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He Who Is Without Sin…

Posted by Roberta Grimes • July 20, 2019 • 28 Comments
Book News, Human Nature, Slavery, Thomas Jefferson

I believe that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be judged in the long course of history to have been the greatest American of the twentieth century. Of course, there were other Americans during the last century who did remarkable things! But in the fifty-one years since Dr. King’s death his stature has risen, and it continues to rise. What he did during his thirty-nine years of life continues to shine ever brighter! And as the years and the centuries roll on from here, the various statesmen, generals, scientists, and inventors who were prominent in the twentieth century will be replaced by later figures who make new conquests and discoveries that better suit their own epochs.

Since Abraham Lincoln, there has not been anyone else with the stature of Dr. King. Just as Lincoln called us back to our founding principles and made the Founders freshly relevant in his day, so Dr. King did that for the twentieth century, and he did it with intellectual and spiritual might. Very few people in history have truly lived lives for the ages! And perhaps since Jesus walked the earth there has been no one who did more for others in fewer than forty years of life than did Dr. King. He is a genuine giant.    

As would have been true of anyone who was working so hard in the nineteen-sixties to end the long tail of slavery and help this nation at last live up to its own ideals in the area of race, Dr. King had powerful enemies. The worst of these was J. Edgar Hoover, then the longtime head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a man who bore Dr. King such animus that he used his position to secretly record a lot of the civil rights leader’s life; then he tried to blackmail Dr. King into killing himself. All of this has long been known. But recently documents were released from the FBI’s archives that were dated only days before Dr. King’s death, and the allegations made in them seem so damaging that in our shamefully judgmental times they even are giving some King scholars pause.

But do we have the right to judge Dr. King? What might Jesus have to say about that? Perhaps you recall this famous passage from the Book of John:

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to (Jesus), ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’  Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either’” (JN 8:3-11).

No matter what is in those FBI documents, who among us has the spiritual rectitude to pick up the first stone and throw it at the titan that is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

And furthermore, it appears that what is in the FBI documents condemning Dr. King is mostly nonsense. A thoughtful article on historycollection.com analyzes both the documents and their place in a turbulent historical period. It then concludes with these paragraphs:

“Part of the reason the FBI was so set on getting rid of King was that they thought he was a communist at a time when communism was seen as the greatest threat to the country. And the documents allege that King was closely tied to communist organizations. But we know now that those ties were made up completely. King himself was no fan of communist regimes. And he made efforts to say so publically but found that his advisors feared alienating supporters who might be communists. ‘There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory,’ King said, ‘but they would not go along with it.’  .  .  .

“If you take the FBI documents at face value, you’d assume King was a staunch supporter of communism, which he absolutely was not. And if that allegation in the documents is false, it changes the tone of the whole report. It makes it seem less like an objective effort to collect facts and more like an effort to discredit King with any rumor they could find. Ultimately, that’s probably all the report is, a collection of rumors meant to make King look bad.

“That’s not to say that King didn’t have personal issues with sexual affairs. Many of King’s friends and associates have stated over the years that they knew he sometimes had emotional and possibly sexual attachments to women. Like all men, King wasn’t perfect. And like anyone, he made mistakes and did things that might challenge the image of him that has been built up over the years. But the more disturbing allegations in the documents are almost definitely exaggerated or even outright lies. And King’s personal issues don’t take away from his legacy as a champion of equality.”

(All the italics are mine.)

There you have it. Dr. King had extramarital affairs, but apparently the rest of the FBI’s case against him was largely baseless. And as would be true if my own husband were to discover he had some wild oats to sow, Dr. King’s sex life was nobody’s business but his own and his wife’s. The nineteen-sixties were years when promiscuity was judged less harshly than it is judged today, and for prominent men it was almost de rigueur.

Dr. King is an intellectual and spiritual giant who transcends time. In days when this nation was perilously close to splitting apart over racial issues, Dr. King set a pitch-perfect tone that has carried on long after his death and still does its healing work today. As we have been doing with Jesus, let’s sit down together at the feet of this extraordinary man and learn from him.

Dr. King was quoting Thomas Jefferson when he said in July of 1965, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This is a dream. It’s a great dream! The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say, ‘some men’; it says ‘all men.’ It doesn’t say ‘all white men’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes black men. It does not say ‘all Gentiles’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Jews. It doesn’t say ‘all Protestants’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say ‘all theists and believers’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes humanists and agnostics. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us—and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day—that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”

“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. “

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’ … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”

“I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

Our viciously judgmental time in history will pass, as have so many other benighted ages before it. The moral midgets trying now to destroy not only this nation’s Founding Fathers but also the modern Founding Father that Dr. King is proving to be will soon die un-lamented. Then as the future years and centuries pass, the miracle that is this nation, happily founded by a Generation of Giants and largely saved two centuries later by that one extraordinary man, will continue to thrive for the lovers of freedom and justice who are their fortunate beneficiaries.

