When we study the theology and politics of Martin Luther King, Jr., his letter from the Birmingham Jail, shows the brilliance of his theological mind. His ability to recall Tillich, Buber, Niebuhr and St. Thomas Aquinas from the narrow walls of a cell, shows the depth of his Theological conclusions.
He talks about zeitgeist; this ghost of time, and we are exposed to his sense of kyros. Not that he is unaware of the Chronos of the moment, but he knows that there is a window for him. He knows that there is a window for the movement, and he begins with clarity to unpack what he really feels about his plight, the plight of his people and the plight of the church.
He says, “For years I have heard the word, “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
In his essay, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence, “he now appears unapologetically on the global stage. His searing understanding of America’s imperialist machine and the wrong done by being in Vietnam, challenges the lies wrought by an aggressive U.S. government.
He says, “This Madness Must Cease.” I don’t know if this government was ready for this kind of courage. He understands that America is not only wasting resources on this war but is also evaporating human resources by sending young black, brown and white boys eight thousand miles away. His threat is that he is that extremist that he knows Jesus to be. But not an extremist for the sinister, but for that which shows love.
A love not just for blacks, but a love for whites, for all, for men, for women and even enemies. His theology does carry within it a sensible understanding for existentialism. He must now be sacrificed, because he speaks to the brotherhood of man. He is dangerous, and he must be silenced.
This is not the time to keep silent. Stephon Clark, Oscar Grant, Corey Jones, Michael Brown, Antwon Rose, Jr., Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Terence Crutcher, Freddie Gray, and Philando Castille. These are just a few of the names of men murdered by law enforcement. Let the church say, “Amen?” No; let the church say, “justice too long delayed, is justice too long denied.”