1 The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu
2 Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice Series Editors Dwight N. Hopkins and Linda E. Thomas Published by Palgrave Macmillan How Long this Road : Race, Religion, and the Legacy of C. Eric Lincoln Edited by Alton B. Pollard, III and Love Henry Whelchel, Jr. African American Humanist Principles: Living and Thinking Like the Children of Nimrod By Anthony B. Pinn White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity By James W. Perkinson The Myth of Ham in Nineteenth-Century American Christianity: Race, Heathens, and the People of God By Sylvester Johnson Loving the Body: Black Religious Studies and the Erotic Edited by Anthony B. Pinn and Dwight N. Hopkins Transformative Pastoral Leadership in the Black Church By Jeffery L. Tribble, Sr. Shamanism, Racism, and Hip Hop Culture: Essays on White Supremacy and Black Subversion By James W. Perkinson Women, Ethics, and Inequality in U.S. Healthcare: To Count Among the Living By Aana Marie Vigen Black Theology in Transatlantic Dialogue: Inside Looking Out, Outside Looking In By Anthony G. Reddie Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil By Emilie M. Townes Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty By Jennifer Harvey The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu By Johnny B. Hill Conceptions of God, Freedom, and Ethics in African American and Jewish Theology By Kurt Buhring (forthcoming) Black Theology and Pedagogy By Noel Leo Erskine (forthcoming)
3 The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu Johnny Bernard Hill Foreword by J. Deotis Roberts
4 THE THEOLOGY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND DESMOND MPILO TUTU Copyright Johnny Bernard Hill, Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. First published in 2007 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England RG21 6XS Companies and representatives throughout the world. PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. Macmillan is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries. ISBN ISBN (ebook) DOI / Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the Library of Congress. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Design by Newgen Imaging Systems (P) Ltd., Chennai, India. First edition: November
5 To all the women who have loved me My wife,trinia; mothers, Johnnie Marie and Carolyn; sisters, Gina, Leanette, Sherri, Joyce, Melissa,Teresa, Qiana, and Cheryl Your support, love, and encouragement over the years has meant more than words can say.
6 Contents Acknowledgments Series Editors Preface Foreword List of Acronyms ix xi xv xvii Introduction: The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu 1 1. Exploring the Meaning of Reconciliation and Community From Every Mountainside: Reconciliation and the Beloved Community The Rainbow People of God: Reconciliation and Apartheid Ambassadors of Reconciliation: Comparing Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu The Power of Nonviolence: Mohandas K. Gandhi s Influence on King and Tutu In Dialogue with Liberation Theology Building a Legacy of Peace: Quest for Justice and Reconciliation in a World of Difference 173 Notes 205 Selected Bibliography 235 Index 245
7 Acknowledgments This project is the culmination of many prayers, hopes, and dreams. I am very grateful to many people who have offered, over the years, generous resources, thoughtful and comforting words, as well as genuine criticism when necessary. Time is rarely taken out of the business of life to thank those who we know as family and friends. I would like to first of all express gratitude for the support of my sisters (Gina, Leanette, Sherrie, Joyce, Melissa, Teresa, Qiana, and Cheryl) and brother, Michael L. Cook. To my parents in marriage, Charlie and Carolyn Simmons, I say thanks. Andolia O. Eaton, who adopted me while in seminary at Duke has been a constant source of comfort amid an otherwise tumultuous climate. I am also indebted to my extended family of Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois and White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. To Dr. Reginald Van Stephens and Rev. Mark A. Dennis, your continual spiritual encouragement has meant more than words can say. I have always maintained that teachers give us more than knowledge. They give us inspiration, guidance, and hope. This has certainly been the case in my experience. I wish to thank several professors and mentors who have contributed a great deal to my academic and ministry development. I cannot express enough my deep sense of gratitude to Dr. J. Deotis Roberts, who taught at Duke Divinity School and from whom I got the inspiration for this study. Since the beginning of my theological education, Dr. Roberts has been a patient mentor, advocate, and teacher. Both Dr. Roberts and his lovely wife, Elizabeth, are champions in their Christian witness and truly ambassadors of Christ. At Duke Divinity School, where many of the initial ideas for this study were formulated, I would like to express appreciation for Stanley Hauerwas, Gregory Jones, Greg Duncan, Geoffrey Wainwright, William Turner, and Richard Lischer. In particular, I am eternally
8 x Acknowledgments grateful to Peter Storey and Michael Battle who first introduced me to the thought of Desmond Tutu and the courageous witness of Christian communities in apartheid South Africa. To my friends and colleagues at Louisville Seminary, I am thankful for their generous graciousness and for giving me room for growth. While there are too many to name, I want to especially recognize Scott Williamson, Amy Plantinga Pauw, Kathryn Johnson, David Hester, and Dean Thompson for invaluable feedback and suggestions on this project. I would be remiss if I do not acknowledge the support of Laura Marsh whose administrative assistance has been incomparable. Finally, I am sincerely appreciative for the support and guidance of Henry J. Young, Steve Long, and Michael J. Battle. It would take more than is possible here to express my appreciation for their commitment to my intellectual development and preparation for ministry. Of course, this project would not be possible had it not been for the unfaltering love and support of my wife, Trinia. She has been a tremendous source of inspiration and strength. To that, I say thanks.
