A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Monday, January 21, 2008

Movie Madness Monday 99: Freedom and Justice edition

I welcome you to a special edition of Movie Madness Monday. This week we revere one of the few American saints who have ever lived, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., whose passion for soul force and the effects that can be wrought by love of everyone, even one's enemies, are certainly lessons that I pray will resonate more loudly now than ever before. Amen.

This week, I would like for my readers to put their favorite quote by the Rev. Dr. King in the comments section, and this week, I will then post them back onto the main page. If you do not have a favorite quote, or all of the ones you know have already been posted, I encourage you to read some of the works of Dr. King, and find some new favorites.

So here's this week's Movie Madness Monday. Put your quotes in the comment section, please.

From Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

From Strength to Love, 1963: "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

From his Nobel Prize Address, 1964, and so applicable today: "Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau: 'Improved means to an unimproved end.' This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual 'lag' must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the "without" of man's nature subjugates the "within", dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.

"This problem of spiritual and moral lag, which constitutes modern man's chief dilemma, expresses itself in three larger problems which grow out of man's ethical infantilism. Each of these problems, while appearing to be separate and isolated, is inextricably bound to the other. I refer to racial injustice, poverty, and war."

From the "Letter from the Birmingham Jail": "I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their 'thus saith the Lord' far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I. compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

From a press statement in Selma, 1965: "I know you are asking today, 'How long will it take?' I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth pressed to earth will rise again.

"How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.

"How long? Not long, because you still reap what you sow.

"How long? Not long. Because the arm of the moral universe is lonk but it bends toward justice.

"How long? Not long, because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on.

"He has sounded forth the trumpets that shall never call retreat. He is lifting up the hearts of men before His judgment seat. Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him. Be jubilant, my feet. Our God is marching on!"

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At 1/21/08, 9:53 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching
spiritual death.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

At 1/21/08, 11:39 AM, Blogger Butterfly Angel said...

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

not sure when this was said but it resonates with me.


ps. I am working on the 'tag' from a few weeks ago!

At 1/24/08, 10:49 PM, Anonymous Magistra said...

"...I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. ...

"Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now."

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, April 4, 1967

Cynicism, death, national armies and false reasons... I read this speech for the first time last year and it still hits me in the gut.


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