May Americans in the long course of time prove ourselves to be worthy of their gift.

 

King Monument photo credit: Gage Skidmore <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/8554368583″>Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Johnson photo credit: Jared Enos <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/99610066@N02/11242870095″>President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
King’s Church photo credit: yooperann <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/99923398@N00/12893644413″>Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
King Vestments photo credit: www78 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40243520@N02/15694837103″>Martin Luther King Jr. Pastor Artifacts</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Flags photo credit: -Jeffrey- <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37848681@N05/15749771828″>Washington Monument</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

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28 thoughts on “He Who Is Without Sin…

  1. Great post Roberta, ringing and zinging with pure true, but i do not believe we are all created equal — why? people born with infirmities -handicapped people do not have the same abilities as those born in good physical health have, but from a creative position in Gods eyes we are but from a humanistic view point i would say no. – what about after we cross over we will have no more physical problems all things being equal – will we have higher intelligence–? – + creative powers i think so.

    1. Dear Dan, my instinct is to say that we are born legally and morally equal, or some such thing; but as I think about it, I think there is more to this point that you raise (which is an excellent one!). It is indeed true that we all have different strengths and deficits. Unless all human beings are literally identical, there are going to be these differences! But that is okay; and actually, it’s a good thing because our differing strengths and deficits can work together to strengthen humanity as a whole. For example, even from a purely humanistic point of view, if you have a genius IQ while I am an extraordinarily gifted artist or musician, we are different but I don’t think you are superior to me, or vice versa. Someone who is born with a defective body can still be a genius/savant. Someone who is a brilliant mathematician could be clueless about fostering ever more loving human interactions. In short, we are at least roughly “equal” – only we are all very different people.

      And yes, once we have graduated we will lose our earthly handicaps and all have beautiful young bodies, and since we all will have resumed the aspects of our powerful, eternal minds that we left behind when we entered these bodies, we are likely to be all roughly equally smart. Clearly, all created equal! But we will differ considerably from one another in the one way that matters to those not in bodies: some of us will be much more spiritually developed than others. Those who are vibrating more toward the love end of the range will be able to go to far more afterlife places and have a whole lot more fun!

      Good point, and interesting to think about. Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. Hi Roberta,
    One thing that bothered me when I was growing up with Christianity was the fact that a huge religion in the world, Muslims, were left out of the eternal life, but somehow, Jews were not. Yet, I couldn’t find anything indicating that the Muslim religion was evil, in fact, they are very pious, kind, and generous. I have a Muslim neighbor who is a great neighbor. But, especially since 9-11, we associate the Muslim faith with terrorism, but the true faith is anything but.
    A few years ago, I had a friend on social media from Pakistan. What I learned from him was that although he was Muslim, his God was as real and important as my God was. When his family disowned him because they discovered he was gay, he was thrown out of the family home forever and disowned. Even his sister would not acknowledge him. Now that act of disowning, was totally flawed in my estimation, and certainly an old world fear based religious reaction, but he seemed to accept it as the Pakistani way. My heart was broken for him, as here he was in his own country with his own people, but ostracized in such a heartless way.
    I just wanted to mention how wonderful a gift that Jesus is and how in spite of all the imperfections in the church today, I am so happy for all the lessons that Jesus taught, and most are so easy in theory, but sometimes not so easy to follow through on. And, since it is not our job to judge others, we can truly live with the peace that almost everyone will make it to the good place, even those from a different religion. That idea brings me much peace when thinking about all the races and religions in the world and how we seem so different at first glance.

    1. Oh my dear Timothy, Jesus Is indeed our great gift! He came to us 2000 years ago with a perfect prescription directly from the godhead for achieving rapid spiritual growth and living our very best earth-lives. Jesus has nothing whatsoever to do with the religion that bears his name: He didn’t design it, found it, or endorse it. He was all about bringing the kingdom of God on earth, and of course Christianity is fear-based so it acts as a barrier to that process!

      Yes indeed, there is no religious practice in the afterlife, and everyone can make it to the same afterlife… although of course our best afterlife experience is possible only when we live by the Gospel teachings in practice, whether or not we ever have heard of them.

      You may not know that the evidence suggests strongly that Islam grew out of Christianity as effectively a sect of that earlier religion? But yes there are good Muslims, just as there are good people of every faith. And now the afterlife evidence assures us that we all will progress into the very same afterlife!

