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This is a remarkable, and hopeful children’s book about the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. The book tells the story of two lives, in simple, clear text and powerful illustrations. The first biography is of a young black boy growing up in Atlanta. He is constantly confronted with painful reminders of the injustice and prejudice directed towards the members of his race. The second biography is of a young Jewish boy growing up in Poland. He too is constantly confronted with painful reminders of the injustice and prejudice directed towards the members of his race.

In the 1960s, the young boy from Atlanta had grown up to be a Baptist preacher like his father. He led a movement to end the injustices of racial segregation and prejudice. That story, too, is told in the book. When Martin organized a protest march in Alabama, his followers were confronted by police with dogs and clubs. Martin issued a national call for all God’s children to come to Alabama and join the march.

The Jewish boy from Poland, who had emigrated to America and become an influential rabbi, was among those who answered the call. On March 21, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King, Jr. prayed together. And then they marched together.

In January of 1968, Martin Luther King spoke at Abraham Heschel’s 61st birthday party. In April of 1968, Abraham Heschel spoke at Martin Luther King’s funeral.

This is a simple, yet powerful book with a message that parents should be encouraged to teach their children. Published in May of 2008, forty years after the death of Martin Luther King.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. In early April of 1968, I turned thirteen years old. In late April, Martin Luther King was assassinated. It was, to say the least, a terrible year. In Atlanta, my family had been proud of Dr. King, and we mourned his death. We were proud that Atlanta had a reputation as “the city too busy to hate.” The ideals of the Declaration and Constitution have taken a long time to be fully realized. Teaching our children about the ideals and the struggle is an important part of their education.

The book is a hardback, 40 pages, full color throughout. The text is written on a 3rd-4th grade reading level, but the book will work very well read out loud to younger children as well. As Good as Anybody is available directly from Greenleaf Press for $16.99.

Twenty years ago today – June 12, 1987.

Take a moment to give thanks for President Ronald Reagan, the man most responsible for freeing eastern Europe from totalitarian rule.

Powerline has an excellent post, including video of the key moment in the speech. Worth your time to read the memories of the speechwriter, Peter Robinson. Robinson visited Berlin a month before Reagan’s planned visit and spoke with Berliners. He was surprised to discover how passionately they still hated the wall – 26 years after it had been built.

Listen carefully to the speech. The same themes were articulated by President Bush in his speech in Prague last week. Here’s a transcript of the full “Tear Down This Wall” speech if you prefer to read it.

Peter Robinson (the speechwriter responsible for the “Tear Down This Wall” speech) wrote a memoir seven years ago, titled It’s My Party: A Republican’s Messy Love Affair with the GOP. Christopher Buckley reviewed it in The Washington Monthly. (Most anything written by Christopher Buckley is worthy reading, btw!)

Here’s Buckley’s summary of what Robinson had to go through to keep the speech’s most famous line from being cut from the speech:

You’ll already have anticipated what happened: the Berlin diplomat, the State Department, the National Security Council, the White House staff all went bananas. Was Peter Robinson crazy? Take it out! Out, out! But he would not take it out. Among other reasons, the Leader of the Free World kind of liked the line.

The incident escalated, with 30-year-old Robinson going toe-to-toe with, among others, National Security Council Director Colin Powell. (It was disappointing to read this.) Finally, Reagan had to say to his chief of staff, Kenneth Duberstein, with a trace of Reaganesque irony, Look here, old shoe, who’s President here? Even skilled White House-hand Duberstein had to back down. Reagan went on to deliver the line. The rest is history.

Thank God for men like Robinson with the patient stubbornness to insist on writing the truth. And thank God for a man like Ronald Reagan who had the courage to speak the truth.

-Rob Shearer
  Director, Schaeffer Study Center

And, predictably, its being ignored by the mainstream media. Before he went to the G8 summit, he spoke to a conference in Prague organized by President Havel and Natan Scharansky (more on them in another post).

One blogger, at the Jewish Review, named Bush our most eloquent president ever, based on this speech.

That blog entry is worth reading.

And so is Bush’s speech, which you will find in full on the White House web site.

Commit an act of rebellion. Read Bush’s speech for yourself.

Read it slowly.

Imagine it being delivered out loud. Imagine how it must have reverberated with men and women who had been imprisoned and tortured for years in the cause of freedom.

And then, give thanks to God that he appointed George Bush to be president for eight years.

-Rob Shearer
   Director, Schaeffer Study Center

“Freedom is the non-negotiable right of every man, woman, and child, and the path to lasting peace in our world is liberty.” – George W. Bush

PS: Do I detect the hand of Tony Snow in the text of the president’s speech?

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