I have posted parts of this article in the past and it seems every time I mention Martin Luther King, someone always points out his “faults” (eg. his name wasn’t really Martin, he plagiarized speeches, he supported big government, etc). People get so caught up in attacking the person, they lose sight of the meaning of the words he said.
In 1968 a man stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
King did not say, he dreamed of world where people were given special treatment because of their dark complexion and because their ancestors may have been mistreated. He did not say he dreamed of a world where a government used force to make people live, work & go to school together. Instead King said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Nothing in that statement implies or endorses government force.
During the 2008 election the media spent a lot of time talking about Barack Obama’s skin color. You may recall hearing the media ask “Is America ready for a black President?” (A Google search of the phrase shows 171,000 results) Even after the election when people started protesting government spending (actually the protest began during the Bush administration, though picked up steam after Obama’s election) the media tried to say the protest were about Obama’s skin color.
Looking back at the words of Dr. King, I wonder when people will ever be judged based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. What would Dr. King think about this nation 4 decades later? It seems we live in a world similar to Animal Farm where “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
We should also remember that King practiced nonviolent civil disobedience and while sitting in the Birmingham Jail in 1963 wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action… One may want to ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.”