Saturday, August 31, 2013


Again this is from Trumpet of Conscience. Martin Luther King will get a bit of rest after this, but only because he wasn't the only one with the same message. Beware of seekers who try to work out the mysteries of this world and whatever comes next in public. :-)
The full text of this chapter was delivered by Dr. King as a Christmas sermon in Ebenezer Baptist Church at Atlanta, Georgia and was broadcast by the CBC as the final Massey Lecture, on Christmas Eve, 1967.

…I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many sheriffs, too many white citizens’ councilors, and too many Klansmen of the South to want to hate, myself; and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up before our most bitter opponents and say: “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 and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide to the unjust system, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, and so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration and we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.”

If there is to be peace on earth and goodwill toward men, we must finally believe in the ultimate morality of the universe, and believe that all reality hinges on moral foundations. Something must remind us of this as we once again standing the Christmas season and think of the Easter season simultaneously, for the two somehow go together; Christ came to show us the way. Men love darkness rather than the light and they crucified Him, and there on Good Friday on the Cross it was still dark, but then Easter came, and Easter is an eternal reminder of the fact that the truth-crushed earth will rise again. Easter justifies Carlyle in saying, “No lie can live for ever.” And so this is our faith, as we continue to hope for peace on earth and goodwill toward men” let us know that in the process we have cosmic companionship.

In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington. D.C., and talked to the nation about many things. Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had, and I must confess to you today that not long after talking about the dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare. I remember the first time I saw that dream turn into a nightmare, just a few weeks after I had talked about it. It was when four beautiful, unoffending, innocent Negro girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw my black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing to grapple with the Negroes’ problem of poverty. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that problem. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war in Vietnam escalating, and as I saw so-called military advisers, 16,000 strong, turn into fighting soldiers until today over 500,000 American boys are fighting on Asian soil. Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers. I still have a dream this morning that one day every Negro in this country, every colored person in the world, will be judged on the basis of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin, and every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. I still have a dream today that one day the idle industries of Appalachia will be revitalized, and the empty stomachs of Mississippi will be fill, and brotherhood will be more than a few words at the end of a prayer, but rather the first order of business on every legislative agenda. I still have a dream today that one day justice will roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream, I still have a dream today that in all of our state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with their God. I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more. I still have a dream today that one day the lamb and the lion will lie down together and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. I still have a dream today that one day every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low, the rough places will be made smooth and the crooked places straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. I still have dream that with this faith we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men. It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.
 I have a copy of the Anglican prayer book for New Zealand. Dr. King is included in their calendar of saints and good men and women worthy special commemoration. He is listed as a prophet. I believe he was just finding that prophetic voice and enlarging his ministry to include not only poor and disenfranchised of this country but the world when voice of the man was silenced in Memphis in 1968. His physical voice was silence but his words live on. Even if they aren’t included in the “official” mythology of this country.

Again, look at the history of the last fifty years. Not just Vietnam but all the rest. The deadly chickens that came home to roost in Iran in the late seventies. The malignant offspring of our intervention in the fifties. Our support for the torturers and oligarchs of Latin America from the seventies to the nineties. And oh how I would love to spend just five or ten minutes with Mitt Romney. I'd ask him how he could reconcile his Christian faith with the investments he took from Salvadoran oligarchs that helped them move assets out of the country so that they could live in comfort in the US and watch their country burn from the safety of this country. That might make an interesting conversation.

The support of dictators around the world who only had to murmur communism and subversion to get our attention and support. Saddam Hussein bay have been a murderous SOB but he played us and the Soviets like a bad violin for decades. We supported programs in the third world that forced their people off the land and tied up the land for export crops instead of food for the starving citizens who lived there.

I could go on. But, you have to wonder where we would be standing if that physical voice had not been stilled on that fatal April day. His words are a reminder that God, or the Goddess or the Creator or the Great Singer expects more from us than asking for personal prosperity, or believing that if we say the right words we’ll be saved. That all Creation is Holy and has been from the beginning. And that it’s more than just a backdrop for one interpretation of the sacred.

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