Crowd Gathers to Commemorate Civil Rights Leader

About 300 people attended a Memorial Church service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, on what would have been the 72nd birthday of the slain civil rights leader.

The crowd filled the pews for the annual celebration, to hear the Rev. Lawrence E. Carter give a keynote sermon that underscored the need for faith and a sense of spirituality that tolerates racial and ethnic differences.

In his address--titled "Be the Change You Wish To See"--Carter told the congregation that individuals must strengthen their personal morality before they expect others to help fulfill King's optimistic dreams.


"You can't expect to better the world without improving yourself while showing a respect for all humanity," Carter said.

Sounding this theme repeatedly, Carter emphasized in his preaching that cold, detached intellect does not meet the standard of King's humanistic visions.

"I am suspicious of education," Carter said, prompting a hearty round of laughter from the lively crowd.

"Reading, writing and arithmetic are only imporant if they make people more human," he continued. "We don't want to create skilled psychopaths. The Holocaust was caused by people who called themselves Christians."

A widely published preacher, Carter is dean of the International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta and has taught at many other schools, including Harvard Divinity School and Boston University, where he was associate dean of Marsh Chapel.

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