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The People's Budget

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  • Unlike Paul Ryan's almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People's Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.
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  • Rep. Paul Ryan's Wall Street Protection Act
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Jeffrey Sachs, Huffington Post

Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People's Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan's almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People's Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.

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There are now four budget positions on the table. Far to the right is Paul Ryan's plan, an artless war on the poor that would take a meat-cleaver to Medicaid (health care for the poor), food stamps, support for child care, the environment, and the rest of government other than the military, Social Security, and Medicare (that is, until 2022, when the slashing would begin on Medicare coverage as well). Ryan would keep taxes below 20 percent of GDP (specifically, 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021), at the cost of destroying entitlements programs and other civilian spending.

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FY2012 Progressive Budget, Rep Raul M. Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison, Congressional Progressive Caucus
Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison sent a memo to House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen April 6 outlining the Caucus' top budget priorities. The letter and attached budget information are available at this link.

Rep. Paul Ryan's Wall Street Protection Act, E. J. Dionne, Seattle Times | WA
Rep. Paul Ryan's outrageous budget proposal, built on heaping sacrifice onto the poor, slashing scholarship aid to college students and bestowing benefits on the rich, ought to force middle-of-the-roaders to take sides, writes E.J. Dionne Jr. No moderate can possibly support Ryan's plan.

Section(s): 

The Nowhere Man

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  • In so many critical ways, he has been the Nowhere Man, the absence of what was so seemingly present when he was elevated to his current station.
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  • I am, personally, waiting with bated breath for the next battery of slogans to be deployed by the Obama campaign. No, seriously, I am. Nowhere Man 2012: Because Everyone Else Is Worse. That'll send them racing to the polls.
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William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

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President Barack Obama records his weekly address from a UPS customer center as part of the new public-private Green Fleet Partnership, April 1, 2011. (Photo: Pete Souza / White House Photo)

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So, yeah, Obama is in. The President of the United States officially threw his hat into the 2012 election ring on Monday morning (April 4), and the nation reacted with a resounding, "Oh."

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What a mess.

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It wasn't even two and a half years ago. Can you believe it? Two and a half years ago, there was a detonation of optimism that echoed across the country once the returns were in on that November night. People took to the streets here in Boston, literally banging pots and pans together as they danced and shouted in celebration. The scene was repeated in city after city and town after town, and even the "mainstream" media gushed from election night to Inauguration Day about the spectacular moment in American history we were all witnessing together.

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The Peasants Need Pitchforks

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  • "The top 1-percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles," Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz concludes, "but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99-percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1-percent eventually do learn. Too late."
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  • Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
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  • No Other Way Out
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Robert Scheer, Truthdig

Protesters yell at people looking out from the windows of an AIG building in New York during a 2009 rally against government bailouts for corporations. AP / Jason DeCrow

A "working class hero," John Lennon told us in his song of that title, "is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you're so clever and classless and free/ But you're still f*cking peasants as far as I can see."

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the super wealthy controls 40-percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: "Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1-percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income -- an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

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Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

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No Other Way Out, Chris Hedges, TruthDig

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  • We will not stop the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we will not end this slaughter of innocents, unless we are willing to rise up as have state workers in Wisconsin and citizens on the streets of Arab capitals. Repeated and sustained acts of civil disobedience are the only weapons that remain to us.
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  • We must be willing to accept personal discomfort, to put our bodies in the way of the machine, if we hope to expose the lies of war and blunt the abuse by corporate profiteers. To do nothing, to refuse to act, to be passive, is to be an agent of injustice and to be complicit in murder.
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  • Never Forget The Power of the Strike
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  • Occupy Washington to End the Wars
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Section(s): 

Analysis of the Global Insurrection Against Neo-Liberal Economic Domination and the Coming American Rebellion

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  • If you think what’s happening in Egypt won’t happen within the United States, you’ve been watching too much TV. The statistics speak for themselves.
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  • Revolution Roundup #3
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David DeGraw, Amped Status/David DeGraw

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Scott Schneider for this contribution.

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

In previous Revolution Roundups, before we were knocked offline, we featured mass protests by the people of Ireland, Italy, Britain, Austria, Greece, France and Portugal, as the Global Insurrection contagion spread throughout Europe. And now, as we have seen over the past month, North African and Middle Eastern nations have joined the movement as the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, Gabon, Mauritania, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and Algeria have taken to the streets en masse.

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The connection between this latest round of uprisings and the prior protests throughout Europe is one the mainstream media is not making. We are witnessing a decentralized global rebellion against Neo-Liberal economic imperialism. While each national uprising has its own internal characteristics, each one, at its core, is about the rising costs of living and lack of financial opportunity and security. Throughout the world the situation is the same: increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, as price inflation on food and basic necessities is soaring.

