April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on a Memphis balcony as he rallied to support sanitation workers for better wages. The day before he was killed Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed that he had been "to the mountain-top," and he had seen the "promised land," a land where all people would be "free at last."
April 4, 2006, a 1,000 people gathered outside the Arizona State Capital to pray for God's Presence as Congress and the State Legislators consider proposed laws that could make 12 million people in this land instant felons.
Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano preached words that sounded as if they were spoken by MLK himself.
"Instead of building walls along our border, instead of allowing men, women and children to die in the desert while they seek only bread and hope, let us commit to finding ways together to create a world of justice and of peace. The time has come for undocumented immigrants to be allowed to come out of the shadows of life in this country, be acknowledged for the contributions they have made to our society and given the opportunity to become citizens."
What is frightening though is that there are people in our country who are advocating a vigilante violence as a solution to immigration. On April 3 on KFYI Radio, talk show host Brian James said that he "had no problem" with shooting those crossing the border. Does this man speak for the mainstream? I pray to God that he does not. But, I fear otherwise.
Racism and bigotry is showing its ugliest of heads. Have not the lessons learned from Martin Luther King, Jr. made any difference in America today? Is fear the driving force of our society? Or is it greed; a greed that breeds isolationism and protectionism. Is this country on the verge of a civil uprising?
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. lead us to do today? What would Jesus ask us to do? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, and welcome the stranger. It seems pretty clear what Jesus expects and its obvious what MLK would do. The question is what will I do? What will you do?
It could be overwhelming. But, as Edward Everett Hale said, "I cannot do everything but I can do something, and what I can do I will do, so help me God." Do unto your neighbor as you would have do unto you and welcome the stranger. How's that for starters?