Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks at a Church Service at Holy City Church of God In Christ


The Vice President:
Well, thank you, Bishop Matthews, for that overly
generous introduction. It is wonderful to be in
Memphis, but it’s even better to be in the city. (applause) What a special place. I’m very humbled to be
with all of you today. Thank you for the
warm welcome and the opportunity to share a
few words today on a very special day. “Out of the mountain of
despair, a stone of hope.” Those words were
first uttered. During the march on
Washington in 1963. And now they grace a
memorial that stands on the edge of the Tidal
Basin in our nation’s capital. To this day, I believe
those words more than any other capture the spirit
of the man for whom that memorial was created. The times in which he
lived and the courage and idealism and faith of a
truly great American, Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. (applause) To Bishop Taylor, Bishop
Matthews, Bishop Ivory, the mother, Taylor, to all
of those on this wonderful ministry team and to all
the officials that are gathered here today, it is
an honor to be with all of you in this special place
on the eve of a great national holiday. And it’s also an honor to
be here on behalf of the President of the United
States at Holy City, Church of God
on Founders Day. (applause) Thirty-two
years of ministry and impact in Memphis,
Tennessee. You know, it’s remarkable
to think the Holy City has grown from just three
small families gathered in the living room that
Bishop Taylor, a home that he built with his
own two hands. And now a congregation of
more than 800 people that fill this beautiful
sanctuary. Bishop Taylor and I were
talking this church has already planted numerous
other churches across the area. But as I’m sure Bishop
Taylor will remind us, though your members built
the structure, unless the Lord builds the house, the
builders labor in vain. So, let’s give thanks to
God for what he’s done for Bishop Taylor through this
great ministry in Memphis and all across
Tennessee, since 1988. Today, as you mark a great
milestone in your church’s history. Tomorrow, the American
people will celebrate the life and legacy of a man
who literally altered the course of our
nation’s history. Dr. Martin Luther King
Junior was a leading voice in the civil rights
movement, and he is rightly remembered
as such. But we commemorate his
life and legacy because he wasn’t simply the leader
of a movement, he was a great American leader in
the tradition of every great leader in the
history of this country. He challenged our nation
to live up to our highest ideals, the ideals
of our founding. Our founders wrote down
that they believed we were endowed by our creator
with certain inalienable rights. That all men and women
were created equal. He called us to those
ideals as a nation. I just visited the Civil
Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, was deeply
moved to walk through, and they pointed out to me
that in the photographs replicated on the wall
they wanted to make sure that the American flag was
in color, to know that this movement was about
holding up the ideals and values of every American. (applause) The birthright of
every American. It’s why we named streets
and bridges and schools in this nation in his honor. And that memorial that
Kate just talked about bears his name in our
nation’s capital. It stands impressively
across the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson
Memorial, just across the street from the Lincoln
Memorial and the Washington Monument, and
rightly so, for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. belongs
in that pantheon of American leaders. And Dr. King was one of
the heroes of my youth, as you’ve already heard. Frankly, to be here in
Memphis on this occasion, the city where he spent
his last days is deeply humbling to me. He left this
world too soon. April 4th, 1968,
at the age of 39. On his birthday last
Wednesday, he would have turned 91. Earlier today, visiting
the National Civil Rights Museum, I was deeply moved
to stand in the parking lot and look up at the
very balcony where he fell. Standing there, I could
not help but think what King David said on
the death of Abner. “Do you not know that a
prince and a great man has fallen this day in
Israel.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was
a great man. (applause) But we’re not here today
to speak about that terrible day, but about a
life of consequence and a life well lived. At the beginning of this
service, I heard it reflected that if you
owe debts, pay debts, if honor, then honor, if
respect, then respect. And I’m here to pay a debt
of honor and respect to a man who, from walking the
dirt roads of the deep south to speaking to
hundreds of thousands on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial, touched the hearts of the American
people and led the civil rights movement to
triumph over Jim Crow. Tomorrow, all across
America, millions of our citizens will celebrate
his life and his legacy. And we honor him by
remembering his work, his courage, his sacrifice. And we honor him by
teaching our children and our children’s children
what Dr. King and all the heroes of the civil rights
movement accomplished for this nation. As Kate mentioned, it was
10 years ago I had the great privilege of
traveling to Selma, Alabama and Montgomery for
the annual pilgrimage lead by Congressman John Lewis. We literally walked across
the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the anniversary
of Bloody Sunday. We heard the stories from
those who had been there, along with John. And it was an
extraordinary experience for me and for my wife,
for our three children. We honor we honor those
