Considering that today is the 44th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., I thought starting this entry by sharing U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)”. Bono, lead singer of U2 and composer of the song, has said the song is about the two sides of the civil rights movement, the violent and the non-violent and that he was influenced by biographies of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. So, the song is about MLK; but, it’s also about so much more.
For me, Pride has always been about anyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice for others because of love. While that certainly includes MLK, it also includes others. Like Jesus for instance. If you pay attention to the first two verses, it’s hard to believe it could about anyone else. Check it out:
“One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come here to justify
One man to overthrow
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resists
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss”
See what I mean? I don’t know if Jesus was the first person to lay his life on the altar of equality, there may have been others before him. But, I do know that He set the standard for His followers and, since he did that, there have been plenty of others who did the same. Some of them as high-profile as Martin Luther King Jr., others not. Unfortunately, those people have been outnumbered by Christians that are all too happy with the status quo; something I’m all too familiar with on a first hand basis. For those of you who don’t know, I live in the southeastern U. S. (North Carolina, to be exact) and work in a very conservative environment (firefighter). More times than I care to remember, I’ve had to listen to comments referring to Dr. King’s shortcomings (real or imagined) as white people attempted to marginalize what he did. They are consumed with the possiblity that he may have engaged in plagiarism and adultery somehow negates the enormous good he accomplished. Too many people in this country are entirely too hung up on the idea that they are superior to others in ways that they have absolutely no control over. Color does not matter. Religion does not matter. National origin does not matter. Sexual orientation does not matter. All that matters is that we are all children of God and we all deserve the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s time we stop bickering and start working toward this goal. It’s what Jesus would want His followers to do.