  3. Thank you Roberta. I’m still inspired when they play Dr King’s speaches every MLK day – just as relevant now, showing a man living many of the principles discussed here recently, without fear of the martyrdom he seems to have sensed near the end. He accomplished so much through what sounds a lot like “The Way” to me! One often overlooked sermon, one of my favorites, is, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam,” from April 4, 1967, ironically one year to the day before his assasination. He could almost have been speaking yesterday, about many of our latest military, socio-economic, and environmental mis-adventures. It may have inspired that effort you write of to paint him as a communist – possibly hastened his murder as well.

    1. Scott, good points. It seems that we Americans are learning the hard way that the aspirations of this country wholly depend on PEOPLE. It’s not just rhetoric in a document. When was the last time government did anything based on its own merit? People working collectively and with determination insist on the changes that eventually become part of daily life. That’s what democracy means, but the pushback from the system itself is always there.

      1. Yes Mike. Real change generally comes from the bottom up, and the system is getting more resistant, manipulative, and intrusive, even as the people tend to be getting more passive, more interested in materialism and in relating to a screen rather than to the real world. My wife and I sometimes use the term “sheeple,” not to say there haven’t been some admirable movements lately, but this divide and conquer polarization we have now seems to sweep everything aside. I shudder when I see the facial recognition surveilance state going into place in China, with it’s social credit score that intimidates people to just go along to get along, not to mention putting nonconforming people, like Uigurs, in detention centers and taking their children away to be “educated” elsewhere. That is where a materialistic, spiritually empty regime can end up. I pray our country doesn’t go in that direction. We need more people like Dr King, and people like us in this little community of ours need to turn our spiritual lights up as bright as possible, with the help of Jesus’s teachings, our guides, and what we are learning from those on the other side, so we can do our bits too.

      2. Yes. true, dear Mike, this nation’s survival depends on the strength and determination of its people! But we have learned over the past two centuries just how essential those founding documents actually are to the task of preserving our sacred rights and freedoms. The Declaration of Independence was quickly written and then edited by the whole of the Continental Congress assembled, all in literally days! But think how powerful its words have become for us as talismans of this nation for all time. The Constitution was labored over and voted in and amended, and even though the Founders assumed we likely would do new founding documents to suit each new generation going forward, over time very many of us have come to see those ancient words as the only thing that stands between us and the utter destruction of our rights. The eternal wisdom of those men in knee pants and their women in corsets astounds me to this day!

    2. Dear Scott, Dr. King’s sermons are indeed beautiful, ringing, a timeless clarion calling everyone of good will; but many people can give a good speech without being able to think on their feet. Dr. King was also a wonderful interview subject, calm and confident, very bright, and fearless about embracing the truth as he saw it. Listening to the man always makes me smile!

      1. Yes Roberta. He was such a great speaker, and he also walked his talk, peacefully and fearlessly arm in arm with others, even in the face of things like fire hoses, billy clubs, attack dogs, viscious mobs, etc, and he would show compassion even to his oppressors – peace and reconciliation – which have served well in South Africa, and Rwanda, and helped Ghandi free a nation.

        1. Hi again Roberta. I got carried away. Technically I should have said truth and reconciliation, but you get my drift 😁

  4. Roberta, thank you for acvery timely and topical post! It is good to be talking about this now because of what is going on with humanity.

    Incidentally I read your book when it first came out and I thought you and your coauthor presented a cogent argument in stating that we must end the civil war finally and free the slaves, who never really were. That is what King was fighting for, and we need to be reminded that he was NOT a government figure by a long shot!

    The government beat him back literally and figuratively every chance they could. They beat back others as well and, as I mentioned, it’s not a political issue. It’s a humanity issue.

    No one since King yet has had the bravery to begin to push forward through that beating. It’s up to regular people to do so because it’s clear that any government will fear that sort of movement again. That means it won’t be welcome by the system, and it will be hard in the real sense of the measure of accomplishing something revolutionary, but it has to happen.

    1. PS-This is added directly from my spiritual guide, Eh-TOn-ah’ (sometimes aka Arrow): Things done to twart these just efforts are often considered “legal” by the system and cultural framework of the times. Legal and moral are NOT the same. Only people outside the system working collectively from compassion have the wisdom to know the difference!

    2. Dr. King was indeed working to bring about the emancipation and empowerment of the descendants of the former slaves at long last, something that was impossible in the vicious Jim Crow South following the Civil War. Few people understand the extent to which the fact that slavery was abolished but no real effort was made at emancipation and empowerment still weighs on the relationships between the races even today! And Dr. King was coming to understand the problem and beginning to work at resolving it when he died. Had the man lived, he would be ninety now. And this nation would be a far different and a very much better place!

  5. Dearest Roberta,
    So you look to Martin Luther King (junior, as Americans call him) as a shining light of non judgmental love and a force to replace slavery with inalienable human rights. He was human and yes, flawed as we all are, though not as flawed as the vipers of his time wished to portray him.

