Charles D. Hayes: I grew up with a sheltered worldview much in agreement with the same politics and prejudices of my community. It was a world of black-and-white notions of morality, and it was a literal interpretation of racial superiority that white was right. But reading Martin Luther King’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail changed my reality.
A group of scientists, engineers, and administrative personnel at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have demanded that the United States Attorney General’s office issue an immediate retraction of remarks made before the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday by acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal in the case of Nelson et al. vs NASA et al.
David Love: Tea party folks are far too extreme for old-time conservatives who mostly cared about their money. (Come to think of it, for all of their so-called Christianity, the tea party conservatives wouldn’t have thought much of Jesus for that matter—a hippy man of color who spoke out against the rich and powerful, and hung out with the sick and the poor and the prostitutes. But alas, I digress.)
Brad Parker: It is only fitting that the avatar of the extreme right-wing political, cultural and economic prevaricators should stand in the shadow of the Dreamers nearly a half century since the eclipsing call to peace delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Where better to expose the Elmer Gantry of all things hateful, angry and victimized?
Charles Hayes: Today I feel very differently about the Vietnam War than I did in my youth, but my own feelings of guilt during that time give me a unique kind of insight into the psychology of courage and commitment. America has never had a shortage of courageous citizens willing to take up arms and fight to the death for reasons and causes beyond their own understanding. Arlington Cemetery in Virginia serves as proof. But my sense of the decades since the end of World War II is that America has and is experiencing a courage crisis of shameful origin and of tragic consequence.
Michael Sigman: Strong candidates for Part 2 included such stomach-churning charttoppers as Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs (no, you don’t, not even this one, which was penned by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman (no, you’re not) and Starship’s We Built This City on Rock and Roll (no, you most definitely did not).
Tom Degan: That’s what I love about this guy! American history is littered with “Christian” religious leaders. Try as you might, you can’t escape them. The thing that sets Reverend King apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn’t a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were – a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day. Please give me a day or two and I might be able to name more, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968, Day in 1980. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.