Vizcaya Debate 20 April 2015 as I go up against Rabbi Barry Silver on the age-old question: DOES GOD EXIST?
Check out this insightful evening that has many humorous moments.
RELATED ARTICLE: Time to Remove Satan from the Public Square
Vizcaya Debate 20 April 2015 as I go up against Rabbi Barry Silver on the age-old question: DOES GOD EXIST?
Check out this insightful evening that has many humorous moments.
RELATED ARTICLE: Time to Remove Satan from the Public Square
This past week end, I spent a lot of time outside working on my landscaping. The long, hard winter of 2014/2015 looks to be over. And I would just like to say thank you to Global Warming advocates who are still at a loss as to why this planets climate has not lived up to the desert like conditions promised.
I guess global warming equals record cold temperatures and record snow fall. Well if that is what global warming is, then I will jump on board because I love living in New England and I sure don’t want another Alaska type winter to befall us. Note the sarcasm. But I digress.
While working in my yard this past week end, I got to see some of what makes America great. The freedom of people to be who they want to be. I saw people walking in shorts and tank tops. Mind you, although it is warm, to me it is far from tank top weather.
I saw folks riding their motorcycles, big ones and small ones. Some had flags on the back.
Some were the noisy type. Some were the fast type. And some were the big, touring grandparent type. I saw folks taking their convertibles out for a week end joy ride probably for the first time this year. I saw and heard the younger set with all their windows down and music blaring. Yes, we can hear you a half mile away and you are going to kill your ears by playing music that loud. But at least in most communities, those young people have the freedom to play their music in their car as loud as they want.
And there it is. The freedom. I saw people enjoying their freedom. Nobody telling them they could not walk in a tank top yet. Nobody passing a law preventing motorcycles from being ridden at this time of year. No overreaching ordinances telling young people that in order to be legal others cannot hear your music outside of your car at all.
Now this part of the article is for all of my Liberal friends and haters out there. This is where I point out how hypocritical you are. Lets take gay rights for example. Now this is America. As some would say, ‘Murica. And this is the land of the free. Which, you on the left say, means that gays have the right to live as they please. They have a right to live in peace. They have a right to love who they please. They have the right to have a life just like a straight person. To which many other Americans would agree. But then you turn the tables on everyone else. You want laws dictating how others act and react around you. You wish to stifle or take away the freedom and rights of others just to fit your own selfish desires. You say you want to be free, but you want big government to dictate how we all live and interact with each other.
It would be like telling the person on the fast motorcycle that he is not allowed to go 65 mph on the highway while allowing cars to do that speed. In other words, you are not asking for freedom. You are asking for special privileges. Privileges in which the rest of the population is not able to avail themselves of. You are asking to separate the people in to classes and groups. Some classes and some groups get more freedom than others.
That kind of thought is straight out of the pages of the novel Animal Farm. In this novel there is a passage that says, “some animals are more equal than others” which means some animals are not equal at all.
This is the same thought process used to own and keep slaves. Blacks were not thought of as being equal to whites. Now gays want to say that straights are not equal to gays. And thus a straight person has no right to admonish gays in any way. However, when you ask the question of gays should they be forced to make a T-Shirt for a Muslim that says “gays are infidels and must die” the fast and quick answer is no way.
Well if you have the right to tell a straight person they must make you a t-shirt that says “being gay is fab” then the Muslim has the right to tell the gay person to make him a t-shirt of his choosing. But in order to get around this, gays would say that what the Muslim wants is hate speech. So you want to create a law that stops hate speech. Even though, in this country, the Muslim is free to say what he pleases just like you and I. But you wish to live your life of freedom by taking the rights of others away simply because you don’t like it.
This is not an issue with Muslims. I need to say it because some of you out there would point out Muslims should not have a right to say what they say. To which I reply with a query. Why? Sure I find a lot of what they say offensive. But does that give me the right to deny his free speech rights simply because I don’t agree or like his speech? Does this mean that gays should censor straights because they don’t like the fact that some straights don’t agree with homosexuality? Does it mean that we force the motorcycle to go only 55 instead of 65 because they are not wrapped in a steal cage?
Who decides who gets special rights and who gets their rights denied? The point is when you deny someone their rights, you are most likely starting down that slippery road process of denying your own rights. And frankly that makes us all less free. And less freedom has no place in ‘Murica.
Join The United West Israel tour as we explore the West Bank village of Jericho.
Jericho is under Palestinian Rule and they make it very clear that Jews and Israelis are not welcome. The hypocrisy here is the residents of Jericho own all the food and tourist shops right outside of Jericho on Israeli land. This is modern day Israel.
Area A (full civil and security control by the Palestinian Authority): circa 3% of the West Bank, exclusive East Jerusalem (first phase, 1995).
This area includes eight Palestinian cities and their surrounding areas (Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho and 80 percent of Hebron), with no Israeli settlements. Entry into this area is forbidden to all Israeli citizens.
