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February 07, 2006


You're a tool.

You act as though Coretta Scott King lived some quit life in rural Georgia. She was an activist, who care deeply about the struggle for equal rights for the poor and minorities, as well as the use of non-violence methods to end struggles. What better way to honor her than standing up for what she dedicated her life too, and lost so much in the struggle for.

It would be unwise to believe that she would have disagreed with almost anything that Joseph Lowery said on that pulpit. It's much easier to appreciate the woman (which I'm not sure how much you really do since this is the main point that you get out of the celebration of her life) and ignore the message.

You say "Compare this to the best of Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy -- winning hearts and minds through peaceful, nonviolent resistance and finding what people have in common, rather than what separates them."

But MLK was opposed to the Vietnam war -

In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech (1967), MLK spoke about both non-violence (in terms of his opposition to the Vietnam war) and it's affect on social programs (especially on young black men who were being drafted for the war). He spoke about multiple reasons he was against the war, but tied the spending to the war to reductions in social programs that were targeted to help the poor (regardless of race, he noted that the poor were disproportionally affected by the war: "It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We are taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia or East Harlem... I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.").

MLK gave another reason for protesting the Vietnam war - he would argue for non-violence when campaigning for civil rights / social change... "But they asked, and rightly so, "What about Vietnam?" They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted...For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent."

When Lowery and MLK formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, their motto was: "To save the soul of America".

MLK said that he felt that to ignore the war was to risk the soul of America.

MLK said that "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. 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, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth...The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just...A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just.""

MLK spoke about a call to a fellowship of man, our loving one's neighbor (and this was in the time of the Vietnam war): "This call for worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind...This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love on another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us." Let us hope that his spirit will become the order of the day."

Issues about discrimination, opportunities for the poor or people of color, war and non-violent approaches to social change, etc. - these are the legacies of MLK AND Coretta Scott King. To mischaracterize them is unfortunate.

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