Monday was more than a day off. It was a day to honor the memory of a man, Martin Luther King, Jr. and to celebrate the legacy he left to us all. Today, back at work, I am looking at a picture of King at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., taken when he delivered his “I have a dream” speech on August 28th, 1963. I am reading that speech again today along with the students in this classroom. As I read, I realize once again this is possibly the greatest speech of all time. King himself said that this gathering would go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
And so it did. King said they had come to cash the check written by our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. He stated, “We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” And so the check was cashed, ending segregation in schools, sports teams, businesses etc. Everyone must have equal opportunity to work, to learn, to live – no one should be denied these things in a free country.
This right to freedom is based on truth – a truth upon which our country was constructed, a truth that is written into our nation’s history because this truth is written into our founding documents. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)
And with the declaration of those words, a country came into being – “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” (Gettysburg Address) We were founded for Freedom. And the very foundation of that freedom is an immutable truth – “all men are created equal.” How can this be?, you ask. It certainly doesn’t seem as if this is so. We are each born into different circumstances and born with varying abilities and attributes. But in God’s eyes, because we are created by Him for Him, we each have infinite worth and value, despite what the world might say.
Our Declaration of Independence recognizes this truth – that our worth and the inherit worth of every individual comes from our Creator God because we are created in His image. This truth of all being created by God and therefore all having equal worth and dignity, is the basis for declaring that all men (people) have these unalienable rights, not just some, and that all people, not just some, must be free to pursue and enjoy them. Our freedom comes from God, not government. Our founders knew this truth and built our country on the foundation of this truth.
Today, those that come to our country, like our founders before them, are still coming for the same reason – a desire to be free – a desire to live in freedom, peace and the prosperity that freedom brings with it. But freedom can only be sustained as long as the truth that upholds it remains as its foundation. When truth falls away, the foundation falls and freedom along with it. This nation was built on belief in Almighty God – God’s providence and His sovereignty have long been acknowledged in our public life. (as evidenced in both Washington’s and Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamations, for example)
Dr. King referred repeatedly to “all God’s children” in his “I have a dream” speech, saying “when we allow freedom to ring, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing . . . Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” That’s how his speech ended on that August day in 1963.
But this was not the end of MLK’s legacy. It was rather a renewal of the truth that had given birth to this country in the first place. Truth – we are all God’s children. We are created equal in God’s eyes. And because we are all equally valuable to our Creator, we are all entitled to live free, all entitled to equal opportunities and equal protection under the law. In God’s eyes, all lives matter – poor lives, elderly lives, infirm lives, pre-born lives, handicapped lives, – not just the lives of the rich and powerful.
MLK left us a legacy of faith, freedom, justice, equality based on the truth that we are all God’s children, equally loved, equally valued and therefore entitled equally to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This has been our nation’s guiding principle from our founding. Although the implementation has been imperfect, the goal based on this truth (that we are made in God’s image and therefore each one has dignity and worth) has remained unchanged over time. Until now.
With the appearance of BLM in our country, a new way of thinking has been introduced into our culture. We have seen these initials painted on our cities’ streets and displayed on sports teams’ uniforms even as we have watched BLM rioters burn down businesses in minority and black neighborhoods. BLM’s actions are the opposite of what one would expect given their name – Black Lives Matter. This organization has devastated and destroyed neighborhoods and cities across our country in the name of – of what? Equality? They tore down, without building up. No lives were uplifted or made better. Many were lost and the very people they purported to care about were left with communities devoid of the businesses that had provided them jobs and places to shop for food, clothes etc.
BLM did not provide progress for anyone, except perhaps its founders, who bought expensive homes with the money they collected in BLM’s name. Simultaneously, we have seen CRT make its appearance in our schools. Coincidence? I think not. Both BLM and CRT have their origins in Marxism. This is significant because Marxism is an atheistic ideology. If there is no God, then human life has no value. This leaves the door open for any and all atrocities against mankind and against any group of people those in power at the moment deem not worthy to live or to partake in the current society.
Critical Race Theory teaches children that the color of their skin determines their identity (oppressor, victim, etc.) and their value. This is the opposite of what Dr. King stated in his speech when he said that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. CRT divides people into groups and pits them against one another. Dr. King said we are all God’s children. (one group – the human race) Dr. King did indeed have a dream. However, BLM and CRT don’t fit into that dream. Instead, they are instruments being used to replace that dream with one called utopia, in which man, not God is in charge.
We all see how well that worked out when Adam and Eve decided to do things their way in the garden. Freedom and peace have been elusive ever since. Still the pilgrims traveled across an ocean in pursuit of this dream, to be free to worship God and live by His principles. Nearly two centuries later, Dr. King would tell the world that he shared in that same dream and urge that it become a reality for all, not just for some. He wanted the check cashed. Not the bank burned down.
BLM and CRT want the bank burned down and everything with it. This was not Dr. King’s vision for our country. He acknowledged our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation and the truths they contain, as the foundation upon which our nation is built. If we take away the foundation, the country collapses. When we remove these self-evident truths, (such as all men are created by God and created equal) we have nothing left on which to stand. It is a slippery slope.
Without God and truth, there is nothing to support freedom, equality, justice, peace – all the things we want in our daily lives. But now we say “there is no truth.” We are like the people Paul talked about in Romans when he said,
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)
A country built on lies (propaganda) soon collapses or falls into communism. We are witnessing this process now as truth is under attack from groups such as BLM and from teachings such as CRT. Truth is necessary for freedom to flourish. Jesus said,
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
In observing MLK Day, I am reminded of Dr. King’s legacy and I take heart as I read again the words of his “I have a dream” speech. They are words of truth, full of hope for the future. We have come too far, too many have sacrificed too much, to allow BLM and CRT to tear down the dream of MLK – a dream of freedom, equality, justice and peace. We can yet be the nation Dr. King believed we could be. The self-evident truths of our founding documents will hold firm as our foundation if we do not abandon them.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
sincerely, Grace Day