God's Politics

God's Politics


Duane Shank: King on War

posted by God's Politics

In early 1967, in a historic speech at New York City’s Riverside Church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently spoke of his opposition to the growing war in Vietnam and it’s effect on the domestic war on poverty. Forty years later, as we honor the birthday of Dr. King, let us reflect on his words for our time rather than the daily news headlines.

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. 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.

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 [Iraq]. 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.

I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission – a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men…?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

You can read the entire text and listen to an audio recording at Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence



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Daniel

posted January 16, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Called to speak for our enemies? I’d just like to point out that you would never hear such an idea given legitimate consideration on a political talking heads show or even in mainstream print media. *Sigh* The pulpit and all the rooms behind remain the ramparts of forgiveness and love, the last real castle in which our humanity is safe. If people of faith let the battlements fall to the pounding hammers – hammers of consumer myths, demonization of our neighbors, fear of risking ourselves – God help us….>



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Carl Copas

posted January 16, 2007 at 7:07 pm


Daniel, you might be interested in Bill Moyers’ plenary address at The National Conference for Media Reform. I believe it was delivered last week. you can Google it, and there’s even a clip on YouTube.>



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Daniel

posted January 16, 2007 at 8:02 pm


Thanks, Carl, I am a Bill Moyers fan!>



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Daniel

posted January 16, 2007 at 8:46 pm


Wow, that speech is long but worth the time. It breaks my heart to see what the Bush administration has done to public broadcasting. Heck, it breaks my heart that there is anything other than “public” broadcasting, being that frequency waves can only be described as a public commodity.>



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MB

posted January 16, 2007 at 10:33 pm


I’m to young to remember Rev. Dr. King, Jr. For me, he seems to have been on the right track as far as understanding what it means to be a Christian. I applaud him for standing up and voicing his opposition to so many things that speak against what Jesus so desired for each of us. We do need more leaders who have his values and his will and his understanding. It does not makes us a weaker nation to be compassionate. It does not makes us a weaker nation to “love our enemy” as Jesus so boldly spoke us to do in scripture. It is in our compassion and our hope that we offer hope to others. And when we are a light to the rest of the world, then we are the beacon that God desires from each and every one of us. We weren’t made in the image of God to bring destruction and death to others. We are to manifest in ourselves his likeness. His likeness is to lay our lives down for another. Thank you Dr. King for being a light in a dark world.>



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Carl Copas

posted January 17, 2007 at 12:21 am


Daniel, it is a long speech but it’s a powerful one. And I agree, the broadcasting waves belong to the Public, not big corporations.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 12:57 am


http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700253.htm is a statement by the president of the US Catholic Bishops about a moral way forward in Iraq.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 3:28 am


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/16/bush.iraq.ap/index.html is a CNN interview with the president. Excerpt is: “…”The message is that it’s a confusing message,” the president said. “It basically says to people, ‘Look, you conducted a trial and gave Saddam justice that he didn’t give to others. But then, when it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing.’ And it sent a mixed signal to the American people and the people around the world.” “And it just goes to show that this is a government that has still got some maturation to do,” Bush said in the interview, to be telecast Tuesday evening on PBS’ “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” My guess is that many of us on this blog are concerned about the succession of events in Iraq. What is best for the people of Iraq, which hopefully (in my view) was a significant part of the considerations by the administration as they sorted out what to do about the late dictator’s non-compliance with UN resolutions? What is best for US troops? What is best for the region and for progress in Palestine and Israel? My gut feeling is that US involvement to “force” its perceptions (“strict father model”) on the region will not succeed, long term. Any more successfully than the British succeeded in its attempts to force the colonies to support the British monarchy. We were “we” and they were “them”. I’m a pretty avid reader of American History, and I think I’m right, or about right, in this comparison.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 3:42 am


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/16/bush.iraq.ap/index.html is a CNN interview with the president. Excerpt is: “…”The message is that it’s a confusing message,” the president said. “It basically says to people, ‘Look, you conducted a trial and gave Saddam justice that he didn’t give to others. But then, when it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing.’ And it sent a mixed signal to the American people and the people around the world.” “And it just goes to show that this is a government that has still got some maturation to do,” Bush said in the interview, to be telecast Tuesday evening on PBS “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” My guess is that many of us on this blog are concerned about the succession of events in Iraq. What is best for the people of Iraq, which hopefully (in my view) was a significant part of the considerations by the administration as they sorted out what to do about the late dictator’s non-compliance with UN resolutions? What is best for US troops? What is best for the region and for progress in Palestine and Israel? My gut feeling is that US involvement to “force” its perceptions (“strict father model”) on the region will not succeed, long term. Any more successfully than the British succeeded in its attempts to force the colonies to support the British monarchy. We were “we” and they were “them”. I think I’m right, or about right, in this comparison. This is my third attempt to post this message.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 3:46 am


Sorry for the triple post… the first and second attempts to post the message were followed by a message that the message had not been posted.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 3:47 am


It happened again… the message goes something like this: “Unable to save comment: INSERT INTO HS_incoming_comment_log SET user = ‘godspolitics’, name = ‘Mike Hayes’, email = ‘hayesmike@InsightBB.com’, url = ”, message =>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 3:49 am


It happened again… I’ll stop trying>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 4:13 am


http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=action.display&item=060915_groundtruth is an October 2006 project by Sojourners on the fourth anniversary of the authorization of action against Iraq by the US congress. I think it is relevant, now.>



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Mike Hayes

posted January 17, 2007 at 5:03 am


http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/16/rice.mideast.ap/index.html is the CNN account of the trip by the US Secretary of State to the Middle East. An excerpt: “…Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said his government hopes the U.S. plans to turn around the situation in Iraq are successful, but he was plainly skeptical that the Iraqi government is up to the task…”. Hopefully something will work out to the advantage of the people of Iraq and of the US.>



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Joseph T

posted January 17, 2007 at 5:38 pm


Mike I’ve occasionally had similar problems trying to post comments. Pretty sure its a website related problem as I have not run into it elsewhere.Only advice is to save in a separate text document before you post, just in case. Always appreciate your thoughtful comments. Duane Thanks for publishing this speech.>



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suzanne

posted January 17, 2007 at 5:45 pm


Thank you Duane. All- This speech will take a little over 22 minutes to hear . . . but it is a word for today as much as it was a word for the 1960s. “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” 4 April 1967 -at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. M.L. King “>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b80Bsw0UG-U>



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MB

posted January 17, 2007 at 10:40 pm


suzanne, I listened it was most excellent – thank you for sharing. Absolutely a word for today as it was a word in the 60’s.>



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suzanne

posted January 18, 2007 at 4:13 pm


MB- You are welcome! Blessings- S>



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