Psalm 98 19 Once you spoke in a vision,
to your faithful people you said:
"I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
I have exalted a young man from among the people.
Underlying all these qualities was his devotion to the Prince of Peace, and his willingness to follow the Master even unto death. Martin suffered many beatings and was jailed many times. In his own life, he demonstrated the message of Jesus, that change happens through non-violence, through speaking truth to power, through loving one's enemies. In Martin's day, Jesus was on the side of the good guys. Following Jesus meant be willing to suffer for the truth, as He did.
There was nothing sectarian about King's Christianity. His greatest teacher was a Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi. He was willing to work with Black Muslim leaders, although he disagreed with their openness to using violence.
Nowadays, the name of Christianity has been seized by a heretical, sectarian right-wing cabal, which turns the teachings of Jesus on their head. For them, Jesus is a logo, a plastic icon. Where King worked to bring justice and equality to the poorest of the poor, the Christofascists rob the poor to enrich the wealthy. Where King insisted on nonviolence, the Christofascists love "shock and awe", and preach a vengeful god that plans to destroy planet earth. Where King believed that Christ is in all of us, and that all people deserve justice, the Christofascists believe that the "elect"- eg, those who support Bush and listen to Pat Robertson- are better than the rest of us, and will be "raptured", leaving us to perish in a nuclear holocaust or on a dying planet.
As we remember Dr. King, let us recall the true Jesus, the Prince of Peace.