In his commentary in the Feb. 1 edition of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate (“King Took Unpopular Stand”), Elliot Wright points out the tremendous opposition Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced when he took on the twin spirits of racism and militarism.
Many in his own civil rights movement accused King of betraying the movement because he spent so much energy opposing the Vietnam war, but you can’t separate these “Siamese twins.” The spirit that fuels racism is the same spirit that propels militarism, and King lost his life in the fight with this spirit. He lost his life but gained a legacy that will endure for many generations. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said, “He that loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Wright says, “Thirty eight years later, the whole world knows King’s course was the right one.” This being true, perhaps the only way the church can save its life is to lose itself in the struggle against the forces that led to King’s demise.