The Israel Defense Forces occasionally enters the area to conduct raids to arrest suspected militants.
Commonly known as “the oldest city in the world,” Jericho is an important historical, cultural, and political center located northwest of the Dead Sea.
The city is perhaps best known from the Biblical story of a great victory over its Canaanite citizens by the Israelite leader Joshua. In the story, the walls of the heavily fortified city were destroyed with divine assistance during the year 1400 b.c. The site of ancient Jericho, known today as Tell es-Sultan, has been the focus of several archaeological excavations to investigate the Biblical story. The original settlement was built on a hill, or “tell”. The results of these excavations suggest that the walls of Tell es-Sultan have been built and rebuilt many times, due mainly to collapse caused by earthquakes, which are common in the region.
One of these events may be the basis for the story of Joshua.
Patriots, we did it! We raised over $840 grand expressing our love, support and solidarity with Memories Pizza – a Christian owned business temporarily closed down due to extreme harassment from the Left.
The Blaze TV host Dana Loesch came up with the idea of a fundraiser for Memories Pizza, targeted for destruction because of their beliefs in support of traditional marriage. National talk radio hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh picked up Dana’s baton and ran with it.
What struck me most about the initiative was the self-less unity. Conservatives of varying stripes came together to lift up a wounded brother (Memories Pizza) in the battle for liberty and freedom. In essence, conservatives across America said to Memories Pizza, “Hang in there bro, we got your back.” Awesome! This is how we win this battle for our freedom folks. This is how we push them back.
The fundraiser felt like a project of our national conservative family. I was excited about participating; eager to do my part. Mary does our on-line transactions. The moment she awoke, before she could pour her first cup of coffee, I asked her to go to the website and contribute. When she told me it was done, we felt great.
But folks, what really warmed my heart is the fact that we did it together. United we stand, divided we fall sounds cliche. However, it is so true. Look at the power we have when we work together.
“Its amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit” Harry S. Truman
Twenty years ago, I produced a similar feel good initiative. Working on a song in the recording studio late one night, a ten year old kid knocked on the door asking for money. Frank Starchak my music producer said the kid had bad parents and was on the road to becoming a juvenile delinquent.
That night, I dreamed of various singers and bands coming together, laying aside their egos to record “Amazing Grace” in their own style (musical genre). I sent out a clarion call to the Maryland music community. We recorded a unique version of the classic hymn. All proceeds from sales of the recording benefited a youth center run by a Catholic nun, Sister Bobby. Please give it a listen.
There is a verse in the Bible that says they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Clearly, the Left’s attack on Memories Pizza was an evil attempt to destroy the Christian owned business.
God used the Left’s attack to bless not just Memories Pizza, but give a must needed shot of feel-good inspiration in the arm of the Tea Party movement.
A patriot called a national talk radio show to say she and her husband plan to trek to Memories Pizza to celebrate their wedding anniversary. What a great idea.
Brother and sister patriots, together, we did it! United we stand, divided we fall.
I am often asked what I think of the Blood Moons theory, which is tied to religious leaders, notably John Hagee, who use a convoluted analysis of certain passages from the Bible to convince Christians that the Second Coming is imminent and will happen in their lifetimes, something that many Christians have believed since the days of Christ. Something that will be true, at least for a future generation.
Many pastors over the last centuries have preached that, based on this or that Biblical passage, Jesus must be coming during their lifetime, sparing Christians the pain of death in this or that generation. People looked to these religious leaders believing that they had a special gift of prophecy and staked all their hopes in their words, often putting aside their own plans for their future and for the future of their nations, even though there were serious issues that went unresolved as a result of their abandoning their earthly duties.
I want to point something out.
If you are a godly Christian with a thorough knowledge of Jesus’ teachings, you know that you don’t have to follow “godly men” and their interpretation of the scriptures. If you are not a godly person with such knowledge, then you are spiritually and intellectually incapable of properly identifying a godly person. You have no idea what that means and a man with a strong personality will mesmerize you like a mother mesmerizes a baby with a lullaby
I responded thusly to one of those who asked me about the Blood Moons theory.
There have been numerous blood moon tetrads since about the year 800 and none of them were accompanied by events more significant than other events in times of no blood moon tetrads.
I believe that God wrote the Bible for ordinary people and does not send signs that need to be interpreted with specialized knowledge and analysis. He knows that to give us such abstruse signs would put us in the hands of a few shrewd men claiming to have such knowledge and that they would exploit us for their own purposes, and worse, for Satan’s purposes, just as the Neocons exploit soft-headed Christians constantly for the purpose of supporting war by designating as leaders certain men who claim to be Christians and whose behavior suggests they are “godly” when in fact they are deceivers whose wars invariably redound to the deaths of Middle East Christians. It has happened over and over again and some Christians have never observed the obvious pattern of this deceit.
I grew up in a fundamentalist home and saw all sorts of pastors and evangelists pretending to know things that they did not and making dated predictions that did not materialize.
