comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation
This is not an attempt
to make government of
One reason for
speaking now moves me to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out
of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the years 1964-1967. As I
walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I tried to offer
them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change
comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and
rightly so -- what about
Now, it should
be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and
Another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and 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, as a civil rights leader, I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
As I try to
delineate for you the road that leads from
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 victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and
brother to the suffering poor of
begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
End all bombing in North and
2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in
Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has
substantial support in
Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from
Part of our commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done.
As we counsel young
men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in
I say we must
enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more
disturbing. The war in
During the past
ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has
justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela.
This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the
counter-revolutionary action of American forces in
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
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. A true revolution of values will
soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and
present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on
life's roadside; but one day we must come to see that the whole
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 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 veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.
This call for a
world-wide 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 men. This oft misunderstood and 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 man. 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. This
Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is
beautifully summed up in the first epistle of
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone 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.
We must find
new ways to speak for peace in
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.