United Methodists declare MLK Jr. a modern-day martyr

Delegates at the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church May 1 declared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a modern-day martyr.

The historic vote was in keeping with a decision at the 2008 General Conference giving the German theologian the Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer the same distinction.

King, who gave his life for the betterment of all people, will be listed with Bonhoeffer in the Book of Resolutions to bear witness to all people of faith in printed and digital form.

“Dr. King gave of himself to bring a message of hope to the world. His martyrdom set him apart. His love and his sacrifice must be remembered in a significant way by the church for future generations,” the declaration reads.

A graduate of Boston Theological Seminary, a United Methodist-related institution, King is perhaps the most well-known leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and the Congressional Gold Medal (2004).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a national holiday in 1986.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE
Bishop Richard Wilke. An official portrait courtesy of the Council of Bishops.

Gay daughter sent bishop back to Scriptures

The co-author of the popular Disciple Bible study writes about how learning his daughter is gay led him to examine Scriptures about homosexuality more closely.
Mission and Ministry
The Rev. Thomas Lank

Seeing ‘new face’ of Christian church in China

A joint United Methodist volunteer team from the North Central and Northeastern jurisdictions makes a journey of peace and goodwill to China.
General Church
Photo of The Rev. William B. Lawrence by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Commission on General Conference added to confusion

Closed meeting and referral decision were mistakes, writes a former president of the United Methodist Judicial Council.