WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Dr. Alveda King is the Director of African American outreach for Priests for Life. She is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I recently had the privilege of being with Dr. King recently when she visited Southeastern Virginia. I was the Emcee at two showings of the extraordinary film "MAAFA 21 - Black genocide in 21st century America" produced by one of the longtime heroes of the Human Rights struggle of our age, Mark Crutcher, of Life Dynamics.
I also have a solidarity in service connection with her through my role as the Associate Director of Deacons for life, under the leadership of that champion of the "least of these", Fr. Frank Pavone. Dr. Alveda King is a warm hearted, dedicated, sacrificial, prophetic and extremely gifted leader. She is also a tremendously orator. I believe that she is an anointed leader for the new human and civil rights movement of our age, the effort to restore the Right to Life to our youngest neighbors, children in the womb.
As we have noticed, there is a concerted effort to unjustly paint all participants in that loose coalition that has come to be called the "Tea Party Movement" as racists. Clearly, this is one more example of the growing polarization in our Nation and the horrid lack of respect for people's reputations. I was pleased to see Dr. King issue the following statement in response:
"We all need to examine and repent of our own tolerance for discrimination," said Dr. King, "but to condemn an entire group because of a few people, yet support Planned Parenthood, an organization marinated in racism, is to strain out gnats and swallow a camel."
"The most obvious practitioner of racism in the United States today is Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger and recently documented as ready to accept money to eliminate black babies," added Dr. King.
"The most positive step we can take to fight racism is to end the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies given to an organization that fulfills the dreams of the Ku Klux Klan -- a group Planned Parenthood's founder once addressed."
This kind of courageous and prophetic willingness to speak the truth, no matter what the cost, must be genetic. Her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a hero of mine. His writings inspired a young hippie (me, back then) who had wandered far from his Catholic Christian roots, to reconsider the claims of Jesus Christ. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Martin Luther King for his heroic life and martyrs death. In some respects, that wonderful Protestant minister is responsible for my return to the Catholic faith as a young man.
His prophetic "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" had a formative effect upon me as a young man, searching for truth and deeply burdened by the injustice of our age. His understanding of the Natural Law was profoundly "catholic" and is critically important for anyone who is dedicated to continuing his fight for the recognition of the dignity of every human life, including the lives of our littlest neighbors. He wrote:
"How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
"All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful."
So it is with the current failure to recognize the humanity and personhood of children in the womb. The science is clear, they are our neighbors. Like every one of us, they too are human beings in development, dependent on others to help them grow into the fullness of our common human vocation. Let's be honest, not even the most ardent and evil abortion advocate tries to argue any longer that they are not human beings. We regularly operate upon them in wonderful intrauterine surgeries. We prosecute people who in the commission of a felony kill them as well. We know the truth. Abortion is the killing of our innocent neighbor.
The utilitarian notion that a human person can be treated as property, used instrumentally rather than received as a gift, was at the rotted core of the evil of institutional slavery. It is the poison behind its cancerous sister, racism. It is the lie behind the evil abortion movement which refuses to recognize the Right to Life and the Rights of our youngest neighbors in the womb. Thank God, Dr. Alveda King is pointing out that truth and taking on the new slavery of abortion on demand.
Dr. Alveda King will soon lead an historic recreation of the great Freedom Rides dedicated to freedom for all, including our youngest neighbors, the "least of these", children in the first home of the whole human race, the womb. Fr. Frank Pavone described the event as follows: "The pro-life movement is all about freedom. That's why Priests for Life, with the leadership of our Pastoral Associate Dr. Alveda King, is launching "Freedom Rides" for the unborn to galvanize pro-life activity across the country.
"During the Civil Rights movement, the "Freedom Rides" constituted a distinctive moment of resolve and unity. The Supreme Court, in its 1960 decision Boynton vs. Virginia, had outlawed segregation in bus terminals and restaurants serving interstate travelers. So the following spring, thirteen people - seven African-Americans and six whites - decided to travel by bus from Washington DC to New Orleans to test the enforcement of that Supreme Court decision.
"Along the way, particularly in Alabama, they encountered opposition and violence from those who did not want desegregation. But having been brutally attacked, and some lying with wounds in hospital beds, the "Freedom Riders" vowed that the journey would continue. That's when others joined in, and the initial Freedom Ride became 60 rides across Southern states in the summer of 1961, with some 450 riders participating. And by the fall of that same year, the government issued orders for the enforcement of desegregation at the bus terminals.
"The Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul: a longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life. That's why, when Dr. Alveda King first walked with me at the annual March for Life and I asked her, "Does this remind you of the marches in the civil rights movement?" she declared, "Fr. Frank, this is the civil rights movement!" Both movements are movements of freedom.
"It is therefore time for Freedom Rides for the unborn. The pro-life movement is more ready than ever to proclaim freedom.
Freedom from the lies and the deceit that allow abortion to continue.
Freedom from the fear of speaking up and taking action for the unborn.
Freedom from the shame and guilt of past involvement in abortion, so that those called to speak up and share their testimonies may do so as people who are "Silent No More".
Freedom from the political oppression that tramples on human rights and denies equality before the law.
Freedom from violence and death itself."
The Freedom rides begin July 23, 2010 in Birmingham, Alabama. Join with the freedom riders! We live in a pregnant moment in human history. The decisions we make and actions we take right now have implications way beyond anything we can imagine. Time truly matters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda's uncle, in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", wrote these words:
"More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
"Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.
"We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity."
All I can add is "Amen" to this great mans words. I encourage all of our readers to participate with Dr. Alveda King, his niece, who is keeping his dream alive, in the great freedom ride. I also ask that you pray for her and her prophetic mission in this critical hour.