Martin Luther King

They plan to put ‘our bodies and/or privilege on the line in visible, public solidarity’

Eric Garner’s dying words are comparable to Jesus Christ’s greetings to his disciples, according to a group of Catholic theologians calling for “a serious examination of both policing and racial injustice in the US.”

More than 430 theologians from Catholic universities as diverse as Marquette, DePaul, Santa Clara and Boston College; secular schools including Duke and Yale; and priests, high school teachers and other workers for religious organizations have signed the statement as of Sunday night.

It was written by Tobias Winright, a professor at Saint Louis University and former law enforcement officer, and published three weeks ago at Catholic Moral Theology, a hub for North American theologians who “want to avoid the standard ‘liberal /conservative’ divide that often characterizes contemporary conversation.”

“[T]his Advent, hope for a just peace must face the flagrant failures of a nation still bound by sin, our bondage to and complicity in racial injustice,” the statement opens.

The document criticizes “the failures of the grand jury process to indict some of the police officers involved” in the shootings of not only Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Garner in Staten Island, but also 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit four years ago and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last month.

“As Eric Garner’s dying words ‘I can’t breathe’ are chanted in the streets, and as people of faith, we hear the echo of Jesus’ breathing on his disciples, telling them, ‘Peace be with you,’” the statement reads.

Citing Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the statement says the “cup of endurance runs over” again for African Americans: “Our streets are filled with those exhausted by the need to explain yet again ‘why we can’t wait.’”

Just as King challenged “white moderate” Christians on civil rights , the statement reads, the “challenge to the White Christian community is as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago.”

“The time demands that we leave some mark that US Catholic theologians did not ignore what is happening in our midst – as the vast majority sadly did during the 1960s Civil Rights movement.”

The signatories pledged to take several actions, including fasting from meat on Fridays through “the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany” next month; “placing our bodies and/or privilege on the line in visible, public solidarity” with those protesting “deep-seated racism”; and pressuring their bishops to bring anti-racist teaching “to the forefront” of Catholic action.

Beyond calling for common police reforms, the signatories call for the establishment of “publicly accountable review boards” to act as a check on grand juries and local prosecutors when it comes to police misconduct. They also want a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine race in America,” based on a similar 2004 effort in North Carolina. (Other activists are making the same demand.)

“As part of this commitment, we pledge to continue listening to, praying for, and even joining in our streets with those struggling for justice through nonviolent protests and peaceful acts of civil disobedience,” the statement said.

College Fix reporter Nathan Rubbelke is a student at Saint Louis University.

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IMAGE: JInglis26/Flickr



Barack Obama may be the first black president of the United States of America, but his presidency has not solved or eased longstanding racial tensions in this country.

That according to Arizona State University history professor Matthew Whitaker, who said in a speech Friday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that America is at a “fork in the road” regarding social justice and equal rights.

The balance favors those who put Obama in office, he said.

He cited the coalition of the population who elected Obama, and said they are not going to slow down, but will grow in number and influence.

As a result, Whitaker called Obama the “architect of the new America” in regard to the future of politics.

Whitaker’s address, titled “Race and Region in the Age of Obama” launched by recalling Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, which the scholar described as warm, touching and relatable. But he told his audience that it was also meant to challenge imperialism and militarism.

The ASU professor commented that many have a new vision of race relations as a result of Obama’s election, but Whitaker suggested improvement of race relations in America has not been achieved under Obama.

He said African Americans are still not free, but progress and equality in some measure can be seen.

As a historian, Whitaker said that through the Founding Father’s study and readings of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, revolutionary values eluded people of color, women, and the unwanted.

A vision of equality eventually exploded, he said, as a result of these values in 1861 at the start of the Civil War.

After the Civil War, a new kind of resistance to people of color led to what Whitaker described as “virtual slavery” at the turn of the century, to which it would take another century before this began to change.

Professor Whitaker claims that Obama’s election signifies that change in society, calling the electorate an “astringent” because they bring to the surface the imperfections in the American society.

The event was hosted by the University of Arizona Africana Studies Program, in which they described the address as a “provocative discussion” regarding the need for interracial alliances and activism to promote progress in social justice and race relations.

Whitaker is also the author of “Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama.”

College Fix contributor Katie Jones is a student at the University of Arizona.

Universities around the U.S. held commemorative events on Wednesday, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

In addition, numerous students participated in commemorative events in our nation’s capital. Some even camped out overnight on the National Mall, in order to secure a place during the events, according to The Washington Post.

Students at Howard University, a historically-black institution, participated in a march from their campus to the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his famous speech.

