Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a Baptist Minister, the Christian beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. informed and inspired his work for civil rights. He preached of unity and love to overcome division and hatred and that all men are created in the image and likeness of God.

Dr. King’s messages regarding justice, equality, and non-violence are compatible with Catholic social teaching.

Catholics can learn from his words and example, especially regarding the dignity of all human life, cooperation between people of different faiths, and bringing light into the darkness.

He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39. 

In the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is a federal holiday, celebrated on the third Monday each January.

A legacy filled with faith, hope, and sacrifice:

A message that is important for all Catholics:

A commitment to Jesus and deep knowledge of Christianity:

We love, because He first loved us. If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God Whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.

1 John 4: 19-21

Promoting Christian values and respect for life:

A message of peace, tolerance and forgiveness:

Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1934

Dr. King remains a powerful model for our time:

In the most difficult hours of your struggle for civil rights amidst discrimination and oppression, God Himself guided your steps along the way of peace. Before the witness of history the response of non-violence stands, in the memory of this nation, as a monument of honor to the black community of the United States. Today as we recall those who with Christian vision opted for non-violence as the only truly effective approach for ensuring and safeguarding human dignity, we cannot but think of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, and of the providential role he played in contributing to the rightful human betterment of black Americans and therefore to the improvement of American society itself.

Pope John Paul II, Meeting with the Black Catholic Community of New Orleans, September 12, 1987

Risking his life so people could live out their God-given call:

A reminder that our faith calls for bravery:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Christ on the street:

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.