King’s words ring true still

Published 10:39 am Thursday, November 3, 2016

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”

Those words from Martin Luther King Jr. are still relevant today, especially following the burning of a black church in Greenville.

The Tuesday night fire heavily damaged the 200-member Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. Spray painted on the building were the words “Vote Trump.”

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Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

“(The reason) we consider it a hate crime is because of the political message which we believe was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters,” Simmons said. “This act is a direct assault on people’s right to freely worship.”

The burning of a church brings back memories of another turbulent time in this nation and especially this state. The burning of churches in the 1960s was used as a tool of intimidation and terror. The same can be said today.

We would like to think that Mississippians are better than this, but that would be naive. There is hate here, just as there is love. There is racism still, just as there is unity.

King’s words are more than just a reminder of the troubles of the past, they are a challenge. It’s up to those of us who deplore these acts of hatred to “build and bind,” to “commit to the glories of love” and to “seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”