Op-Ed: Commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech with Service

Keith Rothfus joined members of Tiger Pause Youth Ministry for a service project in Beaver Falls.

This week we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King’s words and deeds left an indelible mark on our nation and inspired me just as they have so many other Americans.

From time to time in our nation’s history, people of faith have stepped forward to call us to something greater. That tradition is ingrained in our culture and our founding documents. It goes back to the cross at Cape Henry and the landing at Plymouth Rock. You see it in our Declaration of Independence and again in the movement to abolish slavery.

In the 1950s and 1960s, it was people of faith who birthed a new civil rights movement. No figure cast a wider shadow on that movement than Martin Luther King, Jr., a pastor who received his divinity degree from Crozier Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.

Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and his “I Have a Dream” speech are milestones on the road to civil rights for all Americans. This road is paved with the service and self sacrifice of Dr. King and his fellow advocates for civil rights.

On April 16, 1963, Dr. King sat in the Birmingham City Jail after being arrested four days earlier while participating in a local civil rights march. In his jail cell, Dr. King began to draft what became one of the most important documents in our nation’s struggle for civil rights.

Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” appealed to the nation’s religious roots to encourage social change, and from his cell he encouraged individuals to confront unjust laws.

He wrote in his letter that “all communities and states” are related and that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” To Dr. King, it was important that his fellow citizens act with “a sense of urgency” to build a better and brighter future.

Later that year, on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He proclaimed his dream of a future in which all men and women would “live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” in equality, freedom, and justice.

Through these words and deeds, Dr. King called on all people to work together against injustice and to serve their fellow human beings.

Both Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and his “I Have a Dream Speech” should be required reading for every American high school student and for every Member of Congress.

Together, we can continue to honor his legacy by serving our neighbors in need. This week, my staff and I joined some of our great community organizations for service projects. We joined Habitat for Humanity of Cambria County to help build a home for a family. We also joined Tiger Pause Youth Ministry to remodel a building in Beaver Falls that will provide transitional housing and serve as an outreach center for local non-profits in Beaver County.

With the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s speech upon us, it is good to remember his words. It is good to appreciate all that movements grounded in faith have done to advance the cause of freedom in this country. In recognition of this anniversary, we should each take time to reflect and to serve and assist our fellow human beings and our communities. We should also work to ensure the protection of religious freedom, a freedom that allowed the Reverend Dr. King to express a message that appealed to the conscience of millions.

Letter from Birmingham City Jail

I Have a Dream Speech

 

24 comments

  1. Enough of this phony embracing of King through his I have a dream speech. Let’s see if you’ll embrace his greatest ,Beyond Vietnam, where he condemed everything you represent.If he were alive today he would be leading the fight against you and your corrupt policies. We’re not buying your line of BS ,Keith.

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  2. I want to thank Mr. Rothfus and all those who helped with the Tiger Pause Youth Ministry with the transitional housing in Beaver Falls. I love seeing people coming together to help the community. Dr. Martin Luther King would be proud to know that there are people in this world who continue where he left off. May we all continue to grow in the love of God and people no matter who they are or where they come from.

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  3. phoney, tolipisson

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  4. Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to in effect replace the Bill of Rights with a new “economic bill of rights” along these lines. That was the intellectual tradition of Randolph and, to a significant degree, Barack Obama.

    The line “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” resides in the rhetorical pantheon with “Four score and seven years ago” and “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.”

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  5. I have a dream and sharpten and jackson are dead all black black people work and the state of california is the only place gays are allowed to live just a dream I have
    :lol:

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  6. The real phony was Martin Luther King. He plagiarized his dissertation to obtain his PhD. He stole someones else’s work and passed it off as his own. Any other person would have summarily had his degree revoked, but not MLK. He is apparently immune to such scrutiny. How about we bring up MLK and his connections to Communism ? At the time it occurred, it was well documented that King attended a Communist training school that specialized in agitation. These facts have been buried as the mythology was built up over the years by the media. Way to go Rothfus in associating yourself with a verifiable fraud.

