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The Principle of Love


Knights of Columbus and Religious Leaders Urge Embrace of Rev. Martin Luther King’s Principles of Non-Violence

Knights of Columbus and Religious Leaders Urge peace

From left: Rev. William Bass; Rev. Eugene Rivers, III, founder and director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies in Boston; Bishop Edwin Bass, president of the Church of God in Christ Urban Initiatives; Jesuit Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

Just hours after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a group of Christian leaders called on religious leaders of all denominations to sign a letter endorsing the nonviolent approach advocated by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Leaders from the Knights of Columbus, the Seymour Institute, the Church of God in Christ and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the initiative to promote the importance of Dr. King’s nonviolent approach to difficult issues, famously outlined in his 1957 essay, “Nonviolence and Racial Justice.”

Religious leaders who wish to sign the letter should do so by email at statement@kofc.org.

COGIC Bishop Edwin Bass, on behalf of that denomination’s leader, Bishop Charles Blake, and Rev. Eugene Rivers of the Seymour Institute, also called for 2018 to be declared the year of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination.

Citing the Las Vegas tragedy and other contemporary challenges, “including a renewed racism by groups like the Ku Klux Klan,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson warned against discouragement or despair in the face of violence.

While things looked bleak in the early stages of the civil rights movement, Dr. King held fast to the American principle that all are created equal and that there “can be no place for political violence,” said Anderson.

“Dr. King held that high ground and people rallied to him,” said Anderson, leader of the Knights, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization.

Dr. King, who toiled in a time of discord like our own, “is still the beacon for the way forward," said COGIC Bishop Bass on behalf of Bishop Blake, the church’s presiding bishop.

He said the call to observe the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death has been promoted by the Seymour Institute in Boston and will include a gathering sponsored by his church that will address a question posed by Dr. King: “Where do we go from here?”

Jesuit Father George Murry, bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, said, “Nonviolence is the prerequisite to hearing each other’s stories and entering into an honest dialogue.”

He said such a dialogue can “open roads to justice and reconciliation that will lead to the true communion of civic friendship."