MLK Drew the Line


mlk imageI read a bit about Martin Luther King today, and I ventured past the typical biographical sketches into some of the less publicized issues he spoke on. One thing I found interesting was how a man of the cloth so readily upheld the separation of church and state.

King understood the reasoning behind the separation of church and state, something our leaders don’t. After thinking about it, his views were consistent with his support of freedom, justice and equality. In order to ensure freedom of religion and show no bias towards one faith, the government had to remain detached from any church.

Browsing took me towards Speaking Truth To Power: Martin Luther King On Church And State — a well written blog post found on, the home for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. I’m not big into activist sites, but I suggest you take a look.

In the AU post, I saw their reference to an interview MLK had with Playboy. So I then found myself (no joke) reading Playboy’s full article on MLK, which I found to be really interesting. The post was very informative and insightful. Careful though, you might see some nipples (gasp!). (Yes, I only read the article — this time!)

Another interesting article was this article from that discussed King’s philosophical wisdom towards all kinds of issues.

King was a great leader because he didn’t lead for himself. He lead for a better world — a smarter more tolerant one. He strove for a greater good that was “good” regardless of race, religion, or sex. He didn’t abuse the system to achieve personal goals or agendas — for himself or his friends, and he only defied it when it was completely wrong.

He was strong, courageous and just. Unbelievably intelligent and well spoken, he commanded attention and respect. His type of leadership is what I’d like to see from the political leaders of today. There’s no doubt a man or woman with his qualities would make a great president, senator or supreme court justice.

It made me wonder why there aren’t great leaders anymore. Presidents used to be very special people (usually) who weren’t alcoholics, addicted to drugs, involved in scancals, or stupid enough to trade Sammy Sosa to the Cubs. They didn’t have spinsters or media monkeys talking about how good they were in order to cover up their incompetence. They did all the speaking, and the reporters would report — nowdays it seems like the reporters do most of the talking.

Where the hell are our great leaders? We need them so bad it hurts. Someone to unite, not divide. Someone who was marginally intelligent to help us focus on the important issues — serious problems we have to face, not stupid shit like steroids in baseball (seriously why the hell should congress give a shit about steroids — can you say, “complete waste of time and taxpayer money?”).

All that aside, I’ll take a leader we can at least trust. Someone who doesn’t bullshit us on a daily basis. Someone who shows up to work, puts in the time, and fights for us — for all of us. Martin Luther King would have done that. Our leaders today — well, I’m just not sure anymore. It seems like they made their own team, and I can’t afford the membership dues.

I’ll leave you with a quote that I think addresses “faith” and the problems it presents when it isn’t balanced by reason. Could be faith in a god, group, cause, leader, or an ideal. The bottom line is that faith cannot live alone — it needs science (facts) to confirm belief and justify actions.

Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism.
— Martin Luther King

Many of the problems — the real problems — we face today are the result of decisions based more on faith than on science. I hope the coming years bring balance to our thinking, and somewhere along the way we find reason.

Last but not least, make sure to read this article at the Dailiy Kos. Despite a daring comparison between what Gore said yesterday and King’s speech 40 years ago, it had a great common message — whatever the problems we have today, we — the people, us, you and me — are the solution, not the powerful few.

Is it hard to find great leaders, or is it just hard to find great leaders that aren’t destroyed by the crappy ones?

2 thoughts on “MLK Drew the Line

  1. Well put. I think that it’s important to really take a look at what certain holidays actually stand for, what they are striving to make us realize and remember. In celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday, we are (or should be) honoring all that he dreamt of and what he envisioned for the future of the United States. It gives me hope to think that there ARE people out there still like that, who are willing to lead and unite a divided nation. Good post M.

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