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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/22/12

King Who Condemned US Wars Again Betrayed by War-Supporting Clergy's Praise

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We have just witnessed the annual birthday-highlighted betrayal of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with clergy leading the way - a betrayal of what King taught and was dedicated to when he was assassinated, namely, exposing the US overseas crimes against humanity for predatory investments that were draining away men, money and resources, and causing poverty and injustice at home.

With aircraft carriers off the coast of Iran, ever new act-of-war sanctions being put in place, and calls to bomb Iran crescendoing in Washington, some of us had foolishly thought that this year's King birthday observances might see a few prominent clerics calling attention to King's condemnation of US wars, long taboo in mainstream military-oriented America.

Organized religion in America has, for forty-five years, cooperated with the  understanding that no one shall mention that the great civil rights leader and national hero had denounced his government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world."

The buildup to war on Iran, the daily toll of human lives from military action in many Muslim nations, the invasions of Afghanistan , Iraq, Panama, Dominican Republic, etc., the CIA criminal and antidemocratic civil war creating activities, the continuation of the war in Vietnam war for eight years after King's murder, all needed the silent cooperation of clergy that King condemned as betrayal.

King's betrayers also betray those millions of innocents, who, in their own beloved countries, fall in harms way of heavily armed Americans and remain undefended by a US clergy busy praising and expressing love and gratitude for what King did for them, while it blackballs the King who worked to do the same for his equally loved brothers and sisters in countries under US attack.

Do all these many thousands of clergy imagine that no one significant will ever notice these betrayals? Do any of the elderly ministers, who knew King personally, not feel some bites of conscience?

It's hard to believe that Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Andrew Young, who had held the dying King in their arms and went on to high political office within the establishment, did not have to grit their teeth to be able to hold themselves back from speaking of King's condemnation of US wars at the unveiling of the King Monument last year.

Sincere antiwar scholars have long accepted that clergy adheres to a strictly conformist role in a society ruled covertly and overtly by the investment community consensus on Wall Street and the military-industrial complex through their control of all three branches of the government, of all important sources of information with power to disinform, of the Pentagon and of the vast secret functions of the CIA.

The sudden tempestuous 1967 King caused problems for religious leaders, implicating them in complicity for having never challenged pathetic lies justifying mass murder that King was  exposing. Ensconced in the national body politic, they have stonewalled on. Even today, to our knowledge, not a single congregation in the nation endorses King's condemnation of US wars.

Antiwar activists are always searching for clergy who have followed in the footsteps of King during his last year that provoked a national controversy long since carefully blacked out of public awareness.
This writer feels fortunate to know Father Paul Mayer, who worked with King, endorses the King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign, and was recently in Occupy Wall Street's Freedom Park making sure people knew of King's condemnation of US wars and predatory investments.

I am also lucky to have had the chance to chat briefly with Rev. Jeremiah Wright before hearing him speak at the Monthly Review 50th Anniversary, where he eloquently expounded on reasons solidly based on  history and King's teaching, why every sensitive person aware of the violent death of millions should want to consider what Wright was repeatedly shown crying out in video, "God damn America for its crimes against humanity."

But the most educating King learning experience spending hour and half with Riverside Church Head Minister William Sloan Coffin in 1982, while working under his guidance in the church tower's International Liaison Office in support of the UN 2nd Special Session on Disarmament .

Rev. Coffin's life had been intertwined with King's, and his trip to Hanoi as invited negotiator for the release of US POWs had antedated King's own involvement. Rev. Coffin had been jailed many times and finally convicted of conspiracy to counsel, aid, and abet resistance to the draft.

Coffin was a musician and former CIA officer in its Russian Department. I had performed on the first cultural exchange with the Soviet Union and shared his passion for the language. He was interested that I had been in Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis and on two other State Department run tours in Latin America during CIA and Pentagon actions in a half dozen countries in turmoil. I remember being struck by his insight as he reviewed the history of organized religion so often being on the side of repression and automatic opposition to revolution, noting that the revolutions of France, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and China had been anticlerical for the people's memory of the church having been hand maiden to conquering empires who produced the suffering that was the fertile ground for revolution in the first place. So impressive to hear this from a minster famous for physically interfering with government crime in the name of Jesus, who never doubted the role of the  Christian church in caring for society, but was  keenly aware that modern empires had used and perverted the church into materialism and as accessory to domination by powerful criminal elements.

I never saw him again, as I as spent most of the next  twenty years in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand (and returned a Buddhist).

During six years in Korea, I applied King's teaching and discovered things were not as I had been led to believe by President Truman and from conversation in church courtyard.  Koreans, including Korean Christians all know that American business interests had had President Theodore Roosevelt snub Koreans and recognize the Japanese occupation of Korea; that President Wilson had formally recognized Korea as Japanese territory (in all, making possible a brutal 40 occupation); that Americans had not fought the Japanese in Korea, coming in rather when Koreans had already accomplished their own politically democratic free Korea; that after unconscionably cutting the nation in two, had brought Singman Rhee in from Washington, who would set up a hated government, whose police and special forces would massacre (now fully UN documented) a couple of hundred thousand unionists, socialists, communists often along with their families in the South in the years before the army of the Northern government invaded and with little opposition overran all of the South, uniting Korea in the five weeks before the US invaded bringing death to three million and flattening every city but one in the North and South; that a severely militaristic North Korea is the result it having been bombed so mercilessly, threatened with the atom bomb, and strangled with tight international sanctions and economic blockade for nearly 60 years, while under continual barrage of anti-communist propaganda in Western media; that Rhee fled for his life after the war, and a series of military dictatorships prevailed under a heavy US Army presence until the mid 1980s; that in spite of all this deadly result many Korean Christians and their clergy feel the need to accept the international media version of American righteous protection of Koreans from communism.

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, in Germany & Sweden Einartysken,and in the US by Dissident (more...)

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