Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked for a transformative and progressive social agenda. He became an icon of the movement for human rights, equality, and justice in America. Historically, African-American preachers have generally been at the forefront of this movement, but there have always been African-American ministers who have preferred to look the other way, running to embrace slavery, colonialism and the status quo.
By focusing on the closing "dream" words of a great speech on racism, poverty, injustice and the need to fight against those things, many people ignore the harsh reality King described in the rest of his 1963 message. Racism is evil, and Christians should have a real problem with it until "justice rolls down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream," as the prophet Amos (5:24) declared. For that matter, if America is to live up to its promises, we will all have to learn how to live in peace and harmony with each other and with the environment.