Saints Are Where You Find Them
Under the circumstances, it would have been natural to conclude that the only thing the white south understands is force, that the use of force was eminently justified, and the time had come to launch a massive campaign of violent resistance.And of course both Gandhi and King were inspired by Thoreau. It's interesting that perhaps the greatest and most dedicated practical Christian in American history drew spiritual guidance from a Hindu and a--well, it's hard to define what Thoreau was, but he certainly wasn't a member of any Christian denomination. Maybe all of us who call ourselves Christians should be more focused on recognizing and learning from what is divine in every culture than on hunting for doctrinal errors and lapses from virtue that we can denounce.
King and other leaders of the civil rights movement apparently took their Christianity more seriously than a lot of people do, however, and, following in part in the political example of Gandhi, set out on a different path.
Tags: Matthew Yglesias, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Thoreau