On August 28, 1963, Dr Martin Luther King gave his “I have A Dream” speech, which is arguably one of the most famous speeches in American history. That day, the racially diverse, massive crowd at the Lincoln Memorial was drawn by the ‘presence’ and ‘belief’ of a ‘higher moral authority’ on human freedom. That authority can be discovered through a consideration of a few of Dr King’s statements that day:
1. “…a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation…” Of course, referring to President Abraham Lincoln.
2.“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence”
3.“…for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
4.“I still have dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
5.“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Taken from Isaiah 40:4,5, of the Bible.
These statements reveal three initial areas of authority:
1.Declaration of Independence (1774) and Constitution (1787)
2.Emanicpation Proclamation (1863)
First, through a bit of research, we find the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution have their roots in the Bible*. Second, after many intense personal internal and external conflicts throughout the year of 1862, in fulfillment of a promise to God, Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation at midnight of 1863. Third, Dr King quoted Isaiah 40:4,5 during the course of his speech. And finally, Dr King was a preacher of the gospel, whom God obviously raised up for “such a time as this” (Est4:14).
To the truth-seeker, it is crystal clear from just these four facts, that there exists an obvious providential trail, pointing to the handiwork of God. Therefore, we can technically reduce the above three areas of authority to one: the Word of God! In other words, the moral authority of the 1960’s Civil Rights movement, as lead by Dr Martin Luther King, was exclusively, and irrefutably a Holy Spirit inspired movement!
Furthermore, America’s call to freedom did not begin with Dr King’s 1960’s Civil Rights movement, but dates back to her founding! For this reason, Dr King appealed both to the American founders, and the Bible for his authority! Many facts attest to this great truth. For example, a witness of freedom from every President in American history! Our second president John Adams said, “…it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” The “religion” to which President Adams referred was not Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam…but Christianity!
Or, how about Abraham Lincoln who declared at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, 1861: "The Declaration of Independence gave liberty not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence... I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it."
Or, what about the Bible verse Leviticus 25:10 permanently engraved on the 1753 Liberty Bell:
“…and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
In conclusion, ‘American freedom’ was not only designed for Black people, or even only for Americans--but all peoples of the world! Why? All freedom originates in God’s love, and is a calling of God (Gal5:13 1Pet2:16, 2Cor3:17)…to all men!
Therefore, Dr King’s moral authority for ‘freedom’ originated not in some liberal humanist philosopher’s supposed ‘human rights’ declaration, but in the Bible, which declares: all men possess the image and likeness of God (Gen1:28); therefore, all men were created equal; therefore, all men are free! Hence, the 1960’s civil rights movement was Holy Spirit inspired!!
For this reason alone—All Lives Matter!
*See books: Defending the Declaration by Gary Amos; and Christianity and the Constitution by John Eidsmoe.
"Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose -- as he must until weakness is overcome -- the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.” -As A Man Thinketh