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video Click here for audio [REV. DR. C. WELTON GADDY, HOST]: On Monday, Americans will observe a holiday honoring and memorializing civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Every national observance of the birthday of Dr. King, I welcome. It provides me with an opportunity to reflect not only on the dream of this visionary, but to reflect on the lessons that can be learned from his faith-based activism. I appreciate a government that wants to honor this man in this manner, and I am truly sad that so many people in this land still do not want to give Dr. King credit for his contributions to the nation. Of course, they were opposed to what he supported. What happened under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many women and men who worked alongside him is absolutely incredible. The civil rights movement facilitated an accomplishment of positive, justice-centered social change with only a minimal level of violence - amazing! Downtrodden men and women and their children demanding their civil rights were armed only with quiet protests, inspiring songs, intercessory prayers, necessary political actions and courage undaunted by mean opposition. The march to justice led by Dr. King involved people who carried no weapons of violence - only the testimony of history, the critique of truth, and the irrepressible strength, patience and compassion of their faiths. Never before has so much work for justice involving so much radical change been done so quickly and effectively - with such a minimal loss of life. In fact, it wouldnt be too much to say Thank you to Dr. King every day. So at least honoring him once a year is terribly important. Lets make the most of it. We dont have to use armed weapons of violence to achieve social change. The civil rights movement and Dr. King himself proved that truth is irrefutable. Our nation is the beneficiary of a non-violent method of dramatic social change. But I also think of other lessons to be learned from this mans leadership. For example, Dr. King demonstrated that a commitment to justice requires depth and breadth, not narrow focus and exclusive priorities. When King drew his last breath, he was in Memphis to lend his support to underpaid workers. Adequate wages for laborers, sufficient remuneration for work, is also an issue of justice an issue that we best keep in mind as we debate unemployment benefits and an increase in our minimum wage.

Dr. King turned his eyes for justice, also, to our nations involvement in an unnecessary war in Viet Nam. This eloquent religious as well as social leader understood that the money used to buy bombs and guns is money that could have been spent on education, hunger relief, and care for the poor. Justice is a big, big, multifaceted matter that requires holistic attention. Justice regarding the civil rights of all people cant be divorced from support for economic justice, religious liberty, education and more. Dr. Kings exemplary vision included all of it - every bit of it. Remembering Dr. King is good. Learning from him is even better. Best of all, though, is continuing a commitment to fulfill his dream of a nation committed to full compliance with our constitution. I remember so well the solidarity of those young black and white people integrating lunch counters, packed like herded cattle into southern jail cells, and walking one street after another together. Our leaders in Congress could learn so much from Dr. King. How good it would be if members of Congress - on both sides of the aisle - could set aside personal ambition and partisan legislation to join hands in cooperation and do the work together that will advance liberty and justice for everybody among us. That should be the legacy of this heroic figure. On the national birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I hope I hope you will join me in remembering what he did, and how he did it - despite the odds against his success. I hope you will join me as well in giving thanks for this mans decision to use as weapons only truth, justice and liberty, not the firearms that divide us and enable us to kill one another. The nonviolent civil rights movement envisioned and led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and scores of others made us a better nation; a more conscientious people; and a more just democracy. But you know, beyond remembering - and beyond giving thanks even more, I hope that on the King holiday you will see even a small act of justice that you can support - or actually help move to effect. And then take one step toward getting that justice done. Thanks, Martin. The work is now in our hands. We know it. I can only hope that we will be as faithful in our efforts as you were in yours.

State of Belief is based on the proposition that religion has a positive and healing role to play in the life of the nation. The show explains and explores that role by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in America the most religiously diverse country in the world while exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion for partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government for sectarian purposes.

Each week, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy offers listeners critical analysis of the news of religion and politics, and seeks to provide listeners with an understanding and appreciation of religious liberty. Rev. Gaddy tackles politics with the firm belief that the best way to secure freedom for religion in America is to secure freedom from religion. State of Belief illustrates how the Religious Right is wrong wrong for America and bad for religion. Through interviews with celebrities and newsmakers and field reports from around the country, State of Belief explores the intersection of religion with politics, culture, media, and activism, and promotes diverse religious voices in a religiously pluralistic world. Author of more than 20 books, including First Freedom First: A Citizens Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy leads the national non-partisan grassroots and educational organization Interfaith Alliance and serves as Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana. In addition to being a prolific writer, Dr. Gaddy hosts the weekly State of Belief radio program, where he explores the role of religion in the life of the nation by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in America, while exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion for partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government for sectarian purposes. Dr. Gaddy provides regular commentary to the national media on issues relating to religion and politics. He has appeared on MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball, NBCs Nightly News and Dateline, PBSs Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPANs Washington Journal, ABCs World News, and CNNs American Morning. Former host of Morally Speaking on NBC affiliate KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana, Dr. Gaddy is a regular contributor to mainstream and religious news outlets. While ministering to churches with a message of inclusion, Dr. Gaddy emerged as a leader among progressive and moderate Baptists. Among his many leadership roles, he is a past president of the Alliance of Baptists and has been a 20-year member of the Commission of Christian Ethics of the Baptist World Alliance. His past leadership roles include serving as a member of the General Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Chair of the Pastoral Leadership Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and member of the World Economic Forums Council of 100. Rev. Gaddy currently serves on the White House task force on the reform of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Prior to the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Dr. Gaddy served in many SBC leadership roles including as a member of the conventions Executive Committee from 1980-84 and Director of Christian Citizenship Development of the Christian Life Commission from 1973-77. Dr. Gaddy received his undergraduate degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and his doctoral degree and divinity training from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

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