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Protestant Reformation vs Civil Rights Movement Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 March 2017

Protestant Reformation vs Civil Rights Movement

The Protestant Reformation (PR) and the Civil Rights Movement (CR) are very similar and different in many ways. The PR had Martin Luther a German priest and professor of theology who initiated the Protestant Reformation. The CR had Martin Luther King jr. an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Some people say that it was MLK’s destiny to be a leader but others say it was a coincidence. But in the end both impacted the world greatly.

The Reformation in Europe officially began in 1517 with Martin Luther (1483-1546) and his 95 Theses. This was a debate over the Christian religion. At the time there was a difference in power. Roman Catholicism stands with the Pope as central and appointed by God. Luther’s arguments referred to a direct relationship with God and using the local languages to speak to the people in sermons. Luther’s arguments remove the absolute power from the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in general. The revenue from the taxes paid to the Church would be reduced with Luther’s ideas, in part because of the removal of buying souls out of purgatory. If purgatory exists, then the Pope should empty it out of goodness and love, and not for the reason of money. There is also the removal of the power of buying one’s pardon from the Church. The focus shifts from buying pardons to spending that time and money for works of mercy and love.

The Church had power over the masses of people because they had the bible and they could control who read it but the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg aloud the bible to be affordable to almost everybody. The church now lost political power too. Previously taxes were collected from the people and paid to the kings, who in turn paid the Pope. In return they received monetary assistance when needed, as well as the international prestige of the Church. Now there were options. Kings could still collect taxes from their subjects, but it was not required that the Church be paid as well. The money could be used at the will of the king. This was related with countries becoming wealthy enough to defend themselves against the Pope’s army, insuring their independence. Countries become independent entities in and of themselves, not relying on the Pope’s protection but having the ability to raise their own armies.

The Civil Rights Movement was at a peak from 1955-1965. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, guaranteeing basic civil rights for all Americans, regardless of race, after nearly a decade of nonviolent protests and marches, ranging from the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott to the student-led sit-ins of the 1960s to the huge March on Washington in 1963. This movement had its roots in the centuries-long efforts of African slaves and their descendants to resist racial oppression and abolish the institution of slavery. Although American slaves were emancipated as a result of the Civil War and were then granted basic civil rights through the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Both of the movements had to face many conflicts such as racism and armies. The movement changed the world. If we didn’t have the civil rights movement African Americans would not have the equal rights as the white man does. And if the Protestant Reformation never occurred the pope might control the whole world. So next time you think about church or your rights just remember you might not of had those if it wernt for Martin Luther and Martin Luther King jr.

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