I remember one itinerant evangelist by the name of Oliver B. Green from Greenville, SC who preached in the 1950s.
He had a stentorian voice, like John Hagee, and mesmerized his audiences, who came to hear him in his big circus tent. He put on quite a show, always jumping onto the top of his pulpit and gesticulating wildly at least once during his sermon to make a point. He once said that some had complained about his acrobatics and warned that they might be considered blasphemous, but he said “this is my pulpit.” My dad said that was an arrogant thing so say and that since Green was using the pulpit for God’s work, it was God’s pulpit, not his.
Years later I saw a pamphlet in my parents’ bedroom titled: “Why Man will Never Reach the Moon” written by none other than Oliver B. Green. That was a few years before man did reach the moon.
Green’s arguments were all taken from the Bible and they proved beyond a doubt that man would never reach the moon.
At the time I found these arguments to be far fetched and yet I hated myself for doubting the truth as written by this godly man, whom I had been taught to honor.
Even after man reached the moon, taking that small step for a man, my parents never wavered in their faith in Oliver B. Green. He was still a man of God.
That is the mechanism by which we are misled.
Yet the stakes have never been higher. Our Christian brethren are dying throughout the Middle East thanks to the credulity of American Christians in particular, the one group these Middle Easterners are looking to for their salvation from the horrors and atrocities they face. It is high time for godly men to do their own thinking, and their own praying.
Let’s not be misled again, for God’s sake.
You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the deceit in this canard. You can be a person of any faith or no faith at all. You just have to appreciate facts.
I first heard something similar to this cliché some 40 years ago. As a Christian, I was puzzled. In Christ’s view, the most important decision a person would make in his earthly lifetime was to accept or reject Him for whom He claimed to be—God in the flesh and the savior of mankind. That decision was clearly to be a very personal one—an individual and voluntary choice. He constantly stressed inner, spiritual renewal as far more critical to well-being than material things. I wondered, “How could the same Christ advocate the use of force to take stuff from some and give it to others?” I just couldn’t imagine Him supporting a fine or a jail sentence for people who don’t want to fork over their money for food stamp programs.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Didn’t He answer, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’ when the Pharisees tried to trick Him into denouncing a Roman-imposed tax?” Yes indeed, He did say that. It’s found first in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 22, verses 15-22 and later in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12, verses 13-17. But notice that everything depends on just what did truly belong to Caesar and what didn’t, which is actually a rather powerful endorsement of property rights. Christ said nothing like “It belongs to Caesar if Caesar simply says it does, no matter how much he wants, how he gets it, or how he chooses to spend it.”
The fact is, one can scour the Scriptures with a fine-tooth comb and find nary a word from Christ that endorses the forcible redistribution of wealth by political authorities. None, period.
“But didn’t Christ say he came to uphold the law?” you ask. Yes, in Matthew 5: 17-20, he declares, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” In Luke 24: 44, He clarifies this when he says “…[A]ll things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” He was not saying, “Whatever laws the government passes, I’m all for.” He was speaking specifically of the Mosaic Law (primarily the Ten Commandments) and the prophecies of His own coming.
Consider the 8th of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not steal.” Note the period after the word “steal.” This admonition does not read, “You shall not steal unless the other guy has more than you do” or “You shall not steal unless you’re absolutely positive you can spend it better than the guy who earned it.” Nor does it say, “You shall not steal but it’s OK to hire someone else, like a politician, to do it for you.”
In case people were still tempted to steal, the 10th Commandment is aimed at nipping in the bud one of the principal motives for stealing (and for redistribution): “You shall not covet.” In other words, if it’s not yours, keep your fingers off of it.
In Luke 12: 13-15, Christ is confronted with a redistribution request. A man with a grievance approaches him and demands, “Master, speak to my brother and make him divide the inheritance with me.” The Son of God, the same man who wrought miraculous healings and calmed the waves, replies thusly: “Man, who made mea judge or divider over you? Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s wealth does not consist of the material abundance he possesses.” Wow! He could have equalized the wealth between two men with a wave of His hand but he chose to denounce envy instead.
“What about the story of the Good Samaritan? Doesn’t that make a case for government welfare programs, if not outright redistribution?” you inquire. The answer is an emphatic NO!” Consider the details of the story, as recorded in Luke 10: 29-37: A traveler comes upon a man at the side of a road. The man had been beaten and robbed and left half-dead. What did the traveler do? He helped the man himself, on the spot, with his own resources. He did not say, “Write a letter to the emperor” or “Go see your social worker” and walk on. If he had done that, he would more likely be known today as the “Good-for-nothing Samaritan,” if he was remembered at all.
What about the reference, in the Book of Acts, to the early Christians selling their worldly goods and sharing communally in the proceeds? That sounds like a progressive utopia. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that those early Christians did not sell everything they had and were not commanded or expected to do so. They continued to meet in their own private homes, for example. In his contributing chapter to the 2014 book, “For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty,” Art Lindsley of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics writes,
Again, in this passage from Acts, there is no mention of the state at all. These early believers contributed their goods freely, without coercion, voluntarily. Elsewhere in Scripture we see that Christians are even instructed to give in just this manner, freely, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). There is plenty of indication that private property rights were still in effect….
