Today, Texas Public Policy Foundation CEO Greg Sindelar released a statement honoring MLK Day:
As we contemplate the life and important work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, we’ll hear many repetitions of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
But to me, his work and his legacy are more fully summed up in something that wasn’t even a speech—it’s his letter written from inside the Birmingham Jail, dated April 16, 1963. It focuses directly on what we here at TPPF do every day—addressing injustices disguised as laws, and being brave enough to call them out as such.
“I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws,” Dr. King wrote to area pastors, who had not yet come to his defense following his Birmingham arrest. “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all.”
He went on to add that he was disappointed to be labeled an “extremist” for his nonviolent leadership. But then he changed his mind on that point.
“I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label,” he wrote. “Was not Jesus an extremist for love: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?”
It’s not uncommon for TPPF to be saddled with labels; yet we know who we are and we know what we do—we are happy warriors for liberty, working hard every day to make Texas a freer, more prosperous state, and to preserve the fundamental things that have made the United States the greatest nation in the history of the world. Sometimes that means fighting unjust laws and policies in courthouses and in statehouses (such as President Biden’s unconstitutional mask mandates); sometimes it means standing up tp forces such as Critical Race Theory that threaten to undo all of Dr. King’s important work. Always, that work is taken in hand with the goals of justice and opportunity.
I’ll leave you with his valediction to his fellow pastors in Birmingham:
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,