Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King



(Video link)

Forty-one years ago today marks the anniversary one of the most poignant, courageous, and relevant speeches in the life of Martin Luther King. The (Beyond Vietnam) speech was a complete denunciation of the Vietnam War; he did so against the advice of his associates in the NAACP. But as Dr. King so aptly stated, “my conscience leaves me no other choice.”

With the Beyond Vietnam speech he expressed the view that civil rights was more than a black issue, nobody is free if we allow the rights of anyone to be abused. He was our conscience; his ideas embody what we pretend to be, what we wish to be. He championed the potential good in mankind and demanded that Christians live up to their namesake. He also realized that you couldn’t demonstrate against injustice in the cities of America and accept injustice as in our self-interest abroad.

Forty-one years ago Dr. King called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” (we have done nothing to relinquish that title). He stated, “ silence is betrayal, to not speak out against the forces of racism, extreme materialism and blatant militarism is unconscionable.” He also stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death” and “those that make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

This speech is like ripping today’s headlines from the newspaper; the war in Iraq is a reprise of Vietnam. There is no question what Dr. King’s position on Iraq would be. He spoke with such clarity and truth. As a visionary and orator Martin Luther King was without equal.

Richard Hansen

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