Monday, January 21, 2013


This from the “Beyond Vietnam” speech was made one year to day, before he was assassinated, April 4, 1968.  One can listen to it online.
He continued to speak against the three headed monster, war-poverty-racism.  This excerpt below is taken from a lecture series given by Dr. Martin Luther King, the last Nov.- Dec. he was alive, in 1967.  It was carried by Canada’s CBC as part of their yearly Massey lectures—and is still not well known in the USA.  He refers to the Vietnam War, but from then till now, there’s always been a”present war.”
Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. 
            As if the weight of such a commitment were not enough, another burden of responsibility was place upon me in 1964: I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission—a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.”  This is a calling which takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.  To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war.  We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers and sisters.
{Full series of 5 lectures available in the book, "The Trumpet of Conscience" from local library or Amazon}
Not always celebrated--Martin Luther King Jr is arrested in Montgomery Alabama, 9-4-58--Photo by  Bettman-Corbis
He publicly confronted war as partner to racism and poverty, and therefore ever more courageously risked death, at the hands of those who’ve always believed more in war than the truth of the Bible.  And it appears that every year that passes since his assassination, the chickens of violent wars are coming home to roost.
Instead of compassion, racial justice, the Beloved Communtiy, and the Merciful Jesus, we now have a Remington .223 caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, and/or Glock 9 mm hand guns--Dispassionate Death Dispatchers. What images does society adore; what messages are preached far & wide?  So what can go through your mind when you’re killing kids you’ve never before met, in rapid fire?
We like to think of ourselves as a Christian nation—but this is the real central premise, whether with assault rifle or nuclear bomb: I have the right to kill with mass precision to preserve my person, my self-interests.  Good Christians, meet the anti-Christ.  {If we really believed in Jesus Christ we’d have an Army of None, and no assault weapon glorification proliferation.}

One of Ande McCarthy's wax paper Christmas stars--Dec 2012
hrist has come to lead us in the opposite direction than this worldly wisdom wielder’s “self preservation is the prime directive.”  This tremendous gift, the way of Jesus, comes down to us from Old Testament to New.  “Thou shalt not kill,” is perfected in Jesus, “love your enemy, pray for them that persecute you.”  Our society with its specialization service industries, consumerism, weaponry, and community fragmented in a deluge of individualized mass-media, to experience this love of Jesus, needs to make a further clear commitment, “Thou shalt not pay for, or enable, others to do your killing.” 
April 15 Tax Day should become a day of discernment, a day to cut out the fatted calf of justified violence, and dedicate our first fruits to creative endeavors which nourish justice and peace.
Dr. Martin Luther King calls us to follow Jesus in the prayer and practice of nonviolent love of friend and enemy—not an easy teaching, but our true Gospel commission.  As Dr. King said,  We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering.  We will meet your physical force with soul force.  Do to us what you will, we will still love you.  We cannot in conscience obey your unjust laws. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good.

At March on Washington, August, 1963

 Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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