Posted by Tina
Revival: renewed attention to or interest in something
Glenn Beck believes we need a revival of American values: “Our freedom is possible only if we remain virtuous. Help us restore the values that founded this great nation. On August, 28th, come join us in our pledge to restore honor at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.”
The rally, held last Saturday, was a tremendous success with thousands in attendance but not everyone was happy about it (surprise, surprise). Of all the negative comments I read, those of Howard Kurtz who wins the prize for the most bizarre observation. He made the following comment on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday:
“I thought I was at a camp meeting — an old fashioned, religious camp meeting; I don’t think that’s appropriate on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”
Strange…the day also marked the anniversary date of the Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. If I remember correctly the people gathered there filled the air with generous responses of amen, yes brother and the like as the reverend quite naturally sprinkled religious references throughout his speech:
“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…
…I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”…
…And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. * Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, * From every mountainside, let freedom ring!… And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Hmmm…sounds a bit like a revival meeting to me. Dr. King’s speech was about honor, freedom and justice. He spoke of the God granted rights that each of America’s citizens are guaranteed and about realizing and pursuing happiness through the opportunities afforded in liberty. Dr. King knew that his dream would require civility, honor, and mutual respect and he knew that we would achieve this dream by the grace of God.
Martin Luther King appropriately chose the Lincoln Memorial for his now famous “I have a Dream” speech since it was President Lincoln who directed the civil war that freed the black man from slavery and Lincoln too was a man fond of referencing God and quoting passages from the Good Book. One such reference was included in a short speech delivered to a very special group of citizens after receiving from them a very special gift:
In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. – Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible on September 7, 1864 (CWAL VII:542)
A second is from Lincoln’s last public address:
The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He, from Whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated. – April 11, 1865 (CWAL VIII:399)
Becks choice, the Lincoln Memorial, was not only an appropriate choice but was particularly appropriate for the “Restoring Honor” rally. His purpose, to remind Americans of the “values that founded this great nation” are reflections of the themes for which we remember both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.