King’s message a ‘Dream’ deferred
The March for Freedom and Job Opportunity that took place in Washington D.C. 50 years ago was a first of its kind in our country. One hundred thousand people, three-fourths of them people of color and a quarter of them white, created a proud moment in our history. Those who gathered stood up to oppression and injustice and were encouraged to participate by many churches and synagogues. The march was successful and deserves a monumental place in American history.This event, being commemorated in 2013, is more than a powerful speech by a charismatic leader. It is another clear call that economic injustice and oppression are still problems in our country. Voting rights are being rolled back, racial divisions are being re-stoked, education poorly funded for some segments of society, unions suppressed and economic disparity growing. Again, attendance at the event was marvelous! But will it generate needed change as it did 50 years ago in which communities and churches, synagogues and mosques make their voices heard?
“I Have A Dream,” a prophetic speech by Dr. Martin Luther King could easily be identified with the Jewish prophets of old and with the teachings of Jesus. All of these prophets reveal God’s presence among us when we act justly. All of these prophetic voices tell us that God dwells in the very lives of those who love others.
Unfortunately, the image of God as “loving kindness” is often replaced by
false gods which claim that poverty is your fault. Economic injustice is due to a free market. A poor education and a lack of opportunity can be attributed to your lack of ambition.
Handouts which religious and civic groups often sponsor have some merit, but hardly replace biblical justice. Those who claim that God is the creator of all good things can hardly be heard or believed from the lips of those who tolerate the noise of abuse, violence and injustice, nor within the silence of others who stand idly by.
Virginia Lynch Graf