The Roman Catholic Church takes sainthood seriously, even if a prospective saint didn’t. Dorothy Day (1897-1980), responded to the idea of her potential sainthood by saying, “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”
In spite of her resistance, the canonization process is underway. That she would vote “no” is the best evidence that her practice of faith should be recognized. A redemptive aspect of faith is that outcasts/non-conformists improve the neighborhood.
A federal holiday is somewhat akin to sainthood. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would respond to MLK Day with something like, “That’s nice, but let’s pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
The New York Times‘ opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie said one of King’s most powerful sermons was “A Christmas Sermon on Peace,” given at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967. Bouie sees MLK as a “democratic theorist.” From the sermon:
Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world.
(See also “8 powerful speeches from Martin Luther King, Jr. that aren’t ‘I Have a Dream.”)
Cesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King and Dorothy Day, St. John the Divine, New York City, February 20, 1973, Timeline photos, from the Dorothy Day Guild Facebook page