9 Series Editors Preface With the first book comparing and contrasting Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Dr. Johnny Bernard Hill tells us a critical and comparative story about the lives and theologies of these two men who received Nobel Peace Prizes and impacted the course of their nations, the segregated United States and apartheid South Africa. Hill focuses on the theme of reconciliation. King has become synonymous with the U.S. civil rights movement, that is, love the enemy. Tutu is equated with the South African anti-apartheid struggle, that is, turn the other cheek. In the course of unfolding this pioneering narrative of faith and society, Dr. Hill draws on multiple intellectual traditions. The book takes the reader on a journey encountering King s published books, rare documents from the King papers at Boston University, and texts at the King Center in Atlanta, various books by Tutu, a host of writings that set the historical backdrop for segregated United States and apartheid South Africa, and the thought of modern and postmodern scholars. Hill maintains convincingly that the modern idea of reconciliation reeks with Kant s distortion of rationality that created an individualistic and provincial practice of reconciliation. Moreover, Hill traces the view of reconciliation from biblical times to the present. The fundamental discovery is the historical separation of personal autonomy from social equality. Rather than apolitical individualism and singular inward obsession with the self, King reworked reconciliation in the context of concern for neighbor, human dignity, and the beloved community. King gifts us with human dignity. Tutu shares the ubuntu alternative. King arose out of Protestant liberalism of modernity and the southern black Baptist church. Tutu emerged from his Anglican church and his Xhosa linguistic traditions. Combining his missionary and indigenous backgrounds, Tutu links reconciliation to a new notion of rainbow people of God. King appreciated the love of God in all individuals inclusive
10 xii Series Editors Preface of KKK Christians. Tutu stressed that individuals are fully human only in relation to others including the Afrikaner Christians. King became the conscious of America s soul. Tutu gained fame as protagonist of South Africa s wounds. Furthermore, both figures urge us to pursue interreligious practical cooperation and reconciliation. Specifically Mohandas K. Gandhi, a Hindu, influenced both King and Tutu. In fact, Gandhi first began and fine-tuned the way of life and philosophy of nonviolence in apartheid South Africa before moving on to his home in India. Tutu matured in this cultural ethos as well. And King not only read the works of the little brown lawyer from India, but also traveled to that country to study and learn from Gandhi s contribution to the world. Tutu committed to nonviolence throughout the heinous Christian terrorism of the white apartheid government, though he conceded the inevitability of violence in his own country. Till his death, King pursued nonviolent ways of living, even during the reign of white Christian terrorism in the South. In this rich, first-time portrayal of King and Tutu, Johnny Hill, in addition, helps us to understand the contributions of the two men to liberation theologies domestically and in the context of global liberation and reconciliation. The world is shot through with fragmentation, war, emotional emptiness, multicultural debates, and personal loneliness. Perhaps a way foreword is offered when we experience reconciliation as individual freedom and autonomy defined by justice and equality. Dr. Johnny Bernard Hill s book represents one definite dimension of the black religion/womanist thought/social justice series pioneering conceptual work and boundary pushing effort. The series will publish both authored and edited manuscripts that have depth, breadth, and theoretical edge and will address both academic and nonspecialist audiences. It will produce works engaging any dimension of black religion or womanist thought as they pertain to social justice. Womanist thought is a new approach in the study of African American women s perspectives. The series will include a variety of African American religious expressions. By this we mean traditions such as Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Humanism, African diasporic practices, religion and gender, religion and black gays/lesbians, ecological justice issues, African American religiosity and its relation to African religions, new black religious movements (e.g., Daddy Grace, Father Divine, or the Nation of Islam), or religious dimensions in African American secular experiences (such as the spiritual aspects of
