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January 20, 2023

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday and throughout the week, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. We honor Dr. King in part because he recognized that despite the original national sin of slavery, America is a fundamentally decent country that has brought hope, liberty and prosperity to millions of people.

It was a powerful argument. Most black Americans believed in America and our founding documents as much as white Americans. King and other civil rights leaders merely wanted black Americans to be included in the promises of the Declaration of Independence. He did not attack our founding fathers, he embraced them. Dr. King, who was after all Reverend King, loved God and loved America.

King correctly said that skin color should not determine our place in society. He did not ask for a racially separated nation. He wanted a country where race was seen as a difference that did not matter. He famously dreamt of a time when all of us would not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.

Sadly, so-called "progressives" today insist that America is inherently evil and that skin color is the only thing that matters. Reverend Martin Luther King would be saddened by how his message has been abandoned.

Dr. King's Christian faith informed and defined everything he said and fought for in the civil rights movement. As a Christian pastor, King knew that the power of the Declaration of Independence came from its simple, but revolutionary truth that our rights come not from any government but from the God of the Bible. Our worth and dignity are not based on the color of our skin but on the fact that we were all made in the image and likeness of God.

This truth helps explain why, sadly, as America moves further away from God, secular leftists and socialists are moving further away from Martin Luther King's message of hope and true equality. We cannot vanquish the sin of racism as well as the other searing problems in our society—family breakdown, increasing crime, growing government corruption, drug abuse, threats to liberty—unless Christians step up and confront America's problems. This is exactly the moment when we should be increasing our presence in the public square and rejecting the false counsel that tells us politics and government are not worthy of our attention.

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