“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this Wall”


When there is a tear in the fabric of our shared humanity, those who
would mend are called upon to speak. This morning I’m reminded of the
words Ronald Reagan spoke at the Brandenburg Gate in the summer of 2007.

“Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city,
part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of
Europe. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German,
separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced
to look upon a scar. . . . As long as this gate is closed, as long as
this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question
alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind . .
. .
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek
prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek
liberalization, come here to this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

This speech was written by Peter Robinson, who was in his thirties at
the time. The speech was opposed by Colin Powel (Four Star General), George Shultz (Secretary of State), Sen. Howard
Baker (the President’s Chief of Staff), and Tom Griscom (Director of White House Communications), they all said the language was too strong, too
offensive. but the President was told he could read that key line, or
skip it. The choice was his.History tells us he chose well.

We can be the people who build walls, or the people who tear them down.
It all comes down to fear, and courage, and these are not the property
of any political party. No matter what our politicians choose to build
or evoke, *we the people* can be people of reconciliation.

“For He has
committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2Cor5:19)

An excellent essay by Peter Robinson, telling the story of writing this famous speech.

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