It may disappoint progressives to learn that Christ’s words and deeds repeatedly upheld such critically-important, capitalist virtues as contract, profit and private property. For example, consider His “Parable of the Talents” (see one of the recommended readings below). Of several men in the story, the one who takes his money and buries it is reprimanded while the one who invests and generates the largest return is applauded and rewarded.
Though not central to the story, good lessons in supply-and-demand as well as the sanctity of contract are apparent in Christ’s “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.” A landowner offers a wage to attract workers for a day of urgent work picking grapes. Near the end of the day, he realizes he has to quickly hire more and to get them, he offers for an hour of work what he previously had offered to pay the first workers for the whole day. When one of those who worked all day complained, the landowner answered, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
The well-known “Golden Rule” comes from the lips of Christ Himself, in Matthew 7:12. “So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” In Matthew 19:18, Christ says, “…love your neighbor as yourself.” Nowhere does He even remotely suggest that we should dislike a neighbor because of his wealth or seek to take that wealth from him. If you don’t want your property confiscated (and most people don’t, and wouldn’t need a thief in order to part with it anyway), then clearly you’re not supposed to confiscate somebody else’s.
Christian doctrine cautions against greed. So does present-day economist Thomas Sowell: “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.” Using the power of government to grab another person’s property isn’t exactly altruistic. Christ never even implied that accumulating wealth through peaceful commerce was in any way wrong; He simply implored people to not allow wealth to rule them or corrupt their character. That’s why His greatest apostle, Paul, didn’t say money was evil in the famous reference in 1 Timothy 6:10. Here’s what Paul actually said: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Indeed, progressives themselves have not selflessly abandoned money, for it is other people’s money, especially that of “the rich,” that they’re always clamoring for.
In Matthew 19:23, Christ says, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to get into the kingdom of heaven.” A progressive might say, “Eureka! There it is! He doesn’t like rich people” and then stretch the remark beyond recognition to justify just about any rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul scheme that comes down the pike. But this admonition is entirely consistent with everything else Christ says. It’s not a call to envy the rich, to take from the rich or to give “free” cell phones to the poor. It’s a call to character. It’s an observation that some people let their wealth rule them, rather than the other way around. It’s a warning about temptations (which come in many forms, not just material wealth). Haven’t we all noticed that among the rich, as is equally true among the poor, you have both good and bad people? Haven’t we all seen some rich celebrities corrupted by their fame and fortune, while others among the rich live perfectly upstanding lives? Haven’t we all seen some poor people who allow their poverty to demoralize and enervate them, while others among the poor view it as an incentive to improve?
In Christ’s teachings and in many other parts of the New Testament, Christians—indeed, all people—are advised to be of “generous spirit,” to care for one’s family, to help the poor, to assist widows and orphans, to exhibit kindness and to maintain the highest character. How all that gets translated into the dirty business of coercive, vote-buying, politically-driven redistribution schemes is a problem for prevaricators with agendas. It’s not a problem for scholars of what the Bible actually says and doesn’t say.
Search your conscience. Consider the evidence. Be mindful of facts. And ask yourself: “When it comes to helping the poor, would Christ prefer that you give your money freely to the Salvation Army or at gunpoint to the welfare department?
Christ was no dummy. He was not interested in the public professions of charitableness in which the legalistic and hypocritical Pharisees were fond of engaging. He dismissed their self-serving, cheap talk. He knew it was often insincere, rarely indicative of how they conducted their personal affairs, and always a dead-end with plenty of snares and delusions along the way. It would hardly make sense for him to champion the poor by supporting policies that undermine the process of wealth creation necessary to help them. In the final analysis, He would never endorse a scheme that doesn’t work and is rooted in envy or theft. In spite of the attempts of many modern-day progressives to make Him into Robin Hood, He was nothing of the sort.
Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.
EDITORS NOTE: The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government. See the index of the published chapters here. As an organization unaffiliated with any particular faith, FEE encourages other perspectives on such matters. Mr. Reed wishes readers to understand that his personal perspective is not intended to proselytize for any particular faith or church but to illuminate his interpretation of the moral and economic dimension of Christ.)
16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants–for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?” We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham’s mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene “Bull” Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.
You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.”
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle–have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as “dirty nigger-lovers.” Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful “action” antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: “Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.” In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?”
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather “nonviolently” in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”
I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?
If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.
I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
It has been said that sometimes things or situations are most bleak just before the end of the storm. If one looks at the world today it is easy to assume, either the windy gales of history will soon their velocity. Or we could soon be in for a heap of hurt. I choose to believe, that even during this dark age of decimated morality and the global economy leaning toward the brink of utter collapse, things will surprisingly recover. That will happen to the delight of those who desire true Liberty and Justice for all. To others who prefer secular humanism and progressive government control from cradle to grave disappointment shall be their lot in life.
