Last month, my wife and I paid a visit to the National Mall in Washington DC. My spouse a native-born German immigrant was enthusiastic about paying a visit to the Capitol of her newly adopted country. Although my mother’s side of the family hailed from the Maryland-DC area, I hadn’t been there for some time. We took in such venues as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, the various War memorials, and walked outside the Supreme Court, White House, and the US. Capitol Building. In addition, we took a tour of the Library of Congress, where a family member is employed as a librarian.
We set aside three days to explore the African American History, the Native American, Natural History as well as the Smithsonian’s Art and Science Museum. In the final days of our sojourn, the Museum of the Bible, located two blocks off the National Mall, was a must-see for both of us. Later that same day, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial capped off the vacation.
As we meandered around the stone statue of Martin Luther King Jr., which is bordered by murals containing select quotations from his life and work, I was both elated and puzzled. Now, don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with this tribute to one of the most well-known figures of the Twentieth Century, who did so much to confront racial segregation and, more importantly, help this nation live up to its creed as articulated in the Constitution. The ambiance of the memorial was quite amiable, emotionally soothing, and more than benign.
However, there was a glaring weakness in the memorial’s depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Little or nothing is present to give visitors the impression that King was a man of God. He was a Christian minister, who led a movement against the ugly specter of Jim Crow culture, that was pervasive in many states and cities of this nation. The struggle for Civil Rights under Dr. King was a Christian/Religious inspired undertaking. But there was little written on any of the murals to indicate, that the struggle for Civil Rights had a strong Christian Catechetic, which served as its life-blood. The glaring omission of any reference to God was not only shocking but a perfidious, if not totally duplicitous negation of the legacy and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., who was an ordained and practicing Christian minister.
It is my understanding, a select panel of academics, literary and historical literati made the decision on what quotes would don the murals. How was it plausible, to have a memorial to a deeply religious man and not even once have a reference to God or the Christian foundation, that guided and gave strength to the movement. Dr. King made his faith in God, and the teachings of Christ, an essential part of his life and message. The heart of the movement was rooted in the church and drew its strength from the timeless truths proclaimed in the Bible. To site one of Dr. King’s favorite biblical quotes from the letters of Paul the Apostle,
“In Christ, there is neither Jew, nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:28
Once again, if I were a visitor to the memorial, who had no prior knowledge of Dr. King, it would be easy to conclude that this site was dedicated to an accomplished individual. A secular community organizer perhaps, or social reformer, who inspired many to confront the sickness of racial discrimination; but hardly religious or God-centered. Even a cursory review of Dr. King’s writings and public speeches are replete with the religion-centered ethos, that was the struggle for Civil Rights during the 1950s and 60s.
One must ask, how is it even conceivable to have a monument dedicated to a religious leader such as Dr. King and conveniently forget the God-centered nature of his fight for Civil Rights? The answer lies in the decades-old assault by the cultural left and various constituencies, who exhibit a less than cordial relationship with anything Christian, to remove and erode all expressions of faith and God from the public square. In the name of the badly interpreted, and mythical “separation of Church and state” (a phrase that does not appear in the constitution), leftist academics, many Progressive Democrats, some atheists and a small, but very loud cacophony of individuals have led the fight to make heretical any expression of “Christianity’ in public square. The first amendment clearly and “only states,” that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion,” such as the Church of England. It in no way makes anathema the show of Christian symbols in the public square.
The holler from Liberal Progressives and the cultural left (many of which have far too much time on their hands) is that including references to God would offend other people of different faith-statements. It is the same non-sense, that drives the movement of the cultural left to ban Christmas symbols, crosses and other Christian paraphernalia. They conveniently forget that the first amendment of the constitution assured freedom of religious expression, “not the right to never be offended by any religious symbols”. The recalcitrance on the part of individuals and groups to remove God from the public square is just another manifestation of the victim culture, that has proliferated like a cancer in American society over the past fifty years. People have been socially engineered to feel offended when in early times Christian religious symbols in the public square did not become a referendum on a “creeping Christian theocracy”. Our colleges, secondary and elementary institutions, along with Progressive Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of making sure everyone is a victim. The secular hermeneutics of Cultural Diversity and Multicultural since the 1970s, which is little more than tribalism and cultural balkanization (hidden behind the face of congeniality), is the progenitor of this all-pervasive victim culture.
We have been encouraged by the cultural elite and too many in the political class to sit in our little hyphenated enclaves, waiting to be offended by God knows what. Radical gender feminist, Blacks, Latinos, segments of the LGBTQ community and even newly arrived immigrants (legal and illegal) learned quickly how to play the victim card. Searching out new ways to be “offended” is an ever-expanding cottage industry, perfected by Progressives within the Democratic political class. Unfortunately, lawn chair Republicans do little to challenge the victim culture. With the exception of that “mean-old, racist-sexist-Islamophobic- climate denying-white-nationalist,” named Donald Trump; very few public figures have the character, nor intestinal fortitude to confront this spreading gibberish. In the victim culture, “Isms” abound.
To reiterate, not to include any substantial reference to God and the Christology of Dr. King is more, than a betrayal of his life and legacy, it is a slap in the face of this nation, our constitution which has its roots in Judaic Christian history and philosophy.