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MLK: Bus boycott's foundation was the Christian religion

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the nation - and the world observes the 50th Anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech," delivered on Aug. 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, it's remarkable just how much of the Christian faith is alluded to. A Baptist clergyman, King took up the cause of Rosa Parks who refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Four days after Parks was arrested, on December 5, 1955, King spoke in Montgomery's Holt Baptist Church. It was the end of the first day of a boycott he had been elected to lead against Montgomery's bus system.

King stressed that the boycott movement's foundation was the Christian religion. "Whatever we do, we must keep God in the forefront," he said.

"I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we are Christian people," he said. "We believe in the Christian religion. We believe in the teachings of Jesus. The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. That's all."

King was adamant that God would judge nations by whether they obeyed Him or not.

"He's also the God that stands up before the nations and said: 'Be still and know that I'm God, that if you don't obey me I will break the backbone of your power and slap you out of the orbits of your international and national relationships," said King.

King also stressed the movement's reverence for the Constitution and the free system of government that made peaceful protest possible.

"There will be nobody amid, among us who will stand up and defy the Constitution of this nation," said King.

"Certainly, certainly, this is the glory of America, with all of its faults," King said. "This is the glory of our democracy. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a Communistic nation we couldn't do this. If we were dropped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime we couldn't do this. But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right."

King noted that is police were going to unjustly arrest anyone for merely sitting on a bus, he was happy that the person they arrested was Rosa Parks. This, he said, was because of Parks' Christian faith.

"Mrs. Rosa Parks is a fine person. And, since it had to happen, I'm happy that it happened to a person like Mrs. Parks, for nobody can doubt the boundless outreach of her integrity," said King. "Nobody can doubt the height of her character nobody can doubt the depth of her Christian commitment and devotion to the teachings of Jesus. And I'm happy since it had to happen, it happened to a person that nobody can call a disturbing factor in the community. Mrs. Parks is a fine Christian person, unassuming, and yet there is integrity and character there. And just because she refused to get up, she was arrested."

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