Monday, January 17, 2011

Spiritual death and hope for life:
In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

This is not the retroactively sanitized and sainted King we are urged annually to remember. We still need to listen to him.

We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

King didn't give up.

And I have not lost faith. I'm not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven't lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing "We Shall Overcome" because Carlyle was right: "No lie can live forever." ...

With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" With this faith, we'll sing it as we're getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don't know about you, I ain't gonna study war no more.

Full text of this speech delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967 is available here.


Darlene said...

Some idiot (sorry, I can't remember the name because I refused to read the article) is claiming that King would have approved of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Both wars were the opposite of his message and he would most certainly oppose them, were he here.

janinsanfran said...

The speech was by Dr. Jeh Johnson who is General Counsel of the Department of War (Defense). The entire text is here. It contains interesting anecdotes about the King legacy -- and what I consider a culpably naive view of what US troops occupying other peoples' countries are doing. The last bit invokes President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech, echoing the conventional sophistry so comforting to the powerful that "war is peace."

Darlene said...

Thank you, Jan. After making my comment I found the source. Dr. Johnson's premise is outrageous.

We didn't go to San Francisco when I was there over the Christmas holiday. With the exception of 2 trips to the mall in Pleasanton, I didn't leave the house. Sorry I wasn't able to see you this time either.

I hope to return in June for the graduation of my oldest granddaughter. Perhaps San Francisco will be on our itinerary this time.

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