Monday, October 27, 2008

I Have a Dream

I remember when John Kennedy ran for President. Some Protestant folks were adamant: “If a Catholic becomes President, the Pope will run the country.”

Yesterday, on radio, I heard a lovely, elderly white woman say, “If a Black man becomes President, …”

I’ll let you fill in the blank. What she said was irrational and deeply troubling. She wasn’t proud of it – that was obvious - but there it was – this incredibly ugly thought.

I write as a Christian, a man of faith, who knows the power of deep-seated ideologies – like anti-Catholicism, or any of the various forms of racism and prejudice that mar our character.

None of it makes any sense, but somehow or other, our minds, our souls, are capable of harboring the senseless, and believing it to be true.

Our great nation is broad-minded and generous – we are America the Land of the Free … our Statue of Liberty stands witness to a universal welcome – that in this great Republic, every human being can find a home and a future, regardless of race, creed or color.

This is what makes America great.

I end with some lines from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his “I Have a Dream” speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.


And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

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