One thing is for sure, the lunatic left always has a new answer for every time the question is asked, how low can you go? This time, the depravity of the left is highlighted in a recent article written by Matt Barber for CNSNews.com. In his enlightening column, Mr. Barber points out that anti-Christian and anti-man writer Valerie Tarico (who also hates women who either love or like men) that Christianity was going down. In a December 21st headline Tarico wrote “why is rape so intrinsic to religion?” she insanely asserts that “God raped Mary.” Barber also correctly pointed out how Tarico and I will add “the left in overall” will try and fool the public into believing they are against religion in general. But as per usual, if they communicate long enough, their singular focus of hatred toward the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be exposed to the fullest.
The feminist twit even had the raw nerve to suggest that the Biblical account of Christ’s conception “really roots all the way back to evolutionary biology, and men’s need to maximize their gene.” (Whew what a nut job) The mindless gibberish of individuals like Valerie Tarico are the result of a decades long mission to fundamentally change America from a Judeo/Christian Ethic oriented constitutionally limited republic into an anything but God loving Patriotic society.
Unfortunately, many have forgotten or never knew that the unalienable rights of the individual are far more important than the desires of the tyrannical imps who populate government. One of the things that I quickly noticed long ago was the blatant disregard and discrimination against Christianity. In addition there is liberal discrimination against anything that was inspired by or influenced by Christian principles such as the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Leftists like Tarico fully understand that America was founded on Christian underpinnings. It is most unfortunate that the left views personal liberty, property rights, opportunities for anyone to reach their God given potential, the right of self-protection, etc. as impediments to their goal of overseeing the destruction of this exceptional nation.
They will use anything or any useful idiot like Al Sharpton, to reach their goulish goal. The progressives have foolishly been allowed to dominate every aspect of society. Whether it’s government schools, the liberal church, the media, entertainment, influence on the family and business. From the looks of things, it seems as though the left has it all locked up in their deviant war on America. They are convinced that it is their right and duty to abolish God, prosperity, the pledge of allegiance, prayers at football games, American military prowess, legitimate authority, private property, a private sector medical industry, the keystone pipeline, and it goes on and on. Individuals like Valarie Tarico, who hate men because we simply exist are the premier practitioners of discrimination, prejudice and bigotry, that they pretend to be against. Worst of all, they even hate God and tell bald faced lies against him. But despite the blatant disregard for that which is good, by the liberal haters of the idea of a blessed United States of America, I am firmly convinced that the progressives will ultimately lose their stranglehold on our republic.
Those of you familiar with my syndicated radio commentary have for years heard me expressing my sincere belief that America will be renewed as the sweet land of liberty envisioned by the founding fathers. As “We the People” repent for allowing our republic to fall far from grace. Despite the fact that the collectivist left is basically on one accord in their effort to destroy our country, This nation will be reborn into greatness as we pursue and receive Providential guidance, just like those who sought the face of God and gained the wisdom and power to establish the greatest nation in the history of the world. May God bless America and May America bless God.
“If not for my faith, I would be barely human.” That was the answer English writer Evelyn Waugh gave when asked, as all Christians will be at some point, how he could call himself a Christian given his behavior. Often rhetorical, the question is sometimes a ploy used to gain leverage and discredit the target by painting him as a hypocrite or to discredit the faith through guilt by association. Yet it can also be sincere, and it is then, especially, that it warrants a response.
The first thing to note about those who honestly ask the question is that they must think very highly of Christianity; if they didn’t, they’d merely assume you were acting wholly in accordance with your faith. This is the only thing that would explain — again, when the question is sincere — the higher standard to which they hold Christians. Others may exhibit the frailties and character flaws plaguing man, but they never hear “Such licentious behavior! How can you lay claim to hedonism?!” or, upon a loss of temper, “You call yourself a communist?!” Yet this raises a question: If Christianity provides this superior model for life, why don’t these secularists embrace it?
Don’t ask me why I’m a terrible Christian. Maybe I’m just a lost soul. Virtues are caught more than taught; actions speak louder than words.
Walk the walk and show me how it’s done.
Otherwise, you’re simply a Monday-night quarterback condemning the players when your only accomplishment is creating a buttock-shaped impression in upholstery.
Yet certain secularists may honestly find many Christians lacking. One reason for this is simple:
Christians are lacking.
The second reason, which I’ll address right now, has to do with something called mirroring.
When secularists take the measure of Christians and find them wanting, they generally don’t apply the yardstick of Christianity. They often, in fact, don’t even know what it is. If they did, they would recognize that their glass house is hardly an edifice from which to hurl holy stones; these secular critics, after all, are generally people of libertine morality and loose mouths, and their creed may not extend far beyond “If it feels good, do it.” What they are applying in their judgment are their values. Their statement “You’re not a good Christian” is, logically translated, “You’re not a good secularist.”
