As the U.S. observes the eighty-third birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this is a perfect time to reflect on the slain civil rights leader, Nobel laureate and death penalty opponent.
Much is known of the Montgomery bus boycott that he led in the 1950s. He fought for economic justice and the plight of the poor, and supported Memphis sanitation workers before he was assassinated. And he opposed the war in Vietnam. But rarely do we hear about his position against capital punishment.
"I do not think that God approves the death penalty for any crime, rape and murder included," King said. "Capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminology, and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God."
King's words are just as relevant now in the twenty-first century, over four decades after his death.