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BEYOND VIETNAM: Why I am Against the War in Vietnam

A sermon delivered at Riverside Church on Apirl 4, 1967. Availible in full via Stanford University's Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project:  http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/top.htm This text represents excerpts of the last 15 minutes by Dr. Michael Sonnleitner, including departures from the printed script as heard on the audio-tape version and memorized by Dr. Sonnleitner. Note--terrorism has been substituted for communism as an update.
BEYOND VIETNAM: Why I am Against the War in Vietnam
By Martin Luther King Jr.

"...We as a nation must undergo a revolution of values...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the great 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 lay hand on the world order and say of war; "This way of settling differences is not just"... A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death... Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism...

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of TERRORISM and our proness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. TERRORISM stands as a judgement of our failure to make democracy real...The home that most Americans were raised inwas solidly structured, idealistically. Founded on the principles of our Judeo-Christian heritage: all men are equal; all men are brothers; all men are endowed by their Creator with rights that are neither law-given or man-made, they are God-given! What a marvelous foundation for any home! But America has strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only disappointment and disillusionment.

It seems as if I can hear God saying: "You are too arrogant! If you do not change your ways, I'll rise up and break the backbone of power and place it in the hands of a people who don't even know my name! Be still and know that I am God!" Stand up for Truth; Stand up for Justice; and stand up for Freedom.

This may mean having your 7-8 year old little child ask you "Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?" But I've long since learned that being a follower of Jesus Christ means taking up the cross. And my Bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter. Before the crown we wear is the cross we must bear. So bear it for Truth; bear it for Justice; and bear it for Freedom...

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overrideing loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies. This call for worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for a all-embracing and unconditional love for all of mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind....

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow to the alter of retaliation...we are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now... Now let us begin. Now let us reeducate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world... If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, alll over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters and rightiousness like a mighty stream."