God-given Rights

“All men are made in the image of God. All men are brothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State–they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America’s strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam.” April 30, 1967, Riverside Church, New York. [Emphasis added]   Source: MLK’s Sermon On Vietnam War   To listen to this sermon: Audio of MLK’s Sermon

In this significant sermon, Dr. King explained why he opposed the American intervention in Vietnam.  This section demonstrates that his ideas rested on his specific religious beliefs.  Immediately preceding this quote, King explained the link between racism and militarism and exhorted Americans to return to  “our Judeo-Christian heritage.”  King understood the war in Vietnam to be contrary to that heritage.  I have written how Dr. King followed the Christian tradition when he resisted unjust laws:  MLK on Divine Law

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