"A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God," King said. "An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."
In this letter, King also again argued that the God-given moral law that demanded equal rights for African Americans was the same God-given moral law on which America was founded.
"We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands," said King.
"One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, and thus carrying our whole nation back to great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," said King.
The granite slabs at the memorial do quote from this famous letter. But they steer clear of King's invocation of God's law, the Declaration and the Constitution. Instead they use these words: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Near the close of his "I Have a Dream" speech" -- delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963 -- King cites Isaiah 40:4-5.
"I have a dream," said King, "that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight 'and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'
"This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with," King said. "With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope"
On the right side of the granite statue of King at the memorial, the last half of this last sentence is carved in stone: "Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." The first half of the sentence -- "With this faith, we will be able to hew" -- is missing.
Yes, the "faith" is missing.
Just a few feet from this statue of King where the word "faith" has been edited from the passage of his "I Have a Dream" speech, there is a similarly secular quote from a sermon reprinted in King's book, "Strength to Love."
At the end of that sermon, King said: "Jesus is eternally right. History is replete with the bleached bones of nations that refused to listen to him."
The Rev. Martin Luther King was a Christian clergyman who became an American hero by standing up for the God-given rights our nation was founded to protect. It is a shame the name of God cannot be found at his memorial.
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