Rosa Parks Legacy: Civil Disobedience in 2013?
February 4 would have marked the 100th birthday of a very special woman whose stand against an unjust law sparked the flames of revolution we know today as the Civil Rights Movement.
It all started December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks made the decision to not give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger.Â By not giving up her seat, Parks violated the “Jim Crow” segregation laws,Â but in the eyes of African Americans, she was and is a true heroine.
On February 4, 2013 the United States Postal Service honored the quiet strength of Rosa Parks by unveiling the “Rosa Parks Forever Stamp” in Detroit, Michigan at the Musuem of African American History.Â Also on this day, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan created an event filled with music, speeches and presentations in Parks’ honor. Those in attendance had the opportunity to sit on the very bus Rosa Parks sat on so many years ago.
The Faith of Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was a strong believer in Christ and a devoted member of the AfricanÂ Methodist Episcopal Church. Because of her faith, she was able to rely on God to help her with life’s problems.
As a Christian, we know that Romans 13:1 instructs us to “submit ourselves [himself] to the governing authorities” but there are times where obedience to God’s law conflicts with obedience to man’s laws. In these instances, Rosa Parks is a great example of civil disobedience”the idea that Christians must obey God at any and all costs, even when it will cause them to be disobedient to unjust civil laws.
But, can Christians call themselves “Christians” and still perform an act of civil disobedience? The answer is yes. The Scriptures are clear:
“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the LORDÂ your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.” (Deuteronomy 11:22)
There are also several instances in the Bible where God’s people performed acts of civil disobedience, such as Daniel’s famous act of disobedience before Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 6:6-11) or the Apostles in Acts 4:18-19:
“So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.”
From the book, Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley, Parks revealed her belief on civil disobedience and stated,”From my upbringing and the Bible, I learned that people should stand up for rights, just as the children of Israel stood up to the Pharaoh.”
What is the “Pharaoh” of today? What champions do you see raising up in the Body of Christ to tackle the injustices of our day?
About the Author
Ariel Jones is a budding journalist who enjoys writing about the truth. Her aim is to help people gain a better understanding of the world around them. Email your comments and questions to her here.