Wednesday, August 28, 2013


   Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his momentous, "I Have a Dream," speech.  His theme was freedom.  The genius of his speech was that he was talking about freedom, not just for his own African American people but for all Americans, and indeed for all peoples around the world.

   He saw deeply, down to the soul of every individual person, every community and every nation.  He saw that injustice against one person or one community or one nation is injustice against all.  He saw that until everyone enjoys the freedom and opportunity to grow and evolve beyond their present self to an ever new self in new freedom and opportunity, then no one enjoys any real freedom.

   His speech is famous, remembered and commemorated because he was not just talking about politics, economics and social justice, he was speaking about people--about their deepest longing and deepest meaning.  And he was speaking about God and God's loving will for all people.  In sum, he was speaking spirituality.

   Dr. King's spirituality gave him the insight and courage to go deep into the question of injustice, to go where it was dangerous to go, to go where--and only where--true justice and true freedom live.  And in going deep, he stirred the imagination, intentions and commitment of countless Americans who have worked and are working for the common good of all our people, for opportunity for decent jobs with living wages, for health care for all, for good schools, safe neighborhoods and good government.

   But he also stirred the fears, anger and even hatred of shallow people.  One of these shallow people assassinated him; the rest have obstructed his dream.  And today, the obstruction has reached frightening proportions.  The divisions and injustices that mark our culture, energized as they are by fear, anger and hatred, are being carried out within a new and bitter context, that of conscious lying about simple facts, e.g., we must have voter ID because voter fraud exists even though it has not been experienced, to cold indifference by those who maximize profits to the detriment of their employees and the environment, those who prey on the fears, anger and hatred of the shallow for their own careers and profit, and those who cannot see a transcendent social unity that we should be striving to attain. 

   Our spirituality moves us to see deeply--all the way to the presence of God in ourselves and in all peoples and institutions in today's world--and to respond to God at the deepest human level, where we can reach out in justice, to give everyone their due respect and dignity; in peace, to help others become who they are in the sight of God; and in compassion and charity, to help others even at a cost to ourselves.  Dr. King's dream should be our dream.  The responsibility to help his dream come fully true is definitely ours because in the end, Dr. King's dream is God's dream for all of us. 


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