Monday, January 21, 2008

Missing MLK

We attended the city's 26th annual Martin Luther King celebration tonight, and were reminded again how one prophetic voice can reverberate across the years and create resonance in hearers of another era. The black minister who spoke was careful to NOT speak about King's iconographic "I Have a Dream" speech, but instead drew attention to three of his less renown addresses. His point was that King was interested in much more than just black liberation, and concerned himself with issues of poverty and justice for ALL (including the oppressor). Whatever King's personal failings may have been, he was in my mind a truly prophetic spirit. His speech forty years ago, "Beyond Vietnam," could have been delivered with equal relevance four years ago as we were launching our ill-advised war in Iraq, to the saving of untold lives and treasure. And when decades ago he cautioned the US against the three evils of militarism, racism, and consumerism he could just as well have been speaking to presidential candidates and party platforms in 2008. So tonight I too have a dream--a dream that instead of a War College to forward the cause of militarism we instead form a MLK Institute of Justice and Peace, studying concepts of nonviolent resistance, the worth of persons, and The Beloved Community.

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