Every year on the Sunday closest to Martin Luther King day our church, Community Church of Hope is treated to the delivery of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We all sit in awe as Robbynne provides a stirring rendition of those words that were delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, words that encouraged a nation, inspired people, and gave many hope. Those words speak of that encouragement, inspiration and hope. They did that day in Washington and continue to do so yearly to our church community and where ever that text is shared.
Our LGBT community was part of the March on Washington back in August, 1963, one of the key organizers Bayard Rustin was a gay man and there were many gay men and women marching that day.
Next year marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and there does not appear to be unity between the two communities that joined together back in August, 1963. Some African-American religious leaders have taken a stand against same-sex marriage not seeing this as a civil rights struggle, where a group of people are not being allowed access to equal rights, to marry the person the love because they are the same-sex. It wasn’t so long ago that people were not allowed to marry because of the color of their skin.
Every year the rhetorical question is asked “How would Dr. King react to gay people?” Many people try to answer that question, which of course only Dr. King knew. The closest person to him was Coretta Scott King and her thought was that he would not be against inclusion for LGBT people…
Coretta Scott King: “make room at the table for lesbian and gay people.”
“My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, ‘We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny… an inescapable network of mutuality,… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.’ Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.
Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.”
Coretta Scott King, speaking at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference on November 9, 2000.
His daughter Bernice King disagrees, she has been part of the movement to establish a national ban on same-sex marriage even leading a march to her Father’s grave in support of that movement.
Only Dr. King knew his feelings, his words give us an idea that he believed people should have a dream, as my friend Robbynne reminds us every year…
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.”
He believed in freedom and justice for all, equality for all and that no one should judge another. Hopefully that Dream will come true for all.