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Martin Luther King, Jr. on the First Amendment

Martin Luther King, Jr., a strong believer in the First Amendment, did not believe in silencing the opposing view.

Today we remember Martin Luther King, Jr., a Christian pastor who was the 1st President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King led peaceful protests to give black voices a chance to be heard and recognized. Pastor King was a strong believer in the First Amendment and freedom of speech. He depended upon that right to move his cause forward.

In one famous speech MLK said:

If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there.

But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.

Martin Luther King, Jr., thought the First Amendment right was a critical part of what makes the United States the “Promised Land.” His was a powerful dissenting voice in the narrative of the 1960s. I wonder what he would think about the level of censorship in our country today?

Without the constitutional right to voice opposing thoughts and ideas, what stands in the way of one party assuming absolute power and control of any opposing voices?

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I don’t think the man who said, “From every mountainside, let freedom ring,” envisioned an America where media elites and the Democrat party would try to silence the opposition by injunction or censorship of thoughts or speech. Martin Luther King, Jr. would believe that the right to disagree, through speech, news outlets or social media, should be protected.

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