who served and honor Dr. King by teaching
future generations, what they did for us. We also honor him by
performing acts of service. As Dr. King often said
life’s most persistent and urgent question is what
are you doing for others? Audience Member: Amen. The Vice President:
Tomorrow, all across the nation, we will mark the
25th anniversary of the MLK Day of service. Millions of Americans
will, as the saying goes, make it a day on, not a
day off by giving back to their communities and
coming alongside families in need. And I know Holy City will
be there every step of the way. And finally, we honor him
by continuing the work he’s so nobly advanced by
forming a more perfect union with liberty
and justice for all. As Dr. King said in his
letter from the Birmingham jail, and I quote, “One
day, the south will know that when these
disinherited children of God sat down at lunch
counters, they were in reality standing up
for what’s best in the American dream and for the
most sacred values of our Judeo-Christian heritage.” As I stand
before you today. I want to assure you that
under this administration, we’ve made every effort
to open pathways to the American dream for
every American. And we have stood strong
for the values that we hold dear. Under the leadership,
President Donald Trump, we’ve created more than
80,700 opportunity zones, including many here in
Tennessee, bringing new investment and jobs to
underserved communities across the nation. And I’m proud to say, that
today African American unemployment is at
the lowest level ever recorded. As we stood for the right
of parents to choose where their children go to
school, and not long ago, surrounded by university
leaders, President Trump made the more than $250
million in annual funding to historically black
colleges and universities permanent under
federal law. (applause) We worked with leaders in
both political parties to do justice, to enact
criminal justice reform, to make our justice system
more fair, to get those caught up in our criminal
justice system a second chance. We’ve defended the
religious freedom of every American, of every faith. And like Bishop Taylor and
Bishop Matthews, we have stood without apology for
the sanctity of human life. (applause) We’ve made great progress
as a nation, but there is much work to be done. And I can promise you
this president and this administration will always
stand for the values we share and the right of
every American to live the American dream, regardless
of race or creed or color, so help us God. (applause) Finally, history records
Dr. King was a civil rights leader. As I said before, he was
a truly great American leader. But for my part, I think
it’s important to remember that Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. was also a Christian leader. Throughout my life, what
has most inspired me about his example is that he was
first and foremost a man of faith. A minister of the gospel
of Jesus Christ, a workman approved, rightly able to
handle the word of truth. Audience Member: Amen. The Vice President: In
Luke chapter six, our Lord says, “The good man brings
good things out of the good treasure
in his heart. For out of the overflow of
his heart, a man speaks.” And one cannot hear or
read the words of this great American without
hearing the echoes of the gospel and biblical truth. He said we would not be
satisfied until justice rolls down like waters
and righteousness like a mighty stream. He had a dream that one
day every valley would be exalted, every hill and
mountain would be made low. And as he said in his
last speech right here in Memphis at the
headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the day
before he fell, that like Moses on Mount Nebo,
he had been to the mountaintop. He had seen the
promised land. Those words that
echoed into history. He said, I may not get
there with you, but I want you to know tonight that
we as a people will get to the promised land. And so, we did. Dr. King could see all
that ahead because he had hope and that hope came
from his faith in God. As he said during his
famous march in 1963, quote, “This is the faith
that I go back to the south with. With this faith, we will
be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope.” He went on to say, “With this faith,
we will be able to work together, pray together,
struggle together. Go to jail together, stand
up for freedom together, knowing that we will
be free one day.” For Dr. King knew, where the
spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (applause) So, in these divided
times, let’s remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. Let’s remember his leadership
of a movement. Let’s remember his call to uphold our most cherished ideals. But let’s also
remember his faith. Dr. King challenged the
conscience of a nation to live up to our highest
ideals by speaking to our common foundation
of faith. He touched the hearts of
millions of Americans, and his words, continue to
inspire through this day. For all those gathered
here and those that might be looking on, let me say
it’s been my great honor to be with all of you. And as we marked this
Founder’s Day at Holy City tomorrow as Americans,
remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. I know in my heart of hearts, if we
rededicate ourselves to the ideals that he
advanced, if we strive to open doors of
opportunities for every American, and if we more
faithfully follow the one that he followed, we will
see our way through these divided times, and we’ll
do our part in our time to form a more perfect union
in this one nation under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all. Thank you very much. God bless you and
God bless America. (applause)

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