MLK’s Warning of America’s Spiritual Death

From the Archive: A half century ago, The New York Times accused Martin Luther King Jr. of “slander” for decrying the Vietnam War and The Washington Post detected “unsupported fantasies” in his speech, recalled more favorably by Gary G. Kohls.

By Gary G. Kohls (Originally published on Jan. 19, 2014; slightly edited for time element)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Riverside Church speech was titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” It was delivered exactly one year before his April 4, 1968 assassination in Memphis. In the speech, King declared, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

A mug shot photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The people who heard that speech recognized it as one of the most powerful speeches ever given articulating the immorality of the Vietnam War and its destructive impact on social progress in the United States. In explaining his decision to follow his conscience and speak out against U.S. militarism, King said:

“I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

But King went farther, diagnosing the broader disease of militarism and violence that was endangering the soul of the United States. King said, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”

Poisoning America’s Soul

King knew very well that the disease of violence was killing off more than social progress in America. Violence was sickening the nation’s soul as well. He added, “If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read ‘Vietnam’.” King urged his fellow citizens to take up the causes of the world’s oppressed, rather than taking the side of the oppressors. He said:

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

“We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world a world that borders on our doors.

“If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.”

King pointed to an alternate path into the future: “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard?”

Signing His Own Death Warrant

By denouncing so forcefully the war crimes that the U.S. military was committing daily in the killing fields of Vietnam, some of King’s followers understood that he had just signed his own death warrant. But King, being a person of conscience, was compelled to express his deep sense of moral outrage over the horrific maiming, suffering and dying of millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians in that unjust war that afflicted mostly unarmed women and children and that was going to leave behind lethal poisons in the soil, water and unborn babies that would last for generations.

Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington DC. (Photo by Robert Parry)

He knew that non-combatants are always the major victims of modern warfare, especially wars that indiscriminately used highly lethal weapons that rained down from the air, especially the U.S. Air Force’s favorite weapon, napalm — the flaming, jellied gasoline that burned the flesh off of whatever part of the burning adult or child it splashed onto.

King also connected the racist acts (of American soldiers joyfully killing dispensable non-white “gooks” and “slants” — often shooting at “anything that moves”) on the battlefields of Southeast Asia to the oppression, impoverishment, imprisoning and lynching of dispensable, deprived non-white “niggers” in America.

King saw the connections between the violence of racism and the violence of poverty. He saw that the withholding of economic and educational opportunities came from the fear of “the other” and the perceived need to protect the white culture’s wealth and privilege with violence if necessary.

King knew, too, that fortunes are made in every war, and the war in Vietnam was no exception. In his speeches, he talked about that unwelcome reality that the ruling class preferred not be discussed. That meant his well-attended Riverside Church speech threatened not only the powerful interests already arrayed against his civil rights struggle but also the interests of the war profiteers and the national security establishment.

War is Good Business

The longer the Vietnam War lasted, the more the weapons manufacturers thrived. With their huge profits, there was a strong incentive for these financial elites to continue the carnage. And therefore the Wall Street war profiteers financed, out of their ill-gotten gains, battalions of industry lobbyists and pro-military propagandists who descended upon Washington, DC, and the Pentagon to claim even more tax dollars for weapons research, development and manufacture.

Nick Ut’s famous photo of terrified South Vietnamese children fleeing from a napalm attack on the village of Trang Bang in 1972. The girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, has ripped off her burning clothes.

With that funding secured, armies of desperate jobs-seekers were hired to work in thousands of weapons factories that were strategically placed in congressional districts almost everywhere, with weapons research grants likewise being awarded to virtually every university in the nation. Thus, weapons-manufacturing and R&D soon became vitally important for almost every legislator’s home district economy as well as for the household budgets of millions of American voters who indirectly benefitted from the U.S. military’s killing, maiming, displacement, starvation and suffering of non-white people in war zones.

King’s anti-war stance was based on his Christianity and on the ethics and life of Jesus, but it was also based on his standing as a revered international peace and justice icon. Those factors made him a dangerous threat to the military/industrial/congressional/security complex.

The powerful forces that were working hard to discredit King had already infiltrated the civil rights movement. Their efforts, cunningly led by the proto-fascist and racist J. Edgar Hoover and his obedient FBI, accelerated after the Riverside speech. The FBI ramped up the smear campaigns against King. Eventually he was “neutralized” with a bullet to the head. [The case for believing that King’s murder was not simply the act of lone gunman James Earl Ray is laid out in many studies, including attorney William F. Pepper’s An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.]

King’s Prophetic Vision

Now, five decades after his anti-war speech (which was widely kept from the public), it is clear how prophetic King’s observations were. America is indeed losing its soul. Violence, racism, militarism and economic oppression are still American epidemics.

Both upper- and middle-class investors of get-rich-quick schemes in America have succumbed to predatory lenders, cannibalistic corporate mergers and acquisitions, psychopathic multinational corporate schemers, corrupt crony capitalists, and the rapist/exploiters of the land and water by extractive industries all schemes that will eventually burst as part of predictable economic bubbles.

