There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe,
nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let Freedom Ring: A Day of Prayer & Protest July 13, 2014
The streets on which African American civil rights activists and leaders marched, died and shed blood to advance the cause of justice, cried out in angst this week after the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby 5-4 ruling allowed businesses to opt-out of federal requirements to pay for workers’ contraceptives. What an insult to the legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. What a call to the question asked by Frederick Douglas, “What is the 4th of July to Me?” As an alliance of intergenerational pastors of the Gospel, interfaith American leaders, and people of a great and abiding faith committed to tangible and transparent progress to those whose sacred memories made freedom possible, we vehemently denounce the court’s decision and call for a national day of protest and prayer on Sunday, July 13th, 2014.
We the people—the workers, the disenfranchised, those who have played by the rules and have been ignored—in order to form a more perfect society must not let our historic legacy of civil rights and social justice be co-opted by the religious right to fit into their particular brand of Christianity and their particular variety of democracy. In a recent panel at the Southern Baptist Convention involving Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Samuel Rodriguez, a fundamentalist mega church pastor, gave their support to the Hobby Lobby legislation, which destroys basic constitutional rights of self-determination and equal protection. In doing so, they compared their views to Dr. Martin Luther King’s fight against racism, a most insulting likening to those who peacefully gave their lives for liberty and access to the pursuit of happiness.