The Catholic News Service contained an article recently in which a Catholic spokesman complained about the new Martin Luther King Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D. C. The monument to Dr. King contains fourteen quotes from the civil rights icon.
The monument “…betrays his life and teachings..” said the critic. He was upset none of the fourteen quotes mentioned God or religion.
The monument and the inscriptions chosen were selected by a 12 member Council of Historians. There was no explanation given as to why religious statements of King were not included. One can understand why they are not there.
First, any statement King made about religion would be challenged by people who think they know more than King did about the subject. There is no agreement about much in the Bible, even among believers.
Second, the civil rights movements helped all members of the minority community including ones who are not religious. Thus, it was not a religious movement.
Third, slavery, and later segregation, was done in the name of the Christian religion. Passages of the Bible were construed to mean races should not marry. A former Governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox, kept these passages in his desk and would give them to visitors who brought up his anti segregation views. Bringing up religion brings up this as well.
Dr. King’s neice said she had no objection to excluding the religious remarks of her Uncle. She felt the monument should be a universial statement of his life.
Good for her.