September 2023
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W. Fauntroy: A Call for Faith in God, Compassion, Family

At the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made a statement that changed the course of history: “I have a dream that is deeply rooted in the American dream, I have a dream that one day America will live out the full meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.”

My colleague and brother the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., touched America and reminded us of our founding principles. Faith leaders and people of conscience were moved, and America began to change. As America changed the world changed. It took cooperation among faith leaders and those in government service to make the changes lasting. It took the diligent sacrifice of people of conscience to put it into practice.

People of courage and conscience changed the direction of America then. It is now time for us to do it again, this time on a global basis.

On July 2nd of this year, ten of us who were Dr. King’s fellow laborers held a press conference to announce that the situation of global conflict cannot be addressed by governments alone. We called for a global peace initiative and a worldwide peace movement to bring understanding and cooperation between Jews, Muslims, Christians and all people of faith.

We come together with a sense of urgency because the world is on a course that is filled with tension and violence. Military intervention, diplomacy, and efforts by governments alone cannot deal with the enmity, hate, and fear that lead to terrorism and destruction.

A new fresh effort must be supported to parallel the diplomatic course. In this effort, Muslims, Christians, and Jews and people of all faiths are finding common ground in God and practicing love through dialogue, service, and sacrifice for one another.

The leaders who stood with Dr. King and I joined an impressive team of courageous Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, and a host of other spiritual leaders of religious traditions in the world who resonate with our appeal to launch an ongoing movement that will apply globally the founding principle of America, that all men are created equal. They have been working together in Israel and Palestine, in Mindanao and Nepal, in Sudan and Bosnia, and several other hot spots on the planet in recent years to bring about repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

We are seeing that people of conscience and faith in all nations strongly desire to come together for peace and end this history of conflict. All that is needed is leadership rooted in the understanding that we are all “One Family Under God.”

Walter Fauntroy is pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and six-term former member of the U.S. Congress. A civil and human rights activist, he worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.