Civil Rights Movement

A Little-Known MLK Sermon - "Rediscovering Lost Values"

Black History Month

An inspiring sermon America needs to hear,

"Rediscovering Lost Values" (1954)

The Rev. King, motivated by his Christian faith, stood, marched, and spoke to advance civil rights. While many people know about his "I Have a Dream..." speech, few have heard the inspiring sermon he delivered in Detroit in 1954 - "Rediscovering Lost Values."

His message, then, is just as relevant for America today:

"My friends, all I'm trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we've got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind. That's the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it. The only way we can do it is to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind."

  • For a more powerful experience, read the printed text while listening to Rev. King deliver his 1954 message by clicking here or watching below.

 
 

Six Years a Slave

Who was the first person to go on record against slavery? Here’s a little known fact that kids won’t learn in school (unless you change that): according to historian Thomas Cahill, the first person in history to write against slavery was Saint Patrick. Both his Christian faith and experience led him to do it.  Patrick was born in the 4th century to Christian parents who were Roman citizens in Briton. As a boy he was kidnapped and become a slave for six years in Ireland. He prayed daily that God would rescue him, and eventually he escaped and returned home. But he felt God calling him to return to Ireland with the Gospel. 

By the end of his life he had baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and established 300 churches. Within his lifetime, or shortly thereafter, the Irish slave trade ended – the result of a transformed people. St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, the day of his death) is the honoring of a Christian for his missionary work. Unfortunately, the true history of Patrick is seldom told in schools today. But, you can change that simply by telling the real story.

Resources:

Why "Under God" Must Remain in the Pledge of Allegiance

This Wednesday (Sept. 4), Massachusetts’ highest court will consider the constitutionality of having students recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The practice is being challenged by an anonymous atheist couple who object to the words “under God” in the Pledge. The clamor by some people about this acknowledgement of God stems from a misunderstanding of why the phrase is so important to the American concept of government. Here are five reasons why “under God” must remain in the Pledge of Allegiance:

1. Thomas Jefferson explained why being "one Nation under God" is important.  Thomas Jefferson and our other Founding Fathers understood that the government does not give us our freedom. Our freedom comes from God, and the government was established to protect that God-given freedom. That was their justification for the American Revolution as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundation on such principles…"

No king or emperor, no president or congress, no court or crowd gives us our rights. They come from God himself and are unalienable. And the Founders built America's "foundation on such principles."

2. Abraham Lincoln explained why being "one Nation under God" is important.

Abraham Lincoln understood that the nation's unity and freedom depended upon being one nation under God. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln used the exact phrase, "nation, under God," echoed in the Pledge of Allegiance. He began his address by referring to the Founding Fathers' foundation in God-given rights:

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

As Lincoln closes his remarks honoring the fallen soldiers at Gettysburg, he offered this inspiring vision:

"...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (emphasis added)

3. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained why being “one Nation under God” is important.

Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech reflects his ideals rooted in the Founders’ belief that our rights come from God. King relied on the Declaration of Independence’s reference to the Creator when he said:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

In every century of American history, arguably the most significant document or speech of that century references the rights of Americans being derived from our Creator: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence in the 18th century, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the 19th century, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech in the 20th century.

4. It doesn't matter that the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge in the 1950s.

Some people argue that "under God" was not in the original Pledge and was inserted over 50 years later. But, that only proves it took over 50 years to get it right!

5. The phrase "under God" does not make the Pledge a prayer.

Some people argue that "under God" is a form of prayer, and thus it is unconstitutional to have schoolchildren recite it. However, a careful reading of the Pledge of Allegiance reveals that we are not pledging allegiance to God. We are, instead, pledging allegiance to a republic. The Pledge describes the republic as one nation under God and indivisible. In other words, it is a statement of fact. It is a fact that our Founders established our government on the proposition that freedom comes from God, not the state.

As Jefferson, Lincoln, and King attest, the American people's freedom--the freedom of your neighbors, your co-workers, your children, and their teachers, are because we are one nation under God. Take that principle away, remove it from our national consciousness, and we will lose the very basis for the freedoms we so easily take for granted.

Thomas Jefferson warned of the dire consequences of forgetting this important principle. On the Jefferson memorial his warning is carved:

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

Lincoln said it well, "Now we are in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

In this war of ideas, people will not defend what they do not cherish, and they will not cherish what they do not understand.

MLK and Religious Freedom - Mark the Day

By Chuck Colson

What better way to honor Martin Luther King than to celebrate our religious freedom?

Monday, January 16, is Martin Luther King Day. Most schools recognize the day — as they should. But will they teach students about Dr. King’s Christian faith, which motivated and guided his campaign for civil rights?

During his Birmingham civil rights campaign, Dr. King required every participant to sign a pledge committing to do ten things. The first was to “meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.” Others included the expectation that all participants would “walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love;” and “pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.”

To read more of Chuck Colson's commentary, CLICK HERE.

Faith of Our Fathers (Part 3) Family Devotional

"I Tremble For My Country"

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, served in the Second Continental Congress, served as Secretary of State under George Washington, and as Vice President under John Adams. He was elected as our third and fourth President and served from 1801 to 1809.

 
Having national liberty means being free from undue or unjust government control. Thomas Jefferson recognized that people's liberties in a nation come from God who gave mankind a free will. He wrote that when we, as a nation, that our freedom comes from God, we begin abusing liberty and deprive others of liberty. In his 1784 book, Notes on Virginia, Jefferson wrote the following against slavery:
  
"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that they are of the gifts of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever..."
 
Bible verses to read:
 
"And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts." - Psalms 119:45
 
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits..." - Psalm 103:2
 
Discussion questions: 
  1. What does it mean for a nation to have liberty?
  2. What is an example of liberty that you have in your life?
  3. Why is it important that our liberties ultimately come from God rather than man?
  4. Look up the word "licentious" in the dictionary. How is it similar to liberty and how is it different?