MLK: A humane society accepts communal responsibility

LawrencewebIn Dr. King’s “Ethical Demands for Integration,” he outlines three major themes which are modeled on three key tenets of the American creed:

  1. The dignity of the individual.
  2. The basic equality of all human beings.
  3. Inalienable God-given rights to freedom, justice, and fair opportunity.

Both King’s and the philosophical ideology of America’s founding principles are rooted in the theological anthropology of the book of Genesis. As humankind is made in the image and likeness of God, we cannot help but mirror our behavior and desire for community on the Divine.

As God is love, love must have an object of affection. God is a community of three distinct persons who live in unity and mutual love. Humankind created in God’s image carries out this imaging of community through the composite nature of the individual (mind/body/spirit), through the individual coming in union with another to create a family (union/begetting), and through interpersonal relationships with others (communion/fellowship).

Humankind who are entrusted stewards of God’s creation also have a communal responsibility and interdependence that comes with our entrusted stewardship from the Divine. As Cain asked after killing Abel, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” there are those who follow the way of Cain, shirking their communal responsibility, and become a destructive force against community for material or immaterial gain.

We see this within a civilization with unjust laws, inequity in economic and socio-political institutions, and prejudice of all types. For society to be fully humane and for us to fully carry out our stewardship, we must seek to have compassion and understanding amongst all citizens.

Seeking the common good of all and to be fully imagers of God should move us from a place of simple tolerance to Allophilia.