After Rabbi Grafman retired, he remained in Birmingham until his death in 1995, but was always troubled by criticism he received for opposing King's timing. When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. King's style of writing gives the reader a clear glimpse into the world with which he struggled and allows his letter to be powerfully effective. The white clergymen were of the view that this should be taken to courts. .
I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. In the following paragraph, Luther ascertains his sincerity when he counters the view put forward by the white clergymen. King finds optimism when reflecting on the history of blacks in America. The letter has great emotional appeal brought up by a number of issues discussed by Martin Luther. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals. Analysis It is easy to fall into hyperbole when discussing Dr.
To put it in the terms of St. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. The biggest associations are probably drool and blood. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on Freedom Rides—and try to understand why he must do so. King is disappointed that white moderates cannot distinguish between these types of extremism, but wonders whether whites can ever truly understand the disgrace that blacks have suffered in America 180. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ.
His actions also shows his commitment to the movement and the fact that he was a leader. This is sameness made legal. King did not actually want white allies or that this is only a rhetorical tactic, but his restraint over a topic that clearly moved him is undeniable. How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church.
We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. He spends an entire paragraph explaining the horrors of segregation, including lynchings, police brutality, poverty, and daily public humiliation. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.
How could I do otherwise? Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. References made by the author on Jesus Christ and Saint Paul helps illustrate that Christianity is the dominant religion in the society. Once King was released from jail, the protests assumed a larger scale and a more confrontational character. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here.
Instead, they use that restraint to perpetuate injustice, which makes them reprehensible 184. King writing and thinking of a much greater audience than the clergymen to whom the letter is addressed. Though the notorious racist was defeated in the election, his successor, , was also a pronounced segregationist. King was constructing the message. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. For instance, King tells of the failure in negotiation with the government. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. His epic response still echoes through American history. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. Like many others, we waited to see Mr.
Oppressed feelings: No longer Dr. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers? But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies.