Monday, January 16, 2006
MLK Jr. April 4, 1967 Speech: "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence"
This is beyond spooky: I swear, you could replace the word Vietnam for Iraq and MLK Jr.'s words ring just as true today as they did in 1967. The Rev King Jr, at the Riverside Chrurch in NYC, outlined the 7 reasons why as a minister focused on civil rights he must now turn his attention to the Vietnam War: "I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their govt's policy, especially in time of war. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land." Please read the speech in its entirity, and let's never forget the power of MLK Jr.'s words as they still ring so true today... perhaps today more than ever in recent years.