January 15, 2011

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King - January 15, 1929

Today, Dr. Martin Luther King would have turned 82. Born on this day (January 15) in 1929. As a birthday tribute, here is an interview Dr. King did on Meet The Press from March 28, 1965.

The subject was Selma, Freedom Riders, non-violence and peace.

Dr. King: “I do feel that there are two types of laws. One is a just law and one is an unjust law. I think we all have moral obligations to obey just laws. On the other hand I think we have moral obligations to disobey unjust laws because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. I think the distinction here is that when one breaks the law the conscience tells him is unjust, he must do it openly, he must do it cheerfully, he must do it lovingly, he must do it civilly (not uncivilly), and he must do it with a willingness to accept the penalty. And any man who breaks the law which conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse the conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is at that moment expressing the very highest respect for law.”

The message is just as clear and pointed now as it was in 1965, the climate just as relevant.

Where our voices of conscience are conspicuously few and far between, we can still turn to this one in these strange and confusing times and find comfort and strength, even 46 years later.

The message of Dr. King proves timeless and always needs to be remembered.

Not just for birthdays.

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