Rev. Maria Mallory White and Rev. John F. White II
By REV. MARIA MALLORY WHITE AND REV. JOHN F. WHITE II
As a prophet who spoke truth to power, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a sermon, “Jesus Wasn’t Playing,” and its words still resonate with unyielding relevance and revelation.
King told his congregation at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., that to his mind, democracy is the greatest form of government ever conceived. King also pointed out, that we in the yet-to-be United States have never touched the greatness of what democracy could and should be.
In King’s words, “Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism?”
King went on to say, “We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa (Today, think of the adherents to radical Islam called “terrorists.”)—all of these perceived enemies of the United States are at the bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years.” Make no mistake, the success of communism in the world in King’s day and terrorism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.
Listen, democracy is a great system. That’s why we can celebrate Barack Hussein Obama as the first Black president— even with that Muslim name!! But because America’s so-called democracy is under the stronghold of NRA congressional cash contributions, racist rhetoric and corrupt constitutional interpretations— Because America’s so-called democracy is still built on the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer— Because America’s so-called democracy is allowing universities to price college education into the realm of financial impossibility for the average American— Because America’s so-called democracy is still allowing gerrymandering to create white-dominated voting blocks— Because America’s so-called democracy is still enforcing and allowing voter suppression and oppression— Because America’s so-called democracy is still denying working-class Americans access to a livable minimum wage—the democracy we live in has failed to live up to its noble ideals and principles.
And because all this evil is still going on in America’s so-called democracy, a misogynistic, narcissistic, unapologetic racist catapults to power as a 21st Century incarnation of white supremacy’s promise to rise again. And justice for black social martyrs is denied. And the dreams of Dreamers are uprooted, thrown out to fester in the sun. And solidarity behind Black Lives Matter is demonized. And the names of courageous students demanding gun control laws are scandalized.
So, as a country, we need to hear Jesus’ warning when he said: “How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?” That’s why China says the U.S. is an international hypocrite when it comes to human rights. That’s why other countries are warning their citizens to avoid visiting the violent streets of the United States. That’s why other countries still can’t believe Donald Trump is in the Oval Office—the United States has a plank in its eye.
Just like Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her seat in that Montgomery city bus, just like Muhammad Ali paid the price and said he would not fight the Viet Cong, and just like King himself gave up his life in the fight for equality, we have to remember who we are and Whose we are and refuse to go along with America’s hatred and hypocrisy.
Because things are not getting worse. They are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil. The Bible says, “The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” The Bible says, “Do not envy a person of violence and do not choose any of their ways.” The Bible says Jesus said, “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” And Martin Luther the King taught us, “Violence begets violence!”
If we’re going to take seriously that Jesus wasn’t playing, we’ve got to understand what Jesus truly meant by “Love your enemy.” Rev. Maria Mallory White and Rev. John F. White II are pastors at Immanuel Temple, a holistic, Kingdom of God-centered approach to ministry located at 7040 Pines Boulevard Pembroke Pines. To contact the Whites, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 754400-7927.