Alveda King Reflects on Death of MLK 40 Years Later

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Wikimedia Commons)

Forty-five years ago today, my Uncle M.L., the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was murdered by an assassin's bullet. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if that shot had never been fired—what our nation would be like if that bullet had missed. Many are the times I wish he were here.

But though Uncle M.L. is no longer with us on earth, his voice lives on in the words he used to change our nation in the cause of justice.

We are a more just society today because of Martin Luther King Jr. Not because he brought new ideas into the public consciousness but because he reminded us of fundamental, eternal truths—truths that needed to be restated and lived out. He once asked and answered this question: "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?" He went on to explain:

"A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: 'An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.'"

These timeless truths must be restated again today.

Remember the Rev. Martin Luther King. Let us not forget he was an ordained Baptist minister and preacher of the Word of God. He taught that we are to respect the law. But he also taught that there is a law higher than man's. There are no commands more deserving of obedience than God's.

Those commands caused Uncle M.L. to look beyond city ordinances, state statutes or even federal law for guidance. He believed that those ordinances, statutes and laws were to be respected but that they were to be weighed against God's law or what some would term natural law to determine if they were just.

The same is true today. But some still look to themselves to determine right and wrong.

We are told by the Obama administration that it is "unjust" that women should have to buy their own birth control pills, so everyone else must reach into their pockets to pay for them.

We are told by abortion advocates that it is "unjust" that some women cannot afford to abort their babies, so tax dollars must be used to finance the killing of those children.

We are told by same-sex "marriage" advocates that it is "unjust" that men cannot marry other men and women cannot marry other women, so 2,000 years of wisdom must be abandoned.

And yet the Bible tells us that human life is sacred. We are thereby to choose life over abortion. The Bible teaches us that natural marriage between one man and one woman is part of the procreative process. We are thereby compelled to choose holy and procreative matrimony.

In forgetting our heritage, in distancing ourselves from God's moral rules, we are doing Uncle M.L. a disservice, and we are in danger of coming face-to-face with disaster. So, in remembering Uncle M.L. today, I urge America and the world to remember that he was a servant of God who, though imperfect, tried to point people to the truth.

Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist the Rev. A.D. King and niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She is also a civil rights and pro-life activist, as well as director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life. Click here to visit her blog.

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