Dr. King on Religious Freedom

Asking the Right Questions

It is MLK Day.  Many on the Progressive Left uphold Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an example of Progressive ideology.  How many Progressives have actually taken the time to read what Dr. King had to say about so many ideas he shared with the Founding Fathers (ideas that the Progressive Left has spent the past half century trying to destroy)?

If you have never read Dr. King’s, Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” then you might be surprised to find a wealth of quotes to share with Progressives.  One of my favorite past times is to uphold Truth to Progressive Liberals by quoting from some of their most cherished heroes.  Asking questions that are not easily dismissed might create the cognitive dissonance necessary for them to actually rethink a point in which they’ve been in error.  Many people don’t want to think, and it takes hard questions to jar them out of complacency.  Dr. King once observed, “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking.  There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions.  Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

What kind of questions might make someone think?

I love to ask my public school students, “Are we allowed to talk about religion in school?”  Invariably, they respond, “No.  We are not allowed to talk about religion in school.”  Then I quote to them from our state constitution, which declares in Article VIII, Section 1, “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall  forever be encouraged.”  Then I ask them, “What does our state constitution say is the purpose of education?”  Then we talk about the stated purpose, which – as quoted above – is to foster “good government and the happiness of mankind.”  Then I ask my students, “What three things does our state constitution declare as being necessary ingredients to good government?”  And we discuss the state constitution’s declaration that what is necessary for good government are: “religion, morality and knowledge.”  Eventually during the conversation, someone brings up the so-called “Separation Clause.”  At that point I usually offer my students the $100 challenge: “Show me where in the U.S. Constitution it is ever stated that there is a ‘wall of separation between church and state’, and I will personally hand you a crisp one hundred dollar bill (crisp because I will personally iron it out for you before hand).”  I’ve gotten more than one student to actually read the U.S. Constitution by issuing the challenge.  Mission accomplished on that specific goal.

It’s all about learning how to ask the right questions.  Dr. King studied how to ask the right questions.  So can we.

Read Dr. King’s letter that he wrote from his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama.  Then start asking questions that aren’t so easily answered by Progressives, like: “Did you hear about the mayor in Texas who demanded pastors submit their sermons for mayoral review to make sure they agreed with the mayor’s opinions on sexuality?”  Follow that up with a quote about religious freedom (like the one above) by Dr. King and then ask, “Do you think Dr. King would agree to submit his sermons and speeches for governmental review before delivering them?”

Tim Keller
About Tim Keller
Tim Keller has taught American History, World History, government, writing, speech and related courses at both the high school and college level since 1997.
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