Walter Hoye

The Conscience of The State

In Special Edition on January 17, 2011 at 12:01 am

SPECIAL: MLK Edition

The Conscience of The State

One day in Oakland, California, in the capacity of a sidewalk counselor, I met a Black man, taking his girlfriend to get an abortion. When we talked, he said to me, he knew it was “his baby” and that his “CONSCIENCE” was bothering him. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.1 wrote:

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the CONSCIENCE of the state. It must be the GUIDE and the CRITIC of the state, and never its TOOL. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”2

As a Black American member of the clergy, a man of the cloth, I love the Church. In 1967, while sitting in Church contemplating my Pastor’s invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord, I heard the voice of God in the stillness of my heart and stood up.

I gave the Pastor my hand, but I gave my LIFE to Christ as my Lord and Saviour. On Sunday, October 22nd, 1967, at the tender age of eleven (11) I was baptized into the body of Christ at the Hartford Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.3

Oh How I Love The Church

In the sixties (i.e., 1960’s) we marched in the streets, marriage was still defined as one man and one woman for LIFE and abortion was defined as murder because it deliberately caused the DEATH of a person, an innocent human being, both inside and outside of the Church.

Oh How I Love The Church.

The Church was bold! The Church was passionate for righteousness sake! The Church was hardly an “irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

According to the latest year (2008) for which statistics are available, 214,190 abortions were committed in California. Of the 214,190 abortions, 80,069 of them were directly paid for by taxpayers through Medi-Cal to the 522 abortion providers in the state of California. Abortions in California represent 17.7% of all abortions in the United States.

I live in California today and I still love the Church. However, California is embroiled in the midst of a moral crisis and I’m not seeing the Church act as the “CONSCIENCE” or the “GUIDE” or the “CRITIC” of the state.

It not only appears to me that the Church is no longer boldly passionate for righteousness sake, but it even appears to me that, at times, the Church is the “TOOL” of the state.

Oh How I Love The Church.

Nevertheless, I believe King was prophetic when he said:

“If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

Oh How I Love The Church.

Looking Forward To The Day

And because I love her, I’m looking forward to the day when the state of California says, marriage is between one man and one woman for LIFE, that abortion is murder because it takes the LIFE of a person, an innocent human being and says such because … her “CONSCIENCE” has been bothering her.

In my opinion, then and only then, will “justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Brothers, we really need to talk.

Reference(s):
1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 — April 4, 1968) was a Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1964. He was the husband of Coretta Scott King, and father of Yolanda Denise-King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King and Bernice Albertine King.
2. “Strength to Love,” Published in 1963. This is a collection of classic sermons preached by Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. The Hartford Avenue Baptist Church is now the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Visit: http://bit.ly/i50jIS.

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