WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 non-violent 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 non-violent approach to difficult issues, famously outlined in his 1957 essay, "Nonviolence and Racial Justice."
Bishop Edwin Bass of the Church of God in Christ 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," Knights of Columbus CEO 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, Rev. 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.
King, who toiled in a time of discord like our own, "is still the beacon for the way forward," said Church of God in Christ's 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?"
Most Rev. George Murry, S.J., Catholic 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."
SOURCE Knights of Columbus