Why Is Martin Luther King’s Birthday a National Holiday?


By: John Lillpop

Although I am most grateful for the paid day off on Martin Luther King day, I have reservations about the propriety of making the occasion of his birth a national holiday.

One cannot question the fact that Dr. King was an effective warrior in the civil rights movement, a champion for African Americans, and a symbol of hope for downtrodden and oppressed people everywhere. Nearly 40 years after his assassination, Dr. King’s words continue to inspire, guide, and illuminate.

But like all public figures, Dr. King also had personal flaws. He was alleged to have been sympathetic to communist causes, if not directly involved with their activities, and apparently chased skirts other than the one worn by his lovely wife.

But beyond the character issue, there are questions that should be asked, but are not because of political correctness, among which are these:

Does the birth and life of Dr. King warrant the forced closure of American government, education, and vast segments of private enterprise for an entire day every year? And

Compared to the other national holidays that America shuts down for, does Martin Luther King day really make sense?

Consider, please: Martin Luther King day is the only holiday named for a specific American figure, although Dr. King was never elected to political office, nor did he serve the entire nation and all its people in any official capacity.

No president, war hero, educator, religious leader, or other individual American has been so honored. Why should Dr. King be the exception?

Consider also the basis for the other national holidays that America celebrates:

Memorial Day honors those who have given their lives for their country at time of war.

Independence Day celebrates America’s independence and establishment of the most successful democracy in human history.

Labor Day honors the tens of millions of blue-collar workers whose labor has built America and made this nation great.

Veterans Day is a tribute to all the men and women who have served and are serving America in the U.S. military.

Thanksgiving is a day of thankful reflection for the many blessings that the American people have received from our Creator.

Christmas is observed all over the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

New Year’s Day is set aside to celebrate the start of a new year and to give gratitude for the blessings of the year just ended, and

President’s Day honors those who have served and are serving as America’s Chief Executive Officer and commander-in-chief.

Given the substance of America’s other designated national holidays, does Martin Luther King day seem justified?

Or is Martin Luther King day really all about easing white guilt over slavery and racism in America’s past?

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