Cry for Freedom – Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham jail could have been written by most of you in your journey for women’s equality. Following are some paragraphs from his speech, which you can read MLK-packet-2013.

One of the basic points in your statement is that our acts are untimely. Some have asked, “Why didn’t you give the new administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this inquiry is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one before it acts. We will be sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Mr. Boutwell will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is much more articulate and gentle than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to the task of maintaining the status quo. The hope I see in Mr. Boutwell is that he will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from the devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.

In spite of my shattered dreams of the past, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause, and with deep moral concern, serve as the channel through which our just grievances would get to the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say, “follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother.”

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was “well timed,” according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the words [sic]“Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that“ justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

We have waited for more than 200 years.

Our hearts go out to those men and women who had to fight for the basic right just to be human in America. That was so wrong, but it was accepted because we found words in the Bible which appeared to justify it. Those words are still in the same Bibles, but we have opened our eyes and see those words in a different light. We have recognized that as God’s people we are called to love our fellow man, and not enslave them. We have seen slavery as contrary to God’s law. Or at least, most have. May God open the eyes of those who still do not see.

Pray with me:

Lord of all, giver of all good things, our hearts are broken and continue to be broken by the willingness of humans to enslave other human beings. One-half of your creation is enslaved to the other half by selected words from your Word. These words have oppressed women in the home and in the church and have denied women their full service to you. We don’t understand why this has been allowed to continue so long. We cry out for our freedom to worship and to serve as you would call. Amen.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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3 Responses to Cry for Freedom – Martin Luther King

  1. Mara says:

    Off-topic, but not entirely.

    “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor.”

    So many comp men teach the benevolent dictator situation is healthy and satisfying to women and children. They insist that when men take their rightful places as spiritual leaders and authorities that all else will fall in place, that men will naturally or spiritually turn good and do right and that women and children will thrive in their rightful places of submission.

    Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) is such a place that has taught that.

    Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky is a close friend and admirer of C.J. Mahaney, president of SGM. Mohler greatly admires the hierarchy and heavy handed authority that abounds in SGM and would like to pattern the Southern Baptist denomination after that. Or at least he has expressed such sentiments in the past.

    Oh. but wait… SGM has hit a snag. It turns out that the “benevolent dictator” doctrine and set up IS NOT healthy or satisfying to women and children. It is oppressive and destructive.

    The Oppressed of SGM are crying out for justice against the foul doctrine of male-headship while the leaders of SBC are racing to embrace it.


  2. People are not meant to rule over other people.(God cursing Eve) “To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”’ Galatians 3:13.
    Bad news: The domineering nature of man is a product of a sin and directly relates to the curse, as well as women trying to manipulate or control men. Whenever we excuse either behavior, we are excusing gratification to our sinful fleshly desires.
    Good news: Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse, so that we could be His.
    More bad news: Part of sin is that when found guilty, Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed Eve. A lot of these religious dictators point the finger at women and say that they need to be more submissive, but God says:
    “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21 Notice it does not say women only: “one another” includes men and women submitting to each other.
    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3. Once again, no gender utilized because it goes both ways.
    Special note: Unfortunately, women will always be put down in culture because it is part of the curse. Just like sin and death, but it does not mean that we should consciously do this. You should not say, “Oh well I’ve sinned before, and I’ll sin again. So I’ll just keep sinning willingly.” Or insert name here “is going to have to die one day so I might as well murder them.” Submitting to the curse instead of Christ is a sign of an unrepentant heart.
    What women can do: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16.
    “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord” Romans 12:19.
    And Remember: ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me [the freedom that you have is only because Christ gave it to you]. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12. “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 1 Peter 3:14. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. “And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” 1 Samuel 8:7.
    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. Sorry for long post. I do not like injustice.


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