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Religion and Three Key African-American Leaders

             People have their own ways of definition religion. According to Karl Marx, religion is a drug or a force that pacifies the poor and the oppressed, enabling them to accept their lower status in this life and to hope for a better future in an afterlife, in heaven. Religion is thus a passive force whose "otherworldly" focus allows individuals to ignore the needs of others. According to Desmond Tutu, former archbishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa, religion is not a drug to pacify, as Marx saw it, but a motivating force for active resistance and social involvement. (pp. 116, 117).
             In this paper we are going to examine the lives of three religiously motivated individuals: the rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Vinoba Bhave. King and Malcolm were both African American civil rights activists. While King explicitly anchored his actions for civil rights in his protestant Christianity, Malcolm X's life and message informed by two Islamic contexts, the Nation of Islam and Traditional Arab Islam. The Indian activist Vinoba Bhave was a disciple, friend, confident, and spiritual successor to Mahatma Gandhi. He and the group of women who followed him acted from within spiritual traditions often associated with Hinduism. (pp.117, 118).
             Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. .
             Martin Luther King (MLK) was born in a period of time in which a system of discrimination and segregation was present. Thus, his mother made it clear for him that he should not feel inferior, that he was as good as anyone else. He started High School at the age of 18. And he graduated from Morehouse College. King started to base his words and acts on religious concepts since when he was young. He based most of his words on the holy bible when giving a speech. He was both a president of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and a pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was respected by both black and white people.

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