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MARTIN LUTHER KING

Through the years I have spoken and written about my personal interaction with the Martin Luther King family.  I repeat once again that a great untold story is the life and influence of the famous Martin Luther King's father, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. or "Daddy KIng," as he is affectionately known.  Some day a book, drama, and/or film will be made about "Daddy King."  His son is more famous and he is honored this week for his words and work as a great American.

The quotes below come from a book,THE WORDS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., selected by Coretta Scott King, Newmarket Press, 1983.  A copy of this book was presented to me as a gift by a Loretto Catholic nun who played the organ at the funerals of both the son and the father in this case.  There are many reasons why Martin Luther King is admired by people worldwide, and the quotes below also indicate at how universal and true is his wisdom then and now.

"The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.  One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.  We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.  How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?"

"The greatest irony and tragedy of all is that our nation, which initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, is now cast in the mold of being an arch antirevolutionary.  We are engaged in a war that seeks to turn the clock of history back and perpetuate white colonialism."

"It is still one of the tragedies of human history that the 'children of darkness' are frequently more determined and zealous than the 'children of light.' "

"When evil men plot, good men must plan.  When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.  When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.  Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice."

"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: 'This way of settling differences is not just.'  This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.  A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

"The argument that nonviolence is a coward's refuge lost its force as its heroic and often perilous acts uttered their wordless but convincing rebuttal in Montgomery, in the sit-ins, on the freedom rides, and finally in Birmingham."

"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity."

"When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response.  I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.  Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality."

[Naturally the weakest links in the human chain will think this all ineffective and silly ideology.  But nonviolent Gandhi brought down the powerful, worldwide British Empire that had to yield to his words.  And Martin Luther King himself, using nonviolence, changed many of the basic patterns of law and practice in the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America.  That should be good enough for all the so-called military advocates and violence supporters.  Talk is cheap, the nonviolent accomplishments of Gandhi and King are fact.]

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