BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney 15 January 2007
Last week, a prominent Premiership footballer was charged by the F.A. with "using racially abusive or insulting words" in a clash with two black opponents. If the charge is true, that's a bad thing. But it's a good thing that the F.A. is serious about tackling racism in football.
Leicester is remarkably non-racist compared with many other large towns, though no-one's perfect. Leicester is often mentioned as an example of a 21st century city where race isn't a bone of contention. Race is often paralleled by religion, and, thanks to the wisdom and work of religious leaders in the city, there is a strong inter-faith dialogue that helps in understanding and reconciliation.
On 24th March, it'll be the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by Britain. On that day, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are going to lead thousands of pilgrims carrying a giant cross to repent for the church's earlier support of the slave trade. That will underline the church's commitment to racial equality, for Christ died for each and every one, whatever our race or nation or status.
If he hadn't been assassinated in 1963, today would have been Martin Luther King's 78th birthday.
· Are we nearer those dreams he had?
· Do our children live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character?
· Can the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners sit down together at a table of brotherhood?
The answer is up to you and me. We all have to carry on working at it.