The City of Ferguson is back in the news as civil unrest has again gripped the community. Two police officers were shot during a recent demonstration, and an investigation is ongoing as to who committed this crime.
Many of the Ferguson protesters seemed not only undeterred, but callous to the police shooting in recent interviews. That this was a revenge killing for Michael Brown has been a common theme (even though one shooting was in self-defense and the other appears to have been an ambush and assassination attempt). One man went so far as to say he believed the shooting was an inside job between the police and the KKK to drum up sympathy for the Ferguson police.
These interviews left us with the question, what would Martin Luther King, the greatest civil rights activist of the 20th century, think of these events? Based on his speeches and writings, we cannot help but believe he would be less than approving. Dr. King was a man of peace. Unlike many self-proclaimed civil rights leaders of today (here’s looking at you, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan), Dr. King never incited violence. He chose a higher path, a path which left him not only effective, but respected and admired.
To use his own words,
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”
“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Watch our satirical cartoon on MLK and Ferguson