In April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. landed in jail in Birmingham, Alabama for violating a local injunction against demonstrations.
Sitting in jail, he learned that local white clergy advised against “outsiders coming in,” calling King’s activities “unwise and untimely.”
In response, King wrote his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
In the pages long, handwritten letter, he lays out the logic and theology of his activities. He explains that, like the prophets and apostles, he was compelled “to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town.”
King concludes saying 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 Judeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”
We are witnessing today a bizarre role reversal of those events in 1963.
We live in a dangerous world and America has enemies. We must have a clear sense of the nature of these threats so we may act properly.
In this spirit, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to convey his thoughts about the dangers of a nuclear- armed Iran.
But members of the Congressional Black Caucus are protesting, saying they will not attend.
Black members of congress, those allegedly carrying on the civil rights movement that Dr. King led, are now the ones protesting “outsiders coming in” and saying that expression in the pursuit of truth, in our free country, is “unwise and untimely.”
The U.S. State Department has listed Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984. Freedom House in Washington, DC designates Iran as an “Unfree” country.
In a new Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans call development of nuclear weapons by Iran a “critical threat.”
All Americans should welcome with enthusiasm the thoughts of the Israeli Prime Minister, who leads a nation that has fought for its survival in the Middle East every single day since its founding.
Black caucus members walking out on the Prime Minister violate the principles of freedom of our nation, for which Dr. King fought.
They also betray the unique relationship of black Christians, and America in general, to the Jewish people and the state of Israel.