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Revolution Roundup #2: As Mass Rebellion Spreads Throughout Europe, Americans Dance With The Stars, David DeGraw, Amped Status

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  • The Global Insurrection Against Banker Occupation (GIABO) rages on…
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  • Over the past few days the people of Ireland, Italy, Britain, Austria and Portugal have all held massive demonstrations against the Global Banking Cartel.
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David Harvey’s Message for American Socialists

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  • A review of David Harvey’s latest work, The Enigma of Capital
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  • It is important to note that what Harvey is proposing is part of a two-step process.  His first book of 2010 was a companion guide to Marx’s Capital Volume 1 in which he encouraged a new generation of activists to make a critical reading of this old radical classic.  Now, in Enigma, he offers a new vision of Marxism that every leftist in America would do well to examine.
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  • Citizens must be better educated about U.S. economic options
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Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Way back in 1888 no less an authority than Frederich Engels identified the critical problem facing the American socialist movement.  America was, he argued, “that sectarian land,” a place where all the theoretical errors would have to be worked out perilously in practice.  As a result, Engels yearned for a movement that combined the American fervor with the European theoretical clarity.  120 years later, perhaps Engels’ American problem may finally be resolved in the form of David Harvey’s latest work, The Enigma of Capital (Oxford University Press, 2010).

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The Engima is a hybrid work that fits neatly into the growing literature about the Economic Crisis that ensued in 2008 while also claiming a place in the Marxist theoretical tradition.  However, what the book most clearly offers is a call to create a new kind of socialism through a renovated Marxism adapted to the challenges created by 21st century capitalism.

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It is important to note that what Harvey is proposing is part of a two-step process.  His first book of 2010 was a companion guide to Marx’s Capital Volume 1 in which he encouraged a new generation of activists to make a critical reading of this old radical classic.  Now, in Enigma, he offers a new vision of Marxism that every leftist in America would do well to examine.

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Citizens must be better educated about U.S. economic options, Alex Alben, Seattle Times | WA

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  • U.S. political culture and our education system have roles to play in the dire straits of our economy.
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  • Some ideas for building a better, more informed national consensus.
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  • Austerity - a sure path to a bad economy
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How much did YOU pay for war this year?

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Robert Greenwald, Brave New Foundation

Did you know that the Afghanistan War alone costs us roughly $2 billion per week? When you include the Iraq War and other military spending, it turns out that more than 27 percent of your income taxes will be spent on war.

We want our money back.

To find out how much of your money has gone to fund a war that’s not making us safer, visit our new Afghanistan War Tax Calculator.  Enter how much income you earned this year and we'll give you an I.O.U. for what you paid that you can forward to your Member of Congress. Ask for your money back!

Forty-three years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, the "demonic, destructive suction tube" he decried is still stealing our national wealth, and it's never more apparent than it is on Tax Day. Help us send a message to Congress that we want it stopped, now.

We’ll be taking your I.O.U.’s to Congress next week to make your demands heard for an end to the war. Use our Tax Day Calculator to demand a better use for your tax dollars than futile, endless war.

Related:

How is the war economy working for you?, Veterans for Peace
“How Is The War Economy Working For You?” is a national campaign organized by Veterans For Peace<http://www.veteransforpeace.org/>. We are asking Americans to ask themselves how the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the expanding war in Pakistan has affected the economy at home.

Wars - They don’t come cheap, Ezra Klein, Washington Post | DC

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  • Let's get one thing straight: Wars cost money. Even the small ones.
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  • And that's just the economics of it. We're not even yet talking about the costs of the spiritual, mental, political, health care, social, legal, psychological, and other collateral damage.
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  • How is the war economy working for you?
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War Is a Racket ~ Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, Retired, Lexrex.com<>

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  • General Butler is a Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
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  • What business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.
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  • How's the War Economy Working for You?
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  • We Can’t Afford War
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What Kind Of People Worship Here? Who Is Their God?

