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For King: a day

| January 16, 2006 | Reply
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Today was Martin Luther King Day so, in his honor, I… did absolutely nothing. I didn’t even drive down his street, as I’d planned to do had I actually gone to Campbellsville today like I originally planned.

Now, lest you accuse me of being racist, I feel I should point out that I’ve also never even done so much as sail a paper ship across a mud puddle in honor of Christopher Columbus, nor built a cherry wood altar to offer up sacrifices to the ghost of gentleman George Washington.

It’s odd, some of the things that end up sticking with us throughout life.  Every year for some reason, I can’t help but recall a momentary rant in junior high school by one of my teachers, a good (and, yes, white) Christian woman, about how she opposed the holiday and had no respect for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he was nothing but a filthy adulterer.

While he may have been an adulterer (the FBI investigation files remain sealed) and it’s even been widely reported that he allegedly used Southern Christian Leadership Council funds to pay for hookers, this day is more about honoring the sum of King’s ideals than King the man; think of it as Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Day.

Many of King’s ideals are especially pertinent and worth honoring in today’s society because of the widespread abuse of Biblical teachings and misappropriation of Scripture by Bible-thumping goofballs (both liberal and conservative), some of whom even have the audacity to claim their self-serving doctrines are Divinely inspired.  George W. Bush, for instance, doesn’t have a Divine mandate to be president; in fact, he barely has a popular mandate.

Among other things, King was a firm supporter of the separation of church and state.  When asked about his opinion of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down prayer in public schools as being unconstitutional for a “Playboy” interview in 1965, he said:

“I endorse it.  I think it was correct.  Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God.  In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom?  Legally, constitutionally, or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.  I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision.”

King also once said “The church at its best is not the master or servant of the state, but rather must be the conscience of the state.  It is the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”

These are a couple ideals worth remembering, indeed.

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I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at Plus.BillySuratt.com, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email blog@billysuratt.com (discretion is always guaranteed).