When considering this, note that secularists don’t trouble much over most of the Seven Deadly Sins; they usually can’t even name them (and lust and envy are in style). Rather, what earns their reprobation is some sub-category of wrath, which they may identify as “hate,” “intolerance” (incorrectly understood) or as merely a fit of pique or perturbation. And being that serene water of life is the image they have of the holy man, who they’d never thus describe but might rather call “enlightened”; just think of Kung Fu’s Kwai Chang Caine.
Yet this is a secular ideal forged on a good dose of Hollywood entertainment and eastern mysticism. Jesus wept, forgave, healed, resurrected and rendered parables of divine perspicacity. But He also called people hypocrites, “a den of vipers,” said to the apostle Peter “Get behind me, Satan!” and turned over the tables in the temple. It should be emphasized that He who Christianity tells us was, paradoxically, fully God and fully man was fully man. Jesus was not some eastern TV monk with a bare head and bare personality; He experienced a range of human emotions, each one in the right moment and measure.
As for those merely fully human, it is entirely common to mirror, to ascribe your own values and understanding of matters to others. This is why modern films may portray Jesus as if He were a flower child, just as, at the spectrum’s other end, movies about Adolf Hitler often portray him as a gruff, raving lunatic. Lost on these secular artists is that Hitler was known for personal charm, and Jesus could chastise. The Devil doesn’t appear with a pitchfork and horns and the holy don’t always sport visible halos; the demagogue tells you what you want to hear, the deific what you need to know. But it is a sad fact of man’s nature that people are more tolerant of clever lies than harshly spoken truths.
The point? It seldom occurs to these secularists that God’s dictates may be far different from their values (mostly because they don’t believe in God). In fact, were they close to such understanding, they wouldn’t even call their values “values.” God does not have values — He prescribes virtues.
Yet where the secularists are right is in that Christians do not thoroughly follow that prescription. This is not, however, an indictment of either faith or followers. Secularists’ criticism of Christians always amounts to, in so many words, “You’re really a bunch of sinners!” This is rather comical considering that Christianity teaches we’re all a bunch of sinners, with its holy book telling us “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Eastern mysticism may concern “finding the god in you”; Christianity is about accepting that you’re not God.
Delving deeper, Christians “may” not walk their walk as well as secularists walk theirs. But to condemn the Christian for this is much like saying that the man who never stumbles when playing the toddler’s game of putting geometrically shaped pegs in the appropriate holes is superior to the professional golfer who sometimes stumbles on the course. And to condemn Christianity for its adherents’ deficiencies would be like saying that ideal golf swing production is not an ideal because no one can ever and always live up to it.
What would indict Christianity?
If people could live up to it.
Then it could not be the Truth.
For how could someone ever conform to perfection?
So ironically, if you can truly live up to your faith, it’s not a faith worth living up to. Thus is the Christian a bit like the devoted golfer: He strives for the ideal of never making a mistake while knowing he can never achieve it.
In contrast, secularists are, in a sense, still playing with their pegs and holes of values. Although it certainly appears that they at least match Christians in failure to live up to what they profess, even if they didn’t, would it be anything about which to boast?
The issue is that their values pegs and holes really are theirs. That is to say, someone who believes in Absolute Truth (God’s will) will use it as his yardstick when seeking an answer to a moral question. But what if someone is an atheist (or simply a relativistic person of “faith”) and doesn’t believe in anything outside of and above man that determines right and wrong, doesn’t believe in Truth? He will then take Protagoras’ view that “man is the measure of all things,” and it then follows that there is no “morality” — only man’s preferences for behavior. This should inform as to what his yardstick for behavior will be.
“Reason” is not the answer because reason is not an answer; it is a method by which answers can be found. Thus, if there is no Moral Truth, there are no answers to be found in the arena of conduct and hence no reason for reason. So blind to Truth and having obviated the reason that could discern it, the average secularist has only one logical yardstick to use: emotion. “If it feels good, do it” — everything then boils down to occultist Aleister Crowley’s maxim “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
Why is this relevant here? Because the average secularist will often have values that, being emotion-born, are simply a reflection of himself, of his likes and dislikes, passions and prejudices. So how, then, could consistency in application of preferences be a legitimate source of pride? How could you be out of conformity with yourself? A yardstick never fails at being three feet long.
In reality, secularists still do manage contradiction. But why shouldn’t they? In a relativistic universe, consistency is no better than hypocrisy, a lie no worse than Truth. And even when hearts are in the right place, being governed by feelings can’t yield consistency because emotion changes with the wind. Secularists would be their own measuring stick, one that can always judge them sinless because they are always the length they are — whatever that happens to be at the moment.
Of course, there are secularists who may, in absolute terms, be better people than a given Christian. But this just returns us to Evelyn Waugh’s sage admission. What are the person’s moral proclivities? We wouldn’t dismiss ideal golf instruction because an untalented, all-thumbs duffer who received it wasn’t as good as a natural who got the Devil’s guidance. And a wise person respects those who make the most of their relatively limited potential, moral or otherwise, more than one blessed with the most ethereal talents but who buries them in the ground. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” Perhaps that “bad Christian” is just a far worse person with a far better faith. And if you can’t thank God, perhaps you should thank your lucky stars for it. It could be the reason why he just yelled at you and didn’t put you in a gulag, burn you in a pyre or chop your head off.