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  • Homily in Remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, April 4, 1993, at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, TN.
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  • From what demented dimension of the universe, from what polluted place in the soul comes the willingness to destroy another?
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  • A world mired in so-called "justified" homicide does not know what to do with the nonviolent Dr. Martin Luther King, no more than Christian churches, imprisoned within a historical spiral of "justified" homicide of their own making, know what to do with the nonviolent Jesus Christ.
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Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Gary Kohls

Shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. commented, "While the question, 'Who killed President Kennedy?' is important, the question, 'What killed him?' is more important." Today on the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, I think it is important to publicly ask the question, "Who Killed Martin Luther King?" because a correct answer to that question may tell something about the workings of this society that could be useful for correcting the evils of poverty, racism and militarism that bedevil it. But, I believe, here at the place where he was slain 25 years ago today, it is more important to ask, "What killed Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Humanity is a historical phenomenon. Every person and every generation are partly the result of the persons and generations that preceded them. Whatever killed Martin Luther King did not first make its appearance on April 4, 1968. Whatever it is that sent that bullet speeding toward this balcony 25 years ago has a past that stretches back to the infancy of time. Soon after the first rays of the first sunrise appear over the horizon of history, there is homicide. In Book One of the Bible Cain kills Abel. Homicide is the first sin outside of Paradise. In the beginning there is death by the hand of another.

Whatever killed Abel, killed Martin Luther King. Whatever killed Martin Luther King killed Jesus Christ. And, whatever killed Jesus Christ, is what killed every person who has ever been shot, stabbed, poisoned, gassed, or burnt to death by a fellow human being. From what demented dimension of the universe, from what polluted place in the soul comes the willingness to destroy another?

The man who was murdered on this balcony 25 years ago unreservedly committed his entire adult life to the war against the loathsome spirit of violence. Whatever that perverted reality is that deceived Cain, against that debased spirit Martin Luther King was pitted in unrelenting combat. There is no Martin Luther King to be remembered, there is no Martin Luther King to be studied, there is no Martin Luther King to be honored who is not irrevocably vowed to nonviolence.

Dr. King taught: “We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means...Many people cry, 'Peace, Peace' but they refuse to do the things that make for peace...The stage of history is replete with the chants and choruses of the conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace.”

A world mired in so-called "justified" homicide does not know what to do with the nonviolent Dr. Martin Luther King, no more than Christian churches, imprisoned within a historical spiral of "justified" homicide of their own making, know what to do with the nonviolent Jesus Christ. The prevailing strategy in both cases is to be calculatingly inattentive to the rock-like belief both had in nonviolence. The hope of this strategy is to extol the person while dismissing his teaching. The problem with this approach is that a violent Jesus or a violent Martin Luther King is as much a spiritual optical illusion as is a nonviolent Hitler. Nonviolence is that without which there is no Martin Luther King and there is no Jesus Christ. What entered and took control of Cain never entered and took control of Jesus of Nazareth or of Martin Luther King.

When we honor a person we automatically honor that to which that person devoted a life. The only Martin Luther King is the man who said and lived: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, we will still love you. We cannot in conscience obey your unjust laws. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good.”

To separate Martin Luther King from this central piece of his theology is like separating Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. It is to fictionalize him. Human integrity and ordinary decency requires that what a person gives his or her life for be united with that life whenever it is called to mind. Dr. King always gave voice to his great truth without equivocation: “I'm committed to nonviolence absolutely, I am just not going to kill anybody, whether it's in Vietnam or here...If nonviolent protest fails this summer, I will continue to preach and teach it...1 plan to stand by nonviolence...(because) only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chain of violence in the world and lead toward community where people live together without fear.”

In no way was Martin Luther King, because he espoused nonviolence, trying to avoid the risk of suffering. In fact, perhaps, no one can fathom the agonia that he endured during those 13 years from Montgomery to Memphis, for who could possibly know what it must have been like to live 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a loaded gun at one's head and at the heads of one's family - and to live that way in public and without recourse to the protection of aimed body guards. What Martin Luther King called the "ugly voice" on the telephone and countless death-threat letters were the torture chamber in which he had to daily choose nonviolence. There was no attempt in his nonviolence to escape the risk of suffering.

He accepted this risk because he understood that (both) “violence and nonviolence agree that suffering can be a very powerful social force. But there is a difference. Violence says suffering can be a powerful social force by inflicting it on somebody else, so this is what we do in war...The nonviolent say that suffering becomes a powerful social force when you willingly accept the violence on yourself, so that self-suffering stands at the center of the nonviolent movement... There is no easy way to create a world where people can live together...but if such a world is created...it will be accomplished by persons who have the language to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflicting suffering on others...Unearned suffering is redemptive.”

For Martin King nonviolence and the vulnerability to suffering it were not just an external political strategy. They were a moral imperative based on his understanding of human nature, the needs of humanity and the truth of God.

