Monday, January 19, 2009

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

He is a man I have long admired. And I admire him mainly for his positions against war and violence, not for his positions on civil rights, although he was correct on that issue also. But I wonder if we can ever end racism, without ending the violence of war first? Can we end poverty if we never learn to see our fellow humans as worthy of a good life as we are? Can we see our fellow humans as worthy if we still think it is okay to go and slaughter them for one reason or another?

This quote comes from a speech on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church. The full transcript and audio is at this link.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

………….We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Here are some more quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr:

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies---or else? The chain reaction of evil---hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars---must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who stated: "A government which spends more on its military than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

And, since this is bush’s last full day in office, here’s a quote for him:

"This is your farewell kiss, you dog!" Al-Zeidi shouted at Bush. "This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq."

I bet King would not approve of throwing shoes. I bet he would approve of the sentiment behind this action, though.

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