Today we set aside to recognize the contributions of a man to the cause of equality. A recognition of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to non-violent protest, equality, and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
An ordained Baptist minister, you can see the inspiration he drew from the commands to love the Lord your God above all, to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love your enemies. His call for non-violence from Jesus' instruction to turn the other cheek.
He serves as a reminder to us that we are all derived from one creator; that there is "neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." We could add to that list that there is neither black nor white.
And he reminds us that our founding documents declare that "all men are created equal" and it is our job to hold our country to that truth.
"All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on."
Since 1994, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has been recognized as a day for service. The only federal holiday to be a day on, not a day off, reflecting our responsibility to each other. May we remember the call to action. And refuse to be silent about the things that matter.