Our only dilemma is what will we be extremists for?
Hate or love?
God or State?
The preservation of injustice or the extension of justice which equates to equal human rights for all.
The clinging to the status quo is a form of willfully ignorant and cold hearted extremism.
Reverend King wrote from his jail cell:
Few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. Too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."'
If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twenty-first century.
King wondered if organized religion was too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world. He knew that "Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death."
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During one of my six trips to occupied Palestine since 2005, Mohammad Alatar, film producer of "The Iron Wall" addressed my group on an Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions tour through Jerusalem and to the village of Anata and the Shufat refugee camp.
We traveled through the very area where the prophet Jeremiah in the 6th century B.C. critiqued the conflict in the Mid East, which was already old news: "I hear violence and destruction in the city, sickness and wounds are all I see." [Jeremiah 6:7]
After we broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family in the Arabyia Peace Center, Mohammad Alatar said, "I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted Israel it would not harm Israel. After the USA and Russia, Israel is the third largest arms exporter in the world. It is a moral issue that the churches must address."
While he lived the FBI placed wiretaps on Reverend King's home and office phones and bugged his hotel rooms. By 1967, King had become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of U.S. foreign policy which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 [a year to the day before he was murdered] King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
"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." Rev. MLK
What a fine day it will be, when America and her Churches honors the Spirit of HUMANITY.
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