. I believe that we are called to speak and to act in peaceful ways on behalf of our neighbors. Here in Florida, that means standing with the groups that are being targeted for hatred, which are the poor, the homeless, the ill, the queer community, immigrants, and our black and brown neighbors—and speaking up for Truth itself that is being so tragically warped and turned upside down.

  7. Avatar
    Isabel Stanley

    I am blessed with a huge Box Elder as well. She is blooming now and is a great teacher of wisdom and resurrection.

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