Martin Luther King Jr. focused on civil disobedience and racial injustice, while your focus is on personal empowerment. Why the different focus and message?
The two missions are not comparable. Every pastor seeks to serve the needs of his constituency, some from a social perspective as it relates to social justice, and some from a personal perspective as it relates to empowerment. For example, without social justice we would not have affirmative action, but without personal responsibility we have children with affirmative-action opportunities who don’t get to school. It’s a combination of both messages that is the catalyst to propel our generation into what Dr. King fought for us to have.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).