King Day-Service

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2020 file photo, Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., speaks about a series of events to be held in and around The King Center in Atlanta. The annual celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in his hometown in Atlanta is calling for renewed dedication to nonviolence following a turbulent year. The slain civil rights leader's daughter said in an online church service Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, that physical violence and hateful speech are “out of control” in the aftermath of a divisive election followed by a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/ Ron Harris, File)

ATLANTA — On Sunday, a day before the nation’s annual holiday celebrating life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock of Georgia returned to the pulpit at the church that was King’s spiritual home, calling for the nation to adhere to “God’s vision of equity.”

Warnock’s wide-ranging holiday message included a tribute to King and a remembrance of his last days organizing an anti-poverty crusade before he was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

Warnock decried the pain and death of the COVID-19 pandemic. And he called the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, “an unthinkable attack on the very house of the people by those who are driven by the worst impulses, stirred up by demagogues.”

Bernice King said the toll of the pandemic, lingering outrage over killings of unarmed Black people and the deadly siege in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump all underscore an urgent need to pursue what her father called “the beloved community” — a world in which conflict is solved nonviolently and compassion dictates policy.

She quoted her father’s words from more than 50 years ago: “There is such a thing as being too late.”

“We still have a choice today — nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation,” Bernice King said, again reciting the words of her father.

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