It has been our tradition at this time of year to spend our conversation considering the lessons and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are going to continue that in our discussion this evening. We’re going to start with some general thoughts and ideas, and then move on to some specifics.
First, is it possible for an activist to emerge today who would have the kind of impact on American society today that Dr. King ultimately had? What would that person be like, and what do you think would give them the moral authority to call for change? Politics? Popular culture? Faith?
Dr. King’s advocacy focused on racial justice. What issue or issues do you think would be the focus of a 21st century Dr. King?
Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (you can read it by clicking this link), raises many issues for us to consider, especially as they relate to our responsibility to be agents and allies of, rather than obstacles to, the realization of justice. Consider this quote from the letter:
Do you see the truth in this statement? How might it apply to you? Or to us? What do you think of this view of freedom? Why is it that often folks in the privileged majority are the ones who are saying their freedoms are under assault?
Later in his letter, King responds to criticism that his tactics encourage his supporters to break the law through his advocacy of non-violent confrontation, protest and demonstration. King acknowledges that this is true, but he raises this key point
With this in mind, do you think King is right? Do we have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws? If so, how would that play out today? Are there unjust laws on the books, today, that we should feel a moral responsibility to break? What do you think is the key part of King’s formula to determine whether a law is just or unjust? Is it that the law is rooted in the law of God? Or is it that it degrades human personality? Are those two the same thing?
We will talk about all of this in our conversation this evening. Join us for the discussion starting at 7 pm at Casa Real on Washington St. (M-24) in downtown Oxford. There is ample parking in the lot behind the restaurant.