Only He can do the Solar Eclipse and Passover Blood Moon.
The unique timing of a solar and lunar eclipse to mark the beginning of the biblical year in the spring is an omen of when He did so in Egypt when judgment fell as Israel put blood on their doorpost two weeks later at Passover. This spring’s Passover will see a “blood moon”–a token of judgment?
Wasn’t it God who said, “The sun shall be darkened and the moon turned into blood before…the day of the Lord,” Joel 2:31. It will happen this spring!
Furthermore, the solar eclipse on March 20 and a “blood moon” two weeks later on Passover supports this year as a unique parallel to Exodus 12:2 when God indicated the beginning of the biblical year and two weeks later, Israel put blood on their doorposts for Passover, verse 7.
And what is Passover? It’s a time of judgment. God said then, “I will execute judgment,” Exodus 12:12. Will He do it for America?
Billy Graham said, If God waits much longer, He will have to apologize to Sodom. Many cultures have a problem with homosexuality, but Sodom “paraded” it, Isaiah 3:9, NIV. Welcome to the US where gay parades flaunt sin as Sodom did.
When asked about the sins of “the end of the world,” Christ said to “learn a parable of the fig tree,” Matthew 24:32. A day or so earlier He had cursed a fig tree that offered promise of fruit because of its many leaves and the nature of the tree in that locality, but it, like the Jewish nation then, was fruitless with empty promises.
Can we see any parallel to America today? Given great light and a Constitution like the 10 Commandments that favors self-government so there is little need for others to tell us what to do. But preachers failed America as they depreciated the 10 Commandments as the works of the law that do not save us.
It’s true that we can’t earn salvation by keeping the 10 Commandments, but as a standard to live by, we need them and we need government to support them, but we have a “Supreme Court” that favors opposing principles destined for the take-down of America.
The majority of the Supreme Court justices are Catholic and the majority of congress is catholic (little “c”–not Roman Catholic, but universal—go along to get along, with no stand except for political gain.) And how we got a Muslim bisexual in the White House with a fabricated birth certificate is amazing.
Just as Christ gave a sign of the times by cursing a fruitless fig tree and the next day it was withered, we are about to see a rapid withering of America with an onset of judgment. Many have predicted it, including Billy Graham, but it has to have biblical timing.
Harold Camping was probably right with his idea of http://MayJudgmentDay.com but wrong to connect his May date to a rapture and he didn’t have the advantage of the unique timing for the solar and lunar eclipses that will mark this spring.
EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Richard Ruhling offers a dozen parallels of the US to Egypt, that received the plagues of God’s judgments, in his ebook, Exodus 2, available as a gift on Saturday, January 3 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EN63UR2 He also offers The Fall of America free January 3 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1V2I84 (both 99 cents regular price)
As Jews celebrate Hanukkah and Christians do Christmas, most people look for a day off or hope to benefit commercially from this time that’s meaningless to millions of others. What’s the point? Is it all vanity as Solomon said?
Religion is gratitude if we are doing it right. If we don’t see that we came into the world naked and that 99% of everything we have was given to us, we are on an ego trip that won’t last. Even “self-made millionaires” were given 99% of what they have—this included mental abilities to think, plan and do. And if they lived well, their prosperity came from laws they didn’t invent in a world they didn’t create.
This season is honored by religious people because God is the real Giver. In the book of beginnings, Abraham says, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” Genesis 22:8. It’s God who pays the price for man’s reconciliation and it’s so huge that it makes no sense to the business world.
The Bible offers further explanation in Isaiah 53:3-7 with a concept that’s unbelievable, except the Bible puts a premium on belief or faith. We live can life better and enjoy it more if we believe the Bible, that God loves us and that He has a wonderful plan for us.
After all, the Bible says we’re made in His image (Genesis 1), and He has made every provision necessary for this life and what’s beyond. Wouldn’t that be worth discovering? Thanksgiving may be the most religious of our holidays.
Dr. Hans Selye, father of the modern stress theory, reminds us that gratitude is the most healing of all emotions. That being so, what we do from a motive of gratitude for what God had done, what He is doing and what He promises to do for us is what He appreciates.
How we express our appreciation may be seen in how we treat others. Christ said how we treat others is how we treat Him, Matthew 25:40.
Efforts to earn a better destiny by “good works” that we think are as good as the next fellow, tends to create merit in our eyes, but that’s meaningless with God who paid the ultimate price for our destiny.
If this life were all there is, it might not seem to matter so much as we compare our 70 or 75 years with someone else, but if the Bible is true, a choice not to believe is cutting ourselves short of what’s beyond. And those who are familiar with the Bible seem to have an advantage when it comes to believing.
EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Ruhling offers his latest ebook “Our High Destiny Discovered in the Bible’s 7 Wedding Messages” as a free gift Saturday, December 20 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QJ7Z7Z6 His website offers a holistic book on health & happiness that has been appreciated by millions under different titles. The featured image is courtesy of Reddit and The Gloss.
Keith Flaugh and the Founding Directors of the Florida Citizen Alliance posted this video done one year ago.
I ask you to take 6.5 minutes and watch what my friend Pastor J.C. “Chris” Hall said to a crowd of fellow believers in Washington DC. This was a year ago. Think about how much further we have fallen down the “slippery slope” in this past year!
Religion played a major role in the American Revolution- Pastors gave an assurance to the average American that standing against a tyrannical, oppressive government was justified in the sight of God. We may not yet be at that same cross roads today, but there is no denying that we are on “the Slippery Slope” with a stampeding Federal Government that is trampling individual rights of its citizens.
Founding Father John Adams identified Pastor Mayhew and this sermon “Resistance to Tyranny as a Christian Duty”-one of the most influential in American history–on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In it, he explored the idea that Christians were obliged to suffer under an oppressive ruler, as some Anglicans argued. Mayhew asserted that resistance to a tyrant was a “glorious” Christian duty. In offering moral sanction for political and military resistance, Mayhew anticipated the position that most ministers took during the conflict with Britain.
The United States, as a beacon of liberty and freedom, would never have existed without God and the critical role pastors played in our Founding. Today, our very nation and Christian way of life is in the balance. It is now up to you “our pastors and fellow believers” to lead us back to God’s gift.
Does it matter? Or dare we ask? Why do some “scientists” become irate when they can’t answer simple questions? Why don’t we just admit that evolution is theory that offers their view of some facts, while other scientists also have evidence for their view? A growing number of scientists have faith in the Designer of all that we can see, like the beauty of a sunset, or hear, like the song of a bird, or enjoy the food we eat.
An award-winning website offering abundant scientific support for Creation is at http://pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/creation-encyclopediaTOC.html. Another website offering excellent support for instantaneous Creation is at http://Halos.com.
A philosopher once said that religion is gratitude. Why not give it back to the Source and live like we appreciate what we’ve been given? The first page of the Bible helps us appreciate God as the Source, and He even invented sex! These are just a few starters for us to want to know Him better. And no, the #1 best-seller of all times is not fiction or myth–the greatest Person in history (His Story) that divided BC from AD also quoted from Genesis.
EDITORS NOTE: One of Dr. Ruhling’s websites is at http://ChooseABetterDestiny.com and he believes we have a far higher destiny that if we came from germs, mollusks and apes, but first we must endure the Fall of America…http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1V2I84
There is a student lead high-school campus coalition that is bringing God back to public school campuses across the United States. It is a living, breathing adventure. A real life adventure as explained by Jean Carlos Diaz in the below video.
Watch Jean Carlos Diaz explain this movement, a grand adventure:
A coalition of youth pastor networks and students forged a movement that is touching high school campuses across the nation. It started with a freshman at Blaine High School in Minnesota in January 2011. Jean Carlos Diaz, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Iowa then Minnesota is the catalyst that Jean Carlos used to start the movement. Jean Carlos attended See You at the Pole at his high school. That led him to a Bible study of 25 students that dwindled to 6 by year end. When the leaders graduated, he was asked to lead what was left of the group. Shortly after that the group went on a missions trip to Kansas City. They were fired up, sad to leave and came home with a heart to impact their school. So they had a sleepover with three guys where they worshipped, prayed and dreamt all night. They wanted to pray something big, so they prayed, “Jesus, would You finish the Great Commission in our generation?”
At the same time they were praying for the Lord to use them on their campus, a network of youth ministers called Allies Ministries, led by Dan Buschow in Minneapolis, were praying for the youth of Minnesota. They sensed that the Lord wanted them to keep praying and not initiate anything.
God was doing the initiating through Jean Carlos. From the very beginning, everything was student-led and student-driven. It was a movement for students by students. We had learned from our mistakes and were able to teach and train other students. Since we were only teenagers in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of the church, God was the only one who could get the credit. We didn’t want to be a class about God; we wanted to be an agent of change in our school. We changed our focus, our name and started the first Catalyst.
As youth pastors prayed and waited, students stepped up and led. Shortly after that, a coalition between Catalyst and Allies Ministries, other shepherds and caring adults was formed. The first year Catalyst grew from 1 school to over 15 and from 30 students to over 500. Catalyst has now grown to over 50 groups and is spreading past Minnesota to 20 in Iowa and to Illinois, New York, Maryland, Arizona, California and Texas.
I salute Carrie Underwood for her new song “Something in the Water” and her response to the atheists who are trying to get it banned! The only way to stop a bully is to stand-your-ground. Carrie is a shining example of that.
Here is Carrie Underwood singing “Something in the Water” with lyrics.