Each year we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a champion of racial justice and civil rights and as an inspiration for public service. As Eboo Patel points out, moreover, Dr. King was a major force for religious diversity and interfaith cooperation. www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2013/04/mlk-interfaith-visionary.html. Not only did he seek out practical ideas or support from people of other traditions, but he also saw that such cooperation arose from a common source and in service of a shared vision for the future of humanity.
In one of his last major addresses, he called for “a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation.” He viewed this “embracing and unconditional love for all mankind” as “a force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.”
Or as he wrote in his last book: “We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”
So, whether we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by becoming more active in and aware of racial and social justice issues or by engaging in simple service to our neighbors, let us try to seek common cause with partners of other faiths and cultural traditions. (For those interested in exploring more on the theme of Dr. King’s World House, please see the following: kinginstitute.stanford.edu/liberation-curriculum/lesson-plans/activities/kings-world-house
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.