    And somehow, as I read your blog I am tugged at sleeve to remember another such light who peaked a little before Dr King.

    Mohandas K. Gandhi freed India from the enslavement of the British Empire without so much as a shot being fired. So profound an effect had he on the psyche of India that the people named him ‘Mahatma’, Great Soul.

    And far from judging Gandhi for his human flaws and personal inconsistencies, his people hallow his memory. Dr King and the Mahatma are so cherished by many of us, all over the world, that judging them is simply unthinkable. So is it love that washes away all judgment after all?

    Dr King did admire Gandhi and spoke of him in glowing terms:
    “It is one of the greatest ironies of the modern world that the greatest Christian of the Twentieth Century was not a member of the Christian Church.”
    – MLK; 1959; referring to Gandhi as one of Jesus’ other sheep. (John10:16)

    It seems to me that Dr King was Gandhi’s successor who changed the very nature of social justice in the USA and greatly influenced civil rights around the world (including my own country).

    So this great soul, Dr King, lives on in each of us who believes in unconditional love and the inherent equality of each human soul.

    If Gandhi and his followers could achieve freedom, if Dr King and his followers could bring such profound change, then why not the rest of us? Together we can bring love, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and Oneness on earth. In ourselves we can end sin and judgment. Both Gandhi and Dr King looked to Jesus’ Way as the solution, each after his own fashion. They really, really lived it and their faith moved mountains.

    1. Dear Efrem, Martin Luther King, Sr., was a great preacher in his own right; it was Dr. King himself who didn’t want his father to be forgotten. And yes, Dr. King certainly was a great disciple of Gandhi’s! He was so taken with Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence, and with the way it relates so well with the Gospel teachings of Jesus. Dr. King is reported to have said when he went to India, “I am coming home.”

      I agree that as we all begin to come to the genuine teachings of Jesus, and for the first time to resurrect them and to share them with the world, it will be Gandhi and Dr. King who will light our way!

    1. Oh yes, dear Sharon. And we all are flawed messengers! When I look at Dr. King, what he said and who he was, I can see neither spot nor stain. He did his best, and his best was good enough to place him among the greatest!

  6. Roberta,
    Circling back to Dr. Martin Luther King – it is so important to see him as a champion for all humanity, not just for Black Americans. Somehow, and I am willing to say that I once had a similar view, many white Americans see him as a champion for the Black race only. How tragic. When I hear anyone in public service say they haven’t got a racist bone in their body, it somehow makes me cringe as I feel they aren’t being truly honest. We all have work to do to erase the lines between unconscious judgement of others. Thanks for keeping us all thinking of ways to apply unconditional love.

    1. Oh, I do agree! Unfortunately, he was born at a desperately racist time, the last gasp of the slave-holding and Jim Crow South, and he had to advocate most vocally for the victims of that system. But indeed he was trying to uplift us all! He was a truly and deeply brilliant man, a wise man, someone who impresses you more and more the more you read and listen to him. At a time when we needed a giant so badly, we were given that giant. And his work in uplifting and empowering humankind has really just begun!

  7. There is no question that MLK was one of the most eloquent speakers of our time, but like all great people, he had enemies. I never believed he was killed by just one fanatic even as a kid. There was clearly a big conspiracy going on to get rid of him. Even his wife agreed. He was far too intelligent not to know that he was at great risk considering the times he lived in, but it didn’t stop him and one could say that he gave his life for the cause.

    1. Dear Lola, he gave his mountaintop speech just hours before he died. He said there were difficult days ahead, but it didn’t matter what happened to him because God had taken him to the mountaintop and he had seen the Promised Land. “I may not get there with you…”

      … then when he returned to his hotel, he stepped out on that balcony. He put himself where he could be safely shot – not in a crowd, where a stray bullet could have hit someone else. I don’t necessarily think he knew it would happen right then, but he knew it was coming, and as had been true for his whole life long, he wanted to do his best to protect and save other people.

      Dr. King gave his life for a cause even greater than healing all our racial divisions. He gave his life for the ultimate healing of all of humankind.

  8. I agree. It seems that certain people have a destiny of sorts. They may not be consciously aware of it, but I think they are subconsciously. Wherever he went after his death, I’m sure he had a beautiful welcome. I have a feeling he knew he would not grow old because his purpose had been fulfilled. As a very young person at the time, I could never figure out why he didn’t have bodyguards with him on that balcony, as he was always dealing with death threats. It’s almost like he was a sitting duck there – like it was meant to be.

    1. Dear Lola, apparently Dr. King is very active in the afterlife levels, continuing his work so well begun on earth. He had a beautiful welcome, indeed!

    1. Thank you for your comment here, dear Brian! I think it will take a more enlightened age for Dr. King to really come into his own, and that day for certain is going to come!

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