It is NOT business as usual, said the Chicago Catholic priest, who was invited to be the keynote speaker at the New National Civil Rights Museum, formerly known as the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. As the week-long Commemorative Program remembered Dr. Martin Luther King’s April 4, 1968 assassination, Rev. Michael Pfleger cautioned his audiences to make a commitment to continuing the work Dr. King started.
“If we want to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. , we must be willing to pick-up his mantle, accept his prophetic call and continue his uncompromising mission…And remind America she may go to Hell, if she does not repent for the evil, injustice and abandonment to the poor,” he said.
Passionately, The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger, 68, expounded on the need for Americans to continue the significant work of his mentor, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
He said that Americans live in an era were people are still crying from the shackles of hunger, as families search for food in garbage cans and others are homeless, living under bridges and in cars. Many people are still fighting for decent living wages, as they work lower paying jobs. The problems in this country have not changed drastically in 50 years, he explained.
“Fifty years ago, while standing on this balcony, evil and forces of hate sought to stop him and shut him up, only to find out that a bullet could silence his voice, but not his message, nor the truth that lived in him,” said Rev. Pfleger
“For this reason, I challenge you brothers and sisters, on this 50th anniversary, and myself, that we do not make the mistake and simply remember Dr. King and regulate his life to some nostalgia or historic event. And then continue to business as usual because if we do, then we become the present day ,co-conspirators of his assassination,” he said to applause.
Rev. Pfleger was invited to speak at the museum in Memphis, TN and at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, as he had been invited by the Rev. Dr. Bernice King, the youngest living daughter of ML and Coretta Scott King. She is also the director of the King Center.
Rev. Pfleger attended and participated in Dr. King’s speeches to Chicago residents in Marquette Park during July 1966. From that day on, this senior pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina Church, has pledged a life of civil disobedience.
Dr. Bernice King called Dr. Pfleger and activist and a social warrior.
“Martin Luther King challenged us to set aside our safety and our success for the greater good of humankind. And he commanded us to live in this selfish world with the sense of otherness,” he said.
“Martin Luther King was not one of political correctness nor of safe theology. He believed that the church ought to be dangerous—dangerous to evil and dangerous to injustice,” said Pfleger.
And the Chicago pastor warned that some Americans are trying to change the image of Dr. King, so he will be acceptable to the masses.
“He called us to dismantle the system of poverty, racism, and injustice. He called us, yes, to do acts of charity, but also have the courage to demand and fight for injustice…To dismantle any system that is unjust…MLK stood up to hoses and dogs, boys and bullets, and yet he never compromised his commitment to non-violence, “ said Rev. Pleger.