Last week at Community Sunday, Father Gary gave a profound talk on “God and Country” in which he focused on religious freedom in our nation. He used much evidence to show that our Founding Fathers were men of deep faith in God. The introductory words of our Declaration of Independence, which he called a “creed”, establish our rights as given by God: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words have immeasurable value for us as Americans every day, but they carry special weight for us on two days this week.
On Monday, January 18, the United States celebrates the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors the immense impact he has had in making the words of the Declaration of Independence apply to all Americans. Father Gary highlighted Dr. King in his talk, and said that he had many “scars” to show for his defense of civil rights. In the first part of his famous speech on the March on Washington in 1963, Dr. King said “when the architects of our Great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir…It is obvious that America has defaulted on this promissory note.” His heroic words for and witness to the God-given rights of all people woke up a nation. He preached love, justice, peace, and non-violence in soaring rhetoric. But, as is the case with those who speak the truth in love, he endured many scars from the enemies of love and justice, including the ultimate scar of death.
On Monday, we are given two local opportunities to honor Dr. King. At our 12:10 Mass here on Monday, we will thank God in special ways for him. Also, the 10th annual MLK Peace Walk and Parade will occur on our street between 11 am – 2 pm on Monday. This Friday, January 22, is the annual March for Life in downtown Washington. This, too, is based on the words of our Founding Fathers that all Americans have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. This applies to all persons, including the unborn. The most fundamental human right is the right to life! We march every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to peacefully and prayerfully protest the legalization of abortion which resulted from the Supreme Court’s decision on January 22, 1973. Included in the massive (predominantly Catholic) crowd will be thousands of young people, women who regret their abortions, and African-American pastors who condemn the racist foundations of abortion-provider Planned Parenthood. Dr. King would probably support this March on Washington, too (his niece is a leader in the pro-life movement). “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stridently denounced abortion as a form of genocide in many speeches.” (Lifelines, Winter 1997, p.14 online). Please make every effort to attend an event on Monday and the March on Friday. Father Gary encouraged us to defend our God-given rights, and, like MLK, to have the scars to prove it.
–Sincerely in Christ,