As an axial moral requirement of existence, nonviolence reached into every area of human life. "Those who adhere to or follow the philosophy of nonviolence,” he asserted, "must follow a consistent principle of non-injury. They must consistently refuse to inflict injury upon another." This strenuous and ceaseless effort to forgive rather than retaliate, to refuse to return hurt for hurt, to try to overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth was not made, however, merely to be personally righteous before God. Martin King was a man for others and he believed nonviolence was the only way to free people from the iron grip of that depraved spirit that has made history a bloody butcher's block. He was convinced that: “Humanity is waiting for something other that blind imitation of the past...1f we want truly to advance a step further, if we want to turn over a new leaf and really set a new man afoot, we must begin to turn humanity away from the long and desolate night of violence. May it not be that the new person that the world needs is the nonviolent person?...A dark, desperate, sin-sick world waits for this new kind of person, this new kind of power.”

Unlike the powerless, effete caricatures of nonviolence that are portrayed so often in various media, the nonviolence of Martin King was a nonviolence infused with energy and effectiveness. For him it was self-evident that there was only one reality and therefore what was morally correct could not ultimately be impractical. Dr. King realized with the clarity of the Hebrew prophets that nothing was more powerful or pragmatic than following the will of God, which meant following the way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies. He preached: “We have power, a power that cannot be found in bullets and guns, but we have power. It is a power as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi...The Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence is one of the most potent weapons available...”

“Evil may so shape events that Caesar may occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into AD and BC so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by His name...God is more fundamental than sin or evil. Good Friday must give way to Easter Sunday.”

However, it was not without opposition that Martin King stood firm in his commitment to nonviolence. As time passed an unusual crisis occurred: white people and black people, prestigious people and media people, began attacking him, even demeaning him, because he was nonviolent! This happened not only in the context of the Civil Rights Movement but also within the larger society when on April 4, 1967, one year to the day before he was to be murdered in Memphis, he delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City what many consider to be one of the strongest and most cogent denunciations ever made of the Vietnam War. But through it all, Martin Luther King never wavered in his adherence to nonviolence. When volley after volley of protest against his position battered him from every direction, he responded: “In recent months several people have said to me: ‘Since violence is the new cry, isn't there a danger you will lose touch with the people and be out of step with the times if you don't change your views on nonviolence?’ My answer is always the same...Occasionally in life one develops a conviction so precious and meaningful that he will stand on it till the end. That is what I have found in nonviolence. I have decided I am going to do battle for my philosophy. You ought to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it until the end of your days. I can't believe that God wants us to hate. I am tired of violence. What kind of nation is it that applauds nonviolence whenever Negroes face white people in the streets of the United States but applauds violence and burning and death when these same Negroes are sent to the fields of Vietnam?”

What Martin King is here communicating, as strange as it sounds to the modem ear, as hostile as it appears to contemporary standards of morality, is nothing other than the undistorted echo of original Christianity. Today the ancient Christian truth of nonviolence sounds impossible, threatening or even evil to the average Christian conscience. Today, most Christian pastors, unlike the Rev. Martin Luther King, would prefer to speak on almost any subject rather than confront their congregations with the truth of Jesus' nonviolence. Their avoidance tactics in this area are legion. Yet, the Christian pastor should be the very one who discerns and champions Gospel truth before others see it or even desire to see it. As Martin King declared in his magnificent anti- Vietnam War speech: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”  But, he was well aware that “the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony.”  One can only conjecture in sorrow what the texture and contour of humanity would be like in our time, if, for the last 1700 years, in response to an ever-expanding edifice of justifications for "Christian" homicide, pastors had accepted their "vocation of agony" and spoken as the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke, as the original apostles and pastors spoke about violence.

It is a telling fact of history that, while Dr. King declared “eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism”, when the roll is called of religious leaders of yesteryear, one will not find many with such a commitment. When one then turns and focuses on the modem era and sees that by the year 2000, one-third of the minorities in the United States will be unemployable, when one sees tens of millions of black and white people wasting away in carcinogenically-drenched ZIP codes of poverty amidst unprecedented affluence and when one sees a military budget that annually devours hundreds of billions of dollars of the best resources a society possesses, one then knows with moral certainty, that on the whole, those who claim contemporary spiritual authority have not, like Dr. King, embraced their "vocation of agony" and vowed “eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism..” At this point, one can only recall the soul-chilling words of Martin Luther King during the terrible days of the Birmingham campaign: “I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. I have looked at her beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlay of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over again I have found myself asking: ‘What kind of people worship here? Who is their God?’”

Now it is precisely here, I believe, that Martin Luther King has made his greatest contribution to humanity. While he is normally and properly remembered for his colossal role in ending the evil of segregation in the United States, I believe his pre-eminent contribution to history will be seen to be that he publicly clarified the authentic nature of the Deity for a humanity given over to the blasphemy of identifying the ghoulish god of homicide with the one true God.

