Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”

In part because many of the staff of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) began working from home during the COVID pandemic, Witness Wednesday began to meet using Zoom. This is an opportunity for FCNL and supporters to worship together. You are welcome to attend. See: Witness Wednesday

Someone is designated to offer a subject or quotation for the worship sharing.

Following was yesterday’s prompt for reflection and related query. The quote is from Martin Luther King’s speech, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

Prompt for Reflection
“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of [those] who are called the opposition…The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve.” 
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Query: When you hear the phrase, “it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves,” what or who comes to mind?

On the anniversary of the date of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, April 4, 1968, I wrote the blog post. What happened in Indianapolis the day Martin Luther King was assassinated

Exactly one year before his death, on April 4, 1967, King delivered a speech at the New York City Riverside Church titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” That is the speech referred to above for worship sharing.

King opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home. The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. He summed up this aspect by saying, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”[205] He stated that North Vietnam “did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had arrived in the tens of thousands”,[206] and accused the U.S. of having killed a million Vietnamese, “mostly children.”[207] King also criticized American opposition to North Vietnam’s land reforms.[208]

King’s opposition cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, Billy Graham,[209] union leaders and powerful publishers.[210] “The press is being stacked against me”, King said,[211] complaining of what he described as a double standard that applauded his nonviolence at home, but deplored it when applied “toward little brown Vietnamese children.”[212] Life magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi“,[205] and The Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”[212][213]

Martin Luther King Jr. Wikipedia

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