If Billy Graham was America's pastor, Martin Luther King, Jr. is America's patron saint and martyr. He's the religious figure we're allowed to talk about. Not that we give a rip about what he actually preached. Far from it. That thing known as 'Identity Politics', the default template for social theory today, is antithetical to everything that MLK represented.
But then, he's the great figurehead for post-Christian America. If he was anyone else, he'd be skinned as a hypocrite, a misogynist, a homophobe and a bigot. But he's MLK, the religious figure we're allowed to quote. In fact, seldom does an American Christian leader speak or write that he doesn't quote MLK. Heck, I've heard some (especially within the African American Christian community, but not exclusive to) who have quoted King when there was no mention of any quotes from that Jesus fellow.
Nonetheless, despite it all, King was, for all his flaws and failings, one of the great heroes of America. He managed to confront a great evil and blind spot in America's greatness, and do so directly and with righteous indignation, yet mixed with grace, love, mercy and forgiveness. Again, forgiveness being anathema to the Identity Politics movement.
Despite all he did, however, something clearly went horrifically wrong in the years following his brutal murder. Crime and murder and drugs and broken homes are the majority witness among too many African American communities. Instead of peering long and hard into the mirror, too many are content blaming anything and anyone other than the communities and the attitudes that are the center of the problems. This self reflection was crucial for King's ministry, as it allowed him to deal openly and honestly with those around him and the country in which he lived that he was trying so hard to change.
Instead, we live at a time now where, despite deafening silence from those Christians who would compromise with the emergent heathenism, the biggest killer of Blacks is by far Blacks, and that's not counting the staggering rates of abortion within the African American community. Add the murder rates and drug rates (too common in America in general), to the abortion rates, and one wonders if there will be an African American community left to look back on this one who gave his life that they might be free. Not free to do what they've been doing with the rights he fought for, but free to be servants of the one who King believed in and followed to his last full measure of devotion.