This year marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic I Have a Dream Speech my uncle, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so famously delivered in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
As he spoke out to crowds hundreds of thousands strong, all hopeful Americans eager to see the fulfillment of America’s promise of equal rights, he laid out his vision: “I have a dream 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.”
Uncle M.L.’s words spoke then and speak now to the very important point that America’s ideals and founding values are not the enemies of equality and opportunity. Rather, they are noble principles deeply rooted in our individual and national character, and it’s up to the brave men and women in every day and every age to live them out.
He also wrote a book in 1967 to share his vision for the future of America and centered on the theme of hope. It was the last book he ever published, titled “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” In this text, Rev. King said:
“Let us be dissatisfied until men will recognize that out of ONE BLOOD God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout ‘white power,’ when nobody will shout ‘black power,’ but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.”
In Rev. King’s mind, human beings should not be divided by skin color. Based upon scientific facts and the biblical foundation of a one blood/one human race in Acts 17:26, all talk of the various “races” of people was foreign to him.
Instead, he understood that we are the one-blood human race, made by the hand of God, all in His own image and likeness. As Christians, the Dream should include seeking abundant living for ourselves, while serving others – from the womb to the tomb and beyond.
Reconciliation to this reality is connected to the work we do at the America First Policy Institute, where I serve as chair for the Center for the American Dream. Our goal with the center is to expand our outreach to all Americans, including those groups conservatives have yet to reach appreciably in great numbers.
In the 1950s, Rev. King and evangelist Billy Graham made an unprecedented decision to move ahead of the tide and embrace genuine reconciliation.
At that time in history, church services were governed by a distinction of separation by skin color. In other words, the socially engineered erroneous concept of separate human races supported segregation of corporate worship according to the division of separate races and skin color. How confusing.
Graham and King defied the norm and shared a ministerial prayer on a platform in Madison Square Garden in 1957. The rest is history.
This historic event is just one example of evidence that MLK’s dream is not something set apart from the American Dream but a vision for all people deeply rooted in the promises that make up America.
Increasingly, this vision is under attack – most especially by the political figures that would pretend to be the first to stand up for minority groups. Rather than championing the values of liberty, justice and equality that can unite us as the one-blood human race, America’s voices of division seek to divide and categorize us along every available fault line and pit us against each other.
We see this in every aspect of society, from critical race theory and gender ideology in our classrooms to BLM riots in our streets to the unprecedented hijacking and political manipulation in our legal system.
Evidence of the dire state of affairs can be found in an open letter I recently penned with numerous other faith leaders in America summed things up well:
“We are in a cultural revolution against God and country; one determined to normalize the things of darkness and to replace God from our nation at all costs. The counter cancel culture revolution’s agenda is fueled by sin. We have come together across denominations and faiths to declare we will not be silent.”
As Christ taught us, and as my uncle knew all too well, evil will always be around, even to the end of time. Today, that evil looks like the hate and division we see on our TV screens and social media pages every single day.
But as godly Americans with hearts filled with jubilee, we can reunite around Rev. King’s vision, which he shared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 60 years ago:
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, Black men as well as White men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Rev. King had a deep appreciation for American values, and during his time, he longed for people to reject the divisive voices telling them that America was the enemy. We face those same voices today, and they have only been magnified.
But as believers, we know that we as a people can unite once again around Christ’s love and the noble vision of true equality America promises us all. Then, and only then, can we return to a nation that cherishes all life in the one-blood human race equally.