“I have a Dream”. Honestly I think these are one of the most spoken, most recognized, most respected words of all time. Dr. King was a man of God, whose desire was to see his people free, and his religious beliefs safe to express. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man with a mission. As a minister and civil rights leader he tried to do things with nonviolence, love, and peace. We all recognize MLK day as a day to give space to the memories of a great man – a man like no other.
Of course we remember MLK day as we should but one of the national holidays we need to remember also is National Religious Freedom day. This day was proclaimed on January 16, 1993 due to the religious freedoms act in 1988 which was an amendment to promote religious freedoms as foreign policies which connects back to January 16, 1786 when the Virginia statutes for religious freedom was formed. This statue became the clause of the first amendment.
What is the first amendment of December 1791? Simply put it guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. This keeps the government from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. I think it is no accident that MLK day and the National Religious freedom day are back to back. In fact, the very last speech that MLK gave was in reference to the first amendment. MLK believed in that first amendment and believed that it was going to carry him, his followers, and Americans into freedoms far surpassing religious ones.
Today, what if MLK could look down upon us and see what we have done without religious freedoms. How we tear apart that foundation to make rules as we go, destroying what our forefathers and he himself fought so hard to put in order for us. We don’t fight other nations, we fight ourselves. Staying on just the topic of religious freedoms, the church has been given less and less prominence in our. Times are changing is the excuse often given. Times changing should not be an excuse for laws that men and women have literally given their lives to see come into action.
Everyone spends a lot of time saying how the world has changed and how our nation in particular has begun to suffer due to the fact that we can not agree on anything as a nation. How is it that people so long ago can agree that religion should be free for all that want to practice yet today we are still policing people and their religion. I’m not just talking about Buddhism or Islam, i’m talking about Christianity as well. This is not a new thing. Back a long time ago in the late 90’s our religious freedoms were beginning to be taken away. As a young Christian in high school we could not outwardly pray in the classroom. We in fact were given a choice to choose a late charge if we in fact wanted to do prayer at the pole, which made this a once or twice a month thing. I believe that MLK would be confused and upset at all the current day madness. All the hate he was fighting against only in a bigger, more aggressive way today – not only towards his people but to his religion. We are no longer as safe as we once were to even be part of a set religion. However, I have to wonder that if MLK were alive today he would tell us that if he knows one thing, denouncing your religious beliefs will not be the way. While we are here in a country where so many have fought hard to make a better place, my dream is that we all learn to live peacefully together. Respect each other’s religious freedoms and demonstrate it on a daily basis.
I am so grateful for the religious freedom we do have. I am proud to be a Christian and live under the light and love of my religion. I believe in the same Jesus MLK did and find my desires to be all the same desires of MLK. As he led in the 1960s with determination, peace, and respect for all, that is my prayer for today.