“More than 40 years ago, on August 28, 1963, a quarter million people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. They marched here for the cause of civil rights. And that day they heard Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a speech in which he challenged America to fulfill her promise.
“I have a dream,” he said, “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’”
While we know of the speech, most people are unaware that King also penned one of the most eloquent defences of the moral law: the law that formed the basis for his speech, for the civil rights movement, and for all of the law, for that matter. Read on. . . “
Martin Luther King leader of the Civil Rights movement became world news when he was shot and killed by a sniper on 4th April 1963.
Dr James Emery White asks, would Martin Luther King be heard today? He is doubtful, times have changed, and people have changed. A sad indictment if it is so. Remembered for his famous I Have A Dream speech, says Emery White, “Martin Luther King, Jr. could write the immortal words found in his jailhouse correspondence:
“…there are two types of law: just and unjust. … A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out harmony with the moral law. … Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.”
King’s argument was based on the worth of a human being bestowed by God regardless of what other humans might have to say; King laid claim to a law above man’s law. No other worldview would have given King the basis for such a claim.
And from such a worldview, the world was changed.
But would such a worldview get a hearing today?
Hardly.” Says Dr. Emery White.
“And there lies the irony; as a culture, we celebrate a man’s Christian convictions that were used to change our culture in the past, while simultaneously rejecting those values as a part of shaping our culture for the future.”
If the Ten Commandments were the basis for the revolution in American society to bring about the civil rights for the oppressed, then it seems James Emery White has a point. Said the late Chuck Colson, who knew what it was to be imprisoned for law-breaking:
“Many think of King as a liberal firebrand, waging war on traditional values. Nothing could be further from the truth. King was a great conservative on this central issue, and he stood on the shoulders of Augustine and Aquinas, striving to restore our heritage of justice rooted in the law of God.” It is Martin Luther King day today in the US.