Author Sarah Vowell has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times about Martin Luther King, Jr., the notion of “radical love,” and how it’s missing in the current crop of candidates (especially the Republican ones).
I live in Lower Manhattan. In my seriously secular neck of the woods, Christians are often dismissed as those homophobes on the news hell-bent on keeping half the population of Chelsea out of the wedding pages. Once, I told a member of the fabled East Coast Media Elite that I was raised Pentecostal and he asked if that meant I grew up “fondling snakes in trailers.”
Because I am a culturally Christian atheist the same way my atheist Reform friends are culturally Jewish, I look forward to Martin Luther King’s Birthday — when the news momentarily replaces the rants of the faith-based spitfires with clips of what an actually Christlike Christian sounds like — with the kind of fondness with which my pal Ben looks back on the decent, affectionate ideal that was his summer camp.…
Whoever wins the presidential election this year will be a Christian. (Unless of course it’s that one guy who is a member of a Muslim sleeper cell. Just when you think the electoral process couldn’t get any more stupid….) So the rest of us might as well suck it up and see if we can pick the Christian who is, if incapable of loving his or her enemies, the one who seems least likely to drum up a bunch of extra, new enemies to hate.
It’s a short, funny piece.
And I’ll admit I never knew that Ronald Reagan opposed making MLK’s birthday a national holiday.