In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday and Presidents Obama's second inauguration I read from "Strength to Love" before taking the Oath of Office.
The reading included a short section from Coretta Scott King's Forward written in 1981 and two sections from an MLK sermon in chapter three, On being a good neighbor.
Forward: by Coretta Scott King
This book best explains the central element of Martin luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence...In his sermon "The man who was a fool" he said, "All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."
Martin Luther King Jr.'s theological belief in the interdependence of all life inevitably led to methods for social change that dignified the humanity of the social change advocate as well as his adversary. "Christ gave us the goals," he would often say, "and Mahatma Gandhi provided the tactics."
Chapter Three: On being a good neighbor(page 37-38)
In our nation today a mighty struggle is taking place. It is a struggle to conquer the reign of an evil monster called segregation and its inseparable twin called discrimination—a monster that has wandered through this land for well-nigh one hundred years, stripping millions of people of their sense of dignity and robbing them of their birthright of freedom.
Let us never succumb to the temptation of believing that legislation and judicial decrees play only minor roles in solving this problem. Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. The habits, if not the hearts, of people have been and are being altered every day by legislative acts, judicial decisions, and executive orders. Let us not be misled by those who argue that segregation cannot be ended by the force of law.
A vigorous enforcement of civil rights law will bring an end to segregated public facilities which are barriers to a truly desegregated society, but it cannot bring an end to fears, prejudice, pride, and irrationality, which are the barriers to a truly integrated society. These dark and demonic responses will be removed only as men and women are possessed by the invisible, inner law which etches on their hearts the conviction that all men are brothers and sisters and that love is mankind's most potent weapon for personal and social transformation. True integration will be achieved by true neighbors who are willingly obedient to unenforceable obligations.
More that ever before, my friends, men and women of all races and nations are today challenged to be neighborly.