It is probably no stretch to say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most prolific voices for social justice that our nation has even known in the modern era. His voice rung out loud during a time when many had gone silent. The nation had not been that many years removed from the silence they chose during the years of the Holocaust. If not for the attack on Pearl Harbor, America might have continued to remain silent and the Second World War might have continued on longer than it did.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s decision to be a voice was not one he entered into lightly, but it was one that was essential to the turning of the tide on the injustice that was being done in the nation. His voice provoked many in the faith community to stand up and speak up when it had previously been so much easier to remain silent. He pointed out the hypocrisy of 11 O’ clock being the most segregated hour in America as White Americans went to their churches and Black America went to their churches.
His speaking up was a critical aspect to a nation moving towards desegregation and the acceptance of equal rights. Children were soon able to attend the same schools and universities. Adults would soon be able to compete for jobs, better pay, live in the same neighborhoods and eat in the same restaurants.
We’ve entered a new age and a new generation is being called upon today to answer the call to speak up and speak out. There is still much justice to be done. While there is evidence that the Church in America is becoming increasingly less segregated, it is still by and large one of the remaining hold outs of integration and acceptance of unified worship.
Even more than this is the need for the Church to become more vocal about many of the social, ethical and moral issues that have become so pervasive in this present-day; abortion, poverty, mental health, human trafficking, sexual abuse, violence and criminal injustice and so much more. Interestingly, Dr. King was noted for saying, “History will record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” We are in a time crying for good people to cease being silent.
The body of Christ has always been uniquely poised to birth voices that can speak to the ills of the world because God has equipped His own with what is needed. The question that begs to be answer is who will be the unifying voice that will rise up today and speak? The great thing is that it does not have to rest solely on one voice. We are living in a day when the mantles no longer need to fall to one person alone. They simply have to be picked up by voices who will be bold enough to let their voices ring out.