A rewrite of his most famous speech - to address the Church.
Two thousand years ago, Christ, in whose symbolic shadow the Church stands, triumphed over bigotry, hatred and fear to rise from the dead. This momentous act of God came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of women and children and slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But two thousand years later, we must face the tragic fact that women and children, the poor and the oppressed are still not free.
This note was a promise that all people would be guaranteed the gifts of God's grace, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of discipleship. It is obvious today that the Church has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her women and homosexuals are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, the Church has given these children of God a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice or grace is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity for ministry and discipleship of this Church.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new confidence which has engulfed many women in the Church must not lead to a distrust of all men, for many of our brothers, as evidenced by their presence in the Church today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of doctrine and clerical rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of childbirth, are not free from the dictates of childless men. We can never be satisfied as long as women in the Church are barred from the office to which God calls them. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Go to your churches, go to your Bible Studies, your cell groups and fellowships, go to the darkest and most bigotted of our cathedrals wherever they may be, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in God’s dream.
I have a dream that one day the Church will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal." I have a dream that one day in the palaces of Rome and Canterbury, the daughters of former women ministers and the sons of former Bishops will be able to sit down together and share equally at the table of Christ. I have a dream that one day even the Church of Rome, shrouded with the darkness of injustice and oppression of women, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that all children may one day be part of a Church where they will not be judged by their sexuality or their genitals but by the content of their character and the depth of their faith. I have a dream today.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, male and female, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, women are free at last!"