1.17.2011

In Remembrance

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  You probably are aware of that, especially if you live in the states, even if it's only because you got the day off.  (Sorry if you didn't!)

The NBA on TNT is recognizing this by putting a banner above their digital scoreboard and having players share.  And I appreciate the recognition, even the small ones.

But I think we also forget a lot about the man.  King is more than "I Have a Dream."  He's more than a march or two (or dozens).

I've been reading through King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail tonight.  Tania suggested it and I hadn't read through it yet.  I also transcribed a video about the history of human rights for work.

Needless to say, I dwelled more on the history behind today, behind this holiday, more than I usually do.  And I liked it.

I haven't actually made it through King's letter yet.  It's dense and I'm sitting in front of the TV with the fam.  There was Jeopardy (I got a handle for of answers right, which never fails to make me feel a little bit smart) and lots of basketball, a household staple.

I did want to share a few pieces of the letter that have stood out to me.  Keep in mind that I'm about half way through.  Like I said, it's dense.  Here are my faves so far:

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. "

"But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth."

"The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"

"To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."

"Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

"We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber." 

Next, I have plans to read through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It's days like today that I remember how much I enjoy learning.

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