Reverend King’s Words on Nonviolence Need to be Lived Today, Speakers say

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on Oct. 2. Faith leaders gathered near the monument to commemorate Reverend King’s 1957 essay about “Nonviolence and Racial Justice.” (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s support of nonviolence to bring about social change applies as much to today’s society as it did when Reverend King put his philosophy to paper 60 years ago, said speakers at an Oct. 2 news conference at the memorial dedicated to the civil rights figure in Washington. That the news conference was scheduled in advance of, and held the day after, the Las Vegas shooting spree that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 only underscored the importance of Reverend King’s message, according to the speakers. “It’s hard to find something in times like these that doesn’t sound like cliches,” said Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. “As a society, we need to stop making excuses and commit to nonviolence.” He added, “Pope Francis speaks of the earth as our common home. So it is. And so it is with our society … It is so easy to speak of human dignity,” he noted, “but do we believe it selectively – applying it to some people but not to others?”