On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., after being maligned and jailed, stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declared to the massive crowd below:
"I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream." —Dr. King's dream for America
The "American dream" to which Dr. King referred was the dream of those first immigrants to this land who came here seeking individual and religious liberty. The dream to which he referred is the dream spelled out in our Pledge of Allegiance, which says, "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The "American dream" to which Dr, King referred was the dream articulated by America's founders in the Declaration of Independence, where they declared:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
In his compelling "I Have a Dream" speech that he delivered that day, Dr. King challenged America, not to dispense with this American dream, but to live up to it. He said:
"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable rights' of 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'"
Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'" (Hyatt, 1726: The Year That Defined America, 122).
The War on Dr. King's Dream
It is sad to say, but many in America have rejected Dr. King's American dream. Marxist professors in America's colleges and universities have outright rejected Dr. King's dream and replaced it with anti-American Marxist ideology, purporting that America is evil and racist at its very core and in need of fundamental, revolutionary change.
This Marxist mindset has been on stark display this past week in the anarchy and violence that erupted throughout America following the tragic death of George Floyd.
Like millions of others, I was horrified and angered watching the video of the policeman kneeling with his knee pressing on the neck of George Floyd, failing to respond to his pleas and continuing even after Floyd became unconscious. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Many, in the spirit of Dr. King, went to the streets to peacefully protest this senseless killing of another black man. However, their numbers were soon overwhelmed by those of another mindset. Make no mistake! The burning, looting and anarchy that erupted was not in the spirit of Dr. King. It is in the spirit of Marx, Mao, Pol Pot and Lenin.
Attorney General William Barr confirmed this, saying that it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven "by anarchistic and far-left extremists, using antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence."
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik estimated that 80-85% of the protesters in Minneapolis who burned and looted were bused in from outside. Kerik says they are Marxist anarchists, probably underwritten by people like George Soros. They have no interest in George Floyd except as an excuse to create chaos and disorder in their goal of destroying the American dream that Dr. King embraced.
Dr. King understood the dangers posed by Marxist ideology and would not allow communists to participate in the March on Washington where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. He knew that in America, with all its imperfections, there was a transcendent moral law and standard to which he could call the masses; but in atheistic Marxism there is no higher moral law than what the state decides is right or wrong at a particular time.
Dr. King's Christian Orientation
Based on the teachings and example of Jesus, Dr. King, who was a devout Christian and ordained minister, led a confrontational but nonviolent, peaceful protest against racial injustice in the American system. He appealed to the dream of America's founders, and his approach was powerful and effective.
His efforts changed the racial landscape in America. Even the arch-segregationist, George Wallace, before he died, confessed Christ and repented with tears of his segregationist ideology. Dr. King's example, without doubt. was instrumental in his transformation.
Dr. King understood that America's colorblind founding documents were products of America's Christian origins. He made this clear when, in this same amazing speech, he declared that he had a dream that one day all Americans—whether white or black—would be able to sing together the words of that Christian, patriotic hymn:
My country 'tis of Thee/ Sweet land of liberty/ of Thee I sing
Land where my fathers died/ Land of the Pilgrims' pride/ From every mountainside/ Let freedom ring!
There Is Hope
Dr. King would be astounded at the progress made in race relations since he gave this speech in 1963. He would be amazed that a black woman is mayor of his hometown of Atlanta. He would be astounded that black public servants have served in the highest echelons of the American government, including attorney general, secretary of state, national security adviser, surgeon general and secretary of HUD. He would be astonished to know that a black man has been elected president of the United States, not once, but twice.
More progress can be made, but we cannot afford to follow the Marxist, progressive voices promising a utopian equality. Their voices are like the beautiful siren songs of Greek mythology, and everyone who follows their songs will crash on the rocks of false hopes and unfulfilled promises.
On the other hand, if American Christians—black, brown, red and white—will follow Dr. King and articulate the dream of America's founders, we could see an awakening that would transform this nation once again. "But what about slavery?" some will ask. "Did it not define America forever?"
It would have had it not been for 1726, the year a great spiritual awakening began and transformed Colonial America. This Great Awakening impacted people of all races and classes, both slave and free. A great anti-slavery movement arose out of this awakening that eventually led to the elimination of slavery on the American continent (see my book, 1726: The Year That Defined America).
Let us, therefore, articulate the American dream and pray that God will visit our land with another Great Awakening. This is our best hope of preserving the America of Washington, Jefferson, Tubman, Douglass, Lincoln and King. It is also our best hope of seeing our land healed and Dr. King's American dream being more fully realized in our lifetime.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at eddiehyatt.com. This book documents how the Great Awakening (1726-1770) had a direct bearing on the founding of the United States of America and unleashed the moral and spiritual forces that led to the elimination of slavery on the American continent.
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