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Sen. Cruz: During These Divided Times, We Must Remember Dr. King’s Call to Unity and Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate Floor urging Americans to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call for unity and justice.

After the Senate's bipartisan reading of Dr. King's letter from a Birmingham jail on the Senate Floor, Sen. Cruz said:

"Today is a time every American should look back at the incredible call to justice that Dr. King gave us. This is a time where our nation is grieving. This is a time where there is anger, division, rage. This is a time where our country is divided on racial lines in a way it hasn't been in a long, long time. And this is a time where we need to hear a call to unity. A call to unity and a call to justice. Dr. King's call was powerful for both."

He went on to make three observations:

"The first [observation] - is this was a letter from a pastor, written to pastors. [...] If you're a person of faith, justice, defeating racial discrimination, [and] defeating bigotry is not just a matter of truth, but it's a matter of morality. Here's what Dr. King said about it in the opening paragraphs of the letter, ‘I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. [...] Just as the prophets in eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their message. Just as the apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so I am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own hometown.' At a time when our nation is grieving, is in anguish, is in anger, is in division, Dr. King, Reverend King's message to church leaders to stand up for justice, to stand up for truth; that message resonates clear as a bell today.

"A second observation - Dr. King in this letter and throughout his ministry, throughout his public leadership called over and over and over again to resist violence. Against voices of those who agreed with him about the injustices he was calling out, where he said ‘violence is not the way.' As we've seen rioting in our cities, as we've seen small businesses burned to the ground, as we've seen police officers assaulted and wounded and murdered in violent and angry protests and riots and looting, the words of Dr. King calling out to ‘resist violence and to speak for justice,' those words should be heard by all of us.

"And a third observation - in calling for justice, Dr. King appealed to our founding principles. There are some, particularly young people, today who are angry. Who are being pedaled with what I think is a bill of goods, a lie that America is fundamentally unjust. That it is an evil society built upon racism. That is simply not true. Is there evil in the world? Yes. Is there racism in the world? Yes. Is there oppression in the world? Yes. Is all of that present in the United States? Absolutely. But Dr. King in this letter didn't endeavor to tear down the foundations of our nation. Instead, he made an explicit appeal that the promises this nation was founded upon, the promises of freedom, the promises of equality.

"We have not yet fully achieved that, but we can. That's the beauty of this American experiment. We're a nation founded on the proposition that all men are created equal."

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