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    • But you don’t have any problems with all the communist made products you buy at Wal-Mart do you? No problems with the corporations sending our jobs to Red China at all. Sounds like you’re a phony .

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      • I know it’s hard for you to accept the truth. FYI, it was your party, Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton who pushed and signed NAFTA which allowed these jobs to go over seas. The Demon-crats high taxes on everything they can think of, caused all those jobs to go over seas. Not to mention the ridiculous demands of the unions and the EPA. I know,I know, It ‘s all Bush’s fault. And Reagan. And Nixon. and Lincoln. Etc., Etc., Etc. You have no problem with Nobama shutting down good paying coal jobs though, do you. Or the fact that he’s on the verge of starting a world war in the middle east. Or that he is going to collapse the U.S. economy with the AHC act. By the way, MLK would be appalled on how the black community entices racism at every opportunity that they can. His dream DID NOT mean that every generation since his speech live off the backs of honest working people. The black communities are now slaves to the Demon-crat party for their votes. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Rev. Wright, and a host of others would be chastised by MLK. He’s not rolling in his grave, he’s spinning at the speed of light!

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      • Never voted for Clinton and did vote for Bush in 2000. You go on and on with whatever you’re programed with.

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      • So shopping at Wal Mart makes you a Communist , but attending a Communist school somehow makes MLK a national hero ? Makes about as much sense as the other illogical statements that you make Jackson. For the record, not every product Wal Mart sells is made in China. Not even close.
        I notice you had nothing to say about MLK being a plagiarist ? Verifiable fact. Not arguing that I guess. But if you want to change the subject from King and his communist ties :

        The one who is to blame for Nafta AND “MOST FAVORED TRADING NATION” status for China was indeed good old Bill Clinton. Why don’t you send him a blathering email? He is the one at fault for that even if you didn’t vote for him.

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      • Nobama, Get your freaking facts straight! “The truth”!?! You couldn’t handle the truth1 It was Bush, NOT Clinton, who tried to “fast track” NAFTA through before the end of his term. Clinton was the one who signed it but only AFTER he had protections added for US workers and environmental standards were strengthened. Bush wanted to get it through without those. Try educating yourself about the issue at hand before making comments.

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      • I’m not wraping myself in King ,that’s your boy Rothfus doing that. Just stating that king would have nothing to do with Rothfus and the rest of his group. I don’t care if he was a communist or not nor a plagiarist or not. It seems that you stooges will accept anything that’s planted in your heads by this system. Commies are bad unless they let the capitalists exploit their workers for low wages then they become good like the Red Chinese and Vietnamese have. Get with the times, the boogie man now is the Muslims. Be like nobrains Nobama and worry about Obama the Muslim from Wall st.

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      • Desmoluvr, Bill Clinton is responsible for NAFTA, not Bush. No one forced Clinton to sign that thing no matter what BS defense you throw up for him . Clinton is responsible for that piece of crap. At the end of the day, what did it matter if Clinton “had protections added for US workers and environmental standards were strengthened.”? It still had the same negative effect on the US worker. The only candidate in the 1992 election that got it right was Ross Perot. Perot famously asked if anyone besides him could hear that sucking sound. The sound of US jobs being sucked out of the country. He was dead right.

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  7. I’m sure I’m gonna catch shit for this, but it needs said:
    I am not a political person, I DO NOT weigh in on political topics, but I DO read them. And after all that reading, I’ve come to a few conclusions…
    All ANYONE ever bitches about is the Democratic and Republican parties, and how we need more of a certain party in office, Senate, etc etc. when really, that’s foolish. You should be more concerned about addressing the problems WE have as a nation, instead of pushing a candidate based on if they have a (D) or (R) after their names. If anything was to be learned from politics, it’s this: A candidate for ANY OFFICE will lie. They may not be big lies, but they lie. They will say what their parties want to hear. Ya’ll base your pics on a stupid fucking letter, instead of focusing on the big picture: WE NEED TO STOP BASING OUR PICS ON A LETTER, BASE YOUR PIC ON WHAT THAT CANDIDATE CAN DO FOR THE COUNTRY.
    I HATE FUCKING POLITICS. ALL A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT.