11 Series Editors Preface xiii aesthetic efforts like the Harlem Renaissance and literary giants such as James Baldwin, or the religious fervor of the Black Consciousness movement, or the religion of compassion in the black women s club movement). Dwight N. Hopkins, University of Chicago Divinity School Linda E. Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
12 Foreword This foreword is but a short version of my high regards for the witness of Johnny Hill to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have been blessed to have a long relationship with Hill. He studied with me for several years at Duke Divinity School where I was Research Professor of Systematic Theology. During this same period, Johnny supported my work as an office assistant. It was good to notice his growth in the academy and the church. Much more could be said about his graduate study and his entrance in academic service. His service in churches is also important. Let me now turn to the splendid work he has accomplished through his Ph.D. dissertation. He is to be congratulated on the subject-matter as well as the two theologians he has studied. King and Tutu represent two denominations and two cultures. Both men performed well against racism and poverty as church-theologians. Both sought peace and reconciliation in the midst of an awesome struggle. They sought liberation from oppression, at the same time that they sought the freedom of all people from various forms of struggles. King and Tutu have had an influence upon the direction of my life. When I studied and pastored in Scotland, King s leadership influenced me to return to the United States for a life of service. Later, King s father, (Daddy King), was to serve on the Board of Trustees at the Interdenominational Theological Center, where I was to serve for a term as president. King s influence was to be with me throughout the Civil Rights struggle and continues. My latest book indicates this as I penned Bonhoeffer and King. Archbishop Tutu has also had a lasting influence on my witness. I knew Desmond Tutu in his youth as I dialogued with African churchmen and thinkers. I was later to visit several African countries. I worked with Leon Sullivan and wrote on his life and thought, especially regarding South Africa. I was to visit this benighted country
13 xvi Foreword before and after Mandela s reign. Tutu has been a constant companion as a church theologian for years. He also penned the foreword to my honorary volume, at the request of Michael Battle who was ordained by Tutu. The theme of reconciliation has been a theme much used by Tutu as well as myself. Briefly, Hill is concerned that two theologians claimed at once a place in the church and academy. They also belong to the post-modern period in theological thought, according to Hill s assessment. I wish this aspect of Hills s thought had received more attention, especially for theologians so attached to the Enlightenment and the West. Both theologians were comprehensive in outlook and not limited in history or geography. Perhaps the most important concern of Hill is that King and Tutu stressed the importance of social and community oppression and not the oppression of the individual only. In their own time and place they addressed systemic racism and other concerns, i.e. poverty. One only needs to look at King s Beloved community and Tutu s Ubuntu theology to stress this point. This in no way gives up the concerns for individual freedom, but it does cover significant ground. While I cannot cover more territory in the reflection upon Hill s important book, i.e. his stress upon Gandhi and other concerns like forgiveness, the relation of all concerns to social justice, a careful reading of this book is rewarding. The book is a significant read and should be taken seriously. J. Deotis Roberts Professor of Theology Emeritus, Palmer Theological Seminary Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
14 List of Acronyms ACOA ANC ANLCA COFO CORE DRC IFP NAACP NGK OAU PAC RSA SABC SACBC SACC SADF SAIC SCLC SNCC TRC WCC American Committee on Africa African National Congress American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa Council of Federated Organizations Congress of Racial Equality Dutch Reformed Church (usually used in reference to the NGK) Inkatha Freedom Party National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk Organization of African Unity Pan Africanist Congress Republic of South Africa South African Broadcasting Corporation Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Pretoria South African Council of Churches, Johannesburg South African Defence Force South African Indian Congress Southern Christian Leadership Conference Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Truth and Reconciliation Commission World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland