Though based on the pacifist teachings of Jesus, Christianity has been an accomplice to more wars and genocides than any other religion, a paradox reflected in the contradictory views of 16th Century protestant reformer Martin Luther and 20th Century civil rights martyr Martin Luther King Jr., as Gary G. Kohls explains.
Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream” – a half century after he delivered his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial – have been clouded by the prospect of a U.S. military strike against Syria, as President Obama seems to have forgotten that King’s message went beyond race, as Laura Finley notes.
On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the inspiration from King’s non-violent civil disobedience has spread around the world, including to Palestine where much of the resistance to Israeli repression is following King’s guidebook, writes Jeff Cohen.
Exclusive: The Right’s hostility to “guv-mint” is not new. It traces back to the South’s fears that any activism by the national government, whether building roads or providing disaster relief, would risk federal intervention against slavery and later against segregation, perhaps even the end of white supremacy, reports Robert Parry.
Placing bombs among civilians – as happened at the Boston Marathon – is an inexcusable act, but Americans invite future violence when they ignore how their government’s acts of brutality abroad drive people to extremism, a half-century-old lesson from Martin Luther King Jr., as Jose-Antonio Orosco recalls.
Besides battering down the walls of racial segregation, Martin Luther King Jr. demanded that America address its economic barriers to fairness and justice, a challenge that may have earned him even more contempt from the power structure, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
Despite originating in Jesus’s messages of peace, Christianity has been arguably the world’s most violent religion with its adherents committing genocide on all continents except unpopulated Antarctica. Again and again, Christian churches have blessed warfare, but a new generation is objecting, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Exclusive: In the movie J. Edgar, director Clint Eastwood glosses over the long train of abuses committed by the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover so there’s more time for a psychological profile. But James DiEugenio says that leaves a dishonest impression of this violator of American rights.
In the holiday season, many Christians take pride in helping the poor – by donating food and toys – but U.S. religious leaders have stayed in the background of challenges to an inequitable economic system, leaving that Jesus work to mostly secular young people of the Occupy movement, the Rev. Howard Bess observes.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is fittingly located between the monuments to Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. But historian William Loren Katz asks which version of the martyred civil rights leader will be remembered, the gentle advocate for racial tolerance or the fierce activist for peace and justice.