Interfaith Statement following the Assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sunday, April 14, 1968
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops
The National Council of Churches
The Synagogue Council of America and
The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
- bow together in grief before the shameful murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a unique apostle of the non-violent drive for justice;
- affirm that no service of remembrance or local memorial is equal to the greatness of his labor or the vastness of our national need;
- commend the members of the Congress of the United States for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1968;
- urge the members of the Congress to approve immediately the balance of the $1,980,000,000 authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act;
- request the President and Congress of the United States, as a first-step in the direction of implementing the recommendations of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, to take extraordinary action to achieve the following objective of the late Dr. King: "I hope...that what comes out of these non-violent demonstrations will be an Economic Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged, requiring about 10 or 12 billion dollars."
- urge our citizens to support the government, even in the area of taxation, as it seeks to achieve Dr. King's objective;
- urge the private sector to accelerate its program for improving conditions under which the disadvantaged live and work and, at the same time, urge the public sector to encourage this acceleration by the use of appropriate financial incentives;
- declare our intention to take immediate steps to develop a coordinated sacrificial effort on the part of the American religious community to help the disadvantaged to implement local programs;
- affirm that only through massive contributions by the American people can this nation duly honor the life-offering of Martin Luther King, Jr. and responsibly lift up the burden of the poor and oppressed in our land.
The Most Reverend John D. Dearden, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Dr. Arthur S.Flemming, President of the National Council of Churches
Rabbi Jacob. P. Rudin, President of the Synagogue Council of America
His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, Chairman of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas