Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” – Reflections fifty years later.
Where you there?
Throughout the history of civilization, literally thousands of speeches have been given be they homilies, sermons, or political; promoting every imaginable position under the sun from religious persuasion or political position: However, few speeches have stirred us like the “I Have a Dream Speech. Dr. King inspired us, he humbled us and he convicted us.
The more important consideration is not where we all represented there but rather why did it take us so long as a people and a self-described Christian Nation to get there? That is the question worth pondering.
We are a great nation but a flawed people.
Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ inspired a generation of African Americans that they could overcome and excel to greatness. King also inspired others who experienced inequality. The Civil Rights Movement gave rise and momentum to women, people with disabilities and other ethnicities.
The molding of a leader and a movement. The dynamics of the Civil Rights Movement were deeply rooted in its faith traditions.
Emerging out of the Protestant Reformation to the foundations of the United States; Baptist have always been an outspoken people championing the cause of religious liberties. Ironically it was Thomas Jefferson who directly addressed this group in the famous letter to the Danbury Baptist Association; it is here we find the infamous phrase ‘separation of church and state’.
Dr. King directly challenged racial inequality to a nation founded on democracy, freedom and justice for all from the New Testament context and interpretation of the kingdom of God, present and future.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not a perfect man but rather a leader who through divine appointment was for this hour and this place. The principles of living out your faith in the public square, calling governments accountable for the injustice and the inhumane treatment of their people and ensuring the rights and liberties of its citizens were the precepts of King’s faith tradition. In other words, The Gospel unleashed!
Biblical Passages of Reference:
Micah 6: (NIV)
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.