On the week prior to MLK Day, my pastor, who happens to be black (a point that may or may not be relevant, depending on your perspective) prefaced his remarks with…

I know I’m going to be in trouble over the controversial statement that I’m about to make but I believe that if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today…he wouldn’t be continuing to march about social injustices and civil rights!

He implied that that battle was won… there is no need for talk of reparations and we (blacks) needed to forgive and move on. My pastor, whom I dearly love, was absolutely right… about the part of trouble and controversy. These statements of contemporary hypothetical suppositions based upon historical snippets and ideological talking points are likely to encounter the demand of a different perspective and so I offered another point of view. Now, one could argue that the Sunday Morning Worship Service is not the time for a congregational debate, but let’s move on. It is difficult for us as Americans to talk for any extended period about difficult times and relationships. And politics, race and religion are like a matching trifecta for a potentially explosive discourse in which raw, unexposed feelings can lead to an angry and frustrated venting and/or the more remote possibility of a harmonious reconciliation.

Putting race aside for the moment (transference), if a man in the pulpit (black or white) made a social commentary on all of the current spousal infidelities of athletes and politicians by declaring that their wives needed to just “get over it”, well needless to say, that could potentially be a “game changer” (to use a typical male athletic cliché) in the romantic and intimate conversations likely to occur later. But make no mistake about it, that is a discussion that will take place and the outcome is likely to affect many marital relationships. Those men operating from a historical vantage point of power and privilege, who simply and often unrealistically say we don’t do that anymore, don’t understand the traumatic and desperate impact that statement is likely to play out. They confuse and conflate a change in behavior (or law) with being all that is needed to repair a breach of trust and historical infidelity. They just want to move on. More often than not they are solely fixated on their own future happiness and want to forget about the past indiscretions. But without investing in the time, effort and conversation necessary to assure a level of shared intimacy, they undermine the happiness they say they covet. Coexisting in the same household doesn’t mean the presence of love and a relationship of mutual respect. And without an understanding of the healing necessary for that spouse, they impede the progress they desire. She may have done absolutely nothing but she is victimized nevertheless – fighting depression and pondering self worth. If I had only had his dinner prepared…if I had only worn that sexy outfit…if I had only loss that weight gained from having our baby… She is the one that is made to question her dignity, respect and social acceptability. But, hey, he can just say let’s move on.

ProtesterAt the time of his assassination Dr. King was leading a Poor People’s Campaign and was actually talking about new ways of wealth distribution. I could be wrong, but it just seems to me that had he lived unto this present time he would still be marching in protest of the further consolidation of wealth in the hands of a smaller and smaller percentage of the American people, the bailout of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, the home foreclosures that disproportionately impacted the poor and minority communities, the staggering unemployment and wage discrimination… But let’s move on.

You know, If JESUS were alive today he probably wouldn’t be preaching the gospel to the poor, he’d be targeting a different demographic entirely and ready to move on…

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