God is the heart of the matter no matter what the matter is. If our notion of "what kind of God is God" is wrong, then our ideas on what God expects of us will be wrong. If our understanding of the nature of God is erroneous, then our understanding of the purpose for which we have been given existence will be erroneous.

The God of Martin Luther King is the same God as the God who is proclaimed by Jesus Christ and He is a God who rejects what a large part of Christianity and what a large part of the other religions of the world teach as acceptable human behavjor. When reflecting on what was the nature of the Ultimate Good, Dr. King said: “What is the summum bonum of life? I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, 'God is love.' He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God." But, for Martin King, the New Testament teaching that the Eternal God is Love, Jesus' teaching that the Almighty God is Abba, carries immediate and imperative obligations toward one's fellow human beings. It means, he insisted, that: “There is no graded scale of essential worth (among people); there is no divine right of another. Every human being has etched in his or her personality the indelible stamp of the Creator. Every person must be respected because God loves him or her. The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin or his social position. Human worth lies in relatedness to God. An individual has value because he or she has value to God.”

It was this consciousness that "God is love," "Father of all," that produced that two-edged sword of a question to the pastors of Birmingham:  “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God?” From the Gospel it was obvious to Rev. Martin Luther King that “we love people not because we like them, not because their attitudes and ways appeal to us, but because God loves them." "Christian" racism, militarism and systematically-maintained poverty were therefore choices based on a contempt for Jesus and for the God who is love. They were theologies that tried to place the demonic under Divine patronage. They were contorted Christian stances that on the one hand worshiped the Father and Jesus and on the other hand refused to love those whom the Father and Jesus loved as the Father and Jesus taught they should be loved.

Martin Luther King's questions, "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God?" did not die on April 4, 1968. Today they crisscross the Christian churches of this planet from Johannesburg to Manila, from Sarajevo to Belfast, from Moscow to Lviv, from Washington to San Salvador. And, his questions today do not stand in judgment only at the portals of Christian churches. In a country and in a world where the production and purchase of instruments of human destruction is the biggest business going; in a country and in a world that has by commercial mass media saturated the psyches of people with violent and hostile images, memories and emotions; in a country and in a world choking on legal and illegal homicide all of which is endorsed by some religion or another; in such a country and in such a world Martin Luther King's questions are not only pertinent and pressing for the Christian churches but are also an acute spiritual challenge to the integrity of all religions that, in the name of God, justify for their constituencies participation in the fiendish spirit of homicide.

Ten days before his death, Dr. King addressed the 68th Annual Convention of the Rabbinical Assembly. He was introduced by one of the great Rabbis and one of the most profound spiritual writers of the 20th Century - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. In his introduction Rabbi Heschel said: “Where does moral leadership in America come from today?.Where does God dwell in America today? Is He at home with those who are complacent, indifferent to other people's agony, devoid of mercy? Where in America today do we have a voice like the voice of the prophets of Israel? Martin Luther King is a sign God has not forsaken the United States of America. His mission is sacred. Martin Luther King is a voice, a vision and a way.”

Rabbi Heschel knew well the Spirit and the Truth to which Martin Luther King was committed. He knew well that Martin Luther King was "committed to nonviolence absolutely" and to a God who loves and values each and every person. But, Rabbi Heschel said to the Assembly of Rabbis, "I call to every Jew to hearken to his voice, to share his vision, to follow his way."

Today at the spot where 25 years ago this very hour Martin Luther King was assassinated, I echo Rabbi Heschel's words, and I call upon every Christian pastor, every Christian, to hearken to Martin Luther King's voice, to share Martin Luther King's vision, to follow Martin Luther King's way, because his voice is the voice of Jesus, because his vision is the vision of Jesus and because his way is the way of Jesus; ­because his voice, vision and way are the voice, vision and way of God.

Pastors, Christians, must choose between the homicidal and violent spirit of Cain and the Holy and Nonviolent Spirit of Christ. Christians, pastors, must not continue the pretense that they can serve two masters. One must serve either the infernal spirit in Cain or the Divine Spirit in Christ. To choose one is to betray the other.

So on this Palm Sunday, April 4, 1993, when all over the world Christians again hear the reading from the 9th chapter of the prophet Zechariah:

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Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace to the nations, his kingdom will stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the limits of the earth.

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On this Palm Sunday, I ask you, "Who is your king?" At this most solemn moment, only minutes before the time when, 25 years ago, Martin Luther King was killed on this balcony, I ask you to consciously decide: "Who is your God?"

Today I invite you to give your strength to that Spirit to whom Martin Luther King gave his strength. Today I invite you to give your life to that God to whom Martin Luther King gave his life.

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