    Ok, move along, nothing to see here…

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    • I’m not sure, but I don’t think you can vote for an unaffiliated person on the ballot. All candidates belong to a party. That party will express a platform or belief system. I agree that a lot of politicians lie and decieve but it is now and has always been more prevalent with the (D) than the (R). The American Republican party has been the greatest party in human history for freedom and individual rights. That’s a fact, jack.

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  8. @desmoluvr-You truly are a dim-wit. Reread my post. It it because “Slick Willy” had those “protections added” is why all those jobs left. By the time Bush tried to reverse those “protections”, it was already way to late to try and save those jobs. Ridiculous union demands and EPA regulations. Here’s a good example. Hostess Bakery workers. That union put everyone out of work because they refused a 10% concession in pay. 10%!
    Why don’t you open up a business, hire union workers, pay them $35.00/hr, Full benefits and 13 weeks paid vacation. Then put up with B.S. governmental regulations, and see how long your in business.
    Let me guess, all the coal jobs Nobama is shutting down is somehow Bush’s fault too. AND, your probably one of the twits that actually believe that “Slick Willy ” left a surplus. And your twin brother jackoff4570 calls me “no brains”.

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    • WTF! I was talking about Bush Sr. who was BEFORE Clinton not Bush Jr. who was AFTER Clinton. It was Bush Sr. who tried to “fast track” NAFTA through. Bush Jr. was not involved in the negotiations of the treaty. You do understand the timeline of NAFTA don’t you? Or am I wasting my freaking time trying to get you to understand even the most basic facts about the issue?

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  9. weredareres – “May we all continue to grow in the love of God and people no matter who they are or where they come from”. Great sentiment, but have you seen Keith’s voting record?

    ellen – I had no idea what “rhetorical pantheon” meant, so I googled it. Guess what? I found the website for townhall.com, with an article about MLK written by Jonah Goldberg with the SAME EXACT STATEMENTS YOU MADE (stole?), WORD FOR WORD. You plagiarized EVERYTHING (just re-arranged sentences) in your “comment”. Next time give credit to the original spokesman, or give your OWN right-wing opinion.

    Wally?? – See Spot run. Run Spot run!

    buzzkill – At least the crap you spout is in your own words (unlike ellen), regurgitated from some self-righteous right-wing blogger in his doomsday bunker. And I hate to burst your bubble (and my good friend Nobama’s), BUT it WAS Bush SR who started all the NAFTA crap. Where did you guys learn your history – Glen Beck?

    Maybe we should all listen to Nikki P. Clinton just sealed the deal for ALL the fat-cats, Democrats AND Republicans. Don’t you realize the 1% are pulling the strings and laughing all the way to the bank while we fight amongst ourselves?

    Nobama – Two BIG spelling mistakes in three short sentences – (It’s you’re NOT your, and it’s idiotic NOT idiototic) – but I’m glad to see you spelled moron right. Try to make sure your Limbaugh-like ideas are spelled correctly before you start spouting them.

    Sorry Keith. Long-term low-key actions speak louder than a one-day photo-op. I’m not
    buying the snake-oil you’re selling. Never have and never will – EVER.

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  10. Thanks nikki P. best statement on this post. Medinfo2000 says “maybe we should all listen to NikkiP” then talks in a negative light to anyone who disagrees with him/her. I don’t think he prescribes to your sentiment.

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    • Union no! – Please allow me one chance to defend myself. Yes, Nikki P said it best, and I DO prescribe to her sentiments. But, YOU have NO idea what I think.

      What you call a “negative light” is my attempt to convey what I perceive to be historical facts against the right-wing dog-whistles consistently spewed by Limbaugh, FOX news (and plagiarized by others) in their attempt to brainwash the masses. And, unfortunately, I think it’s working.

      Plus, I don’t really give a rat’s ass who agrees/disagrees with him/her/me. You’ve got your opinion; I’ve got mine.

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  11. I like Rothfus. And I still stand by what I wrote. To each his own.

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