To see images from the day’s events, check out the slideshow at The Washington Post.

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(Image: Library of Congress)

Was Martin Luther King, Jr a conservative? The answer, I think, yes and no. As the face of the 1960’s civil rights movement King argued to advance the causes of organized labor and advocated civil disobedience as a means of resisting racial injustice. Those aren’t things we typically associate with conservatives.

On the other hand, King had no interest in the identity politics that make up so much of the racial politics of liberals today. He argued, most powerfully, for people to be judged by “the content of their character,” not the color of their skin. This argument meshes well with the modern conservatives’ emphasis on individualism and personal responsibility.

At, John Blake posts some thoughts on the issue:

As the nation celebrates King’s national holiday Monday, a new battle has erupted over his legacy. Some conservatives are saying it’s time for them to reclaim the legacy of King, whose message of self-help, patriotism and a colorblind America, they say, was “fundamentally conservative.”

But those who marched with King and studied his work say that notion is absurd. The political class that once opposed King, they argue, is now trying to distort his message.

King’s most famous words are the crux of the disagreement.

“He was against all policies based on race,” says Peter Schramm, a conservative historian. “The basis of his attack on segregation was ‘judge us by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin.’ That’s a profound moral argument.”

I think the answer lies partly in understanding that conservatism itself has changed since the 1960’s. The states-rights conservatism of that day has gone extinct in the mainstream Republican and Democratic parties, insofar as the abolishing of segregation via federal power is now universally celebrated. No major figure in either party today would argue to uphold segregation on the basis of state’s rights.

Yet the left has certainly abandoned King’s vision of a color-blind society, where all would be judged (and indeed all would judge themselves) on the basis of character rather than melanin. And it’s hard to imagine King endorsing the modern left-wing policy of perpetual racial quotas as permanent solution to inequality. And it’s impossible to imagine him doing the kind of blatant race-mongering and profiteering that passes for civil rights leadership among those several men who have sought to fill King’s place as the spiritual and political leader of black America. I don’t need to name names.

I don’t think King would fit perfectly today into either mainstream party when it comes to race issues. The fact is, mainstream liberals have moved away from King’s most enduring principle–that we should assess the individual without regard to skin color. Meanwhile, mainstream conservatives have moved toward him in several important areas–realizing once and for all that states’ rights are secondary to natural rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Was Martin Luther King a conservative?

Maybe that’s the wrong question.

A better one would be this: Are today’s conservatives more like King?

The answer is, yes.

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Image Source: U.S. Library of Congress

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to spend a few minutes inside a public school on Chicago’s south side? Now’s your chance.

The video below depicts a chaotic scene, with students laughing, chattering, swearing, flashing gang signs. In the midst of all this, one young woman stands to upbraid her teacher, shouting, “I want an education,” and “You get paid, right?” She even mentions Martin Luther King and Malcolm X as she criticizes her teacher (who appears to be African-American).

WARNING: Video contains profanity

We’re not sure what to make of this. On one hand, it seems the young woman has a point. She certainly isn’t getting anything that resembles an education, from the look of things. On the other hand, she seems to be adding to the classroom pandemonium.

Whatever you make of this video, it’s a sad commentary on the state of Chicago’s public schools. You begin to understand why it is that we sometimes hear of people graduating from high school despite being functionally illiterate. What’s happening is a waste of taxpayer’s money, and, more egregiously, of these students’ lives.

As The College Fix reported in September, the Chicago teachers union when on strike earlier this fall, despite the fact that they make an average salary of $76,000 per year and are the highest paid teachers in the nation. The greedy union members felt that a $400 million increase on top of their current salaries was not enough to adequately reward the work they are doing.

If you’ve ever heard someone say that education is our future, then the video above might be enough to make you despair.

Via Fox Nation

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Obama has a dream but it’s nothing like Martin Luther King’s–actually it’s the exact opposite. King famously dreamed of the day when we’d all be judged, not on the basis of the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. Obama, on the other hand, says that rejecting people from college because their skin isn’t the right color is just fine.

Here are the details:

The Obama Administration filed an amicus brief last week advising the Supreme Court to uphold the University of Texas’ policy of factoring race into admissions decisions.  The related case, Fisher v. University of Texas, is the result of a lawsuit filed by a white applicant to the institution who was not granted admission, and who alleges that the policy amounts to racial discrimination.

Accepting some students because of the color  of their skin requires one to reject others who would have taken those places. Those latter students end up being rejected from college simply because they don’t have the right skin color.

There you have it. Reverse discrimination. Obama’s dream.

Certainly nothing like Dr. King’s.

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