Photos of victims of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam galvanized public awareness about the barbarity of the war. (Photo taken by U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

Those busted bubbles regularly wipe out investors (except for the large, deep-pocketed “insiders” who, usually being forewarned, will have sold their holdings just in time, before the publicly revealed “bust”), leaving the taxpayers to bail out the financial messes that were created by the so-called “invisible hand of the market” but are really caused by the cunning work of corporate gamblers.

King was trying to warn us not just about the oncoming epidemic of violence toward victims at home but also about the tens of millions of people around the world who were and are still being victimized by U.S. military misadventures. King was also warning us about the multinational corporate war profiteers whose interests are facilitated and protected by the U.S. military whether they are operating in Asia, Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.

The Pentagon budget averages well over $700 billion per year, including wars that are often illegal and unconstitutional. That amounts to $2 billion per day with no visible return on investment, except for the military contractors, the oil industries and Wall Street financiers.

Vast sums also are needed to address the physical and mental health costs needed for the palliative care for the permanently maimed and psychologically-traumatized veterans. Hundreds of millions of dollars more are spent paying down the interest payments on past military debts.

All those potentially bankrupting costs represent money that will never be available for programs of social uplift like combatting racism, poverty and hunger, or paying for affordable housing/healthcare, universal education or meaningful job creation. Can anyone else hear a demonic laugh reverberating down Wall Street?

King was warning America about its oncoming spiritual death if it didn’t convert itself away from military violence. But most observers of the U.S. see America still worshipping at the altars of the Gods of War and Greed. Our children may be doomed.

The vast majority of American Christian churches (whether fundamentalist, conservative, moderate or liberal, with very few exceptions) have failed King’s vision, despite the lip service they sometimes give to King on MLK Day. Churches whose members were brought up on the Myth of American Exceptionalism (and the myth of being “God’s chosen people”) consistently refuse to take a stand against the satanic nature of war.

Past the Point of No Return?

If America is to avert future financial and military catastrophes, King’s central warnings about the “triple evils” of militarism, racism and economic oppression must be heeded. That means a retreat from worldwide network of budget-busting military bases. And, if America wants to shed the justified label of “Rogue Nation,” the covert killing operations of its secret black ops mercenary military units all around the world must be stopped, as should the infamous extrajudicial assassinations by America’s unmanned drones.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

If King’s 50-year-old warning continues to be ignored, America’s future is bleak. The future holds the dark seeds of economic chaos, hyperinflation, unendurable poverty, increasing racial/minority hostility, worsening malnutrition, armed rebellion, street fighting, and perhaps, ultimately, institution of a reactionary totalitarian/surveillance police state in order to control citizen protests and quell rebellions.

In 1967, many Americans considered King hopeful vision for a better future as irrational idealism. He was told that the task was too great, the obstacles were too imposing, and there was no will for even the churches to reverse their age-old, conservative pseudo-patriotism and society’s institutional racism. I suspect that many of the churches that called King a communist and therefore ignored him back then wish that they could turn back the clock and give King’s (and Jesus’s) path a try.

King finished his speech with these challenges: “War is not the answer. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.”

And he had these sobering words for the churches that are immersed in a polytheistic culture (the worship of multiple gods, including the gods of war and mammon) and thus are tempted to quietly ally themselves with those gods rather than the God of Love that King was devoted to:

“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?’”

Today, the task is even tougher, the obstacles much more imposing, but the path that King outlined remains.

Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who writes about peace, justice, militarism, mental health and religious issues. 

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40 comments for “MLK’s Warning of America’s Spiritual Death

  1. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Dr. King and his words are so beautiful, so true. He is an American we can be unreservedly proud of. Please allow me to repost what I put on a previous thread, which I feel would be relevant here:

    Anon says “Democracy can never be restored peacefully.” The problem is that there has never been a real democracy on this planet. We do not even understand what that would be, and how it would work or maintain it’s existence over time. Democracy has existed only as a vague ideal, or a pretence full of serious flaws.

    I cannot say how a real democracy would come into being or function, but I think it would require the participation of large numbers of people operating from a clearer consciousness free of the defective memes and narratives that most people bring to every situation of their lives. Only fundamentally different and better people can create a real democracy together. Their prime inner directive and motivation would undoubtedly involve love for one another. A society based primarily selfish and materialistic behavior will never produce a true democracy.

    • Anon
      April 4, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Very true about MLK, and doubtless your motives are good, but you are ignoring the entire problem of the causes of oppression.

      1. The fact that no democracy has been perfect does not argue that we do not have the task of restoring democracy.
      2. It is completely false that “Democracy has existed only as …preten[s]e”
      3. While “better people can create a real democracy together” this is irrelevant to the restoration of democracy.
      4. You would need non-existent historical examples to make any such argument relevant to the present.

      So no one should imagine that pleasant “somehow, someday, maybe” thoughts address the question of today.
      That is usually pacifist propaganda designed to prevent the restoration of democracy.
      Let us be realistic and not hide behind skirts and watch others suffer and struggle for our liberation.
      Those who care about humanity care about democracy, and do not hide from public service.

      Democracy can never be restored peacefully.

      • April 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm

        Democracy and cut throat capitalism are not compatible. The catalyst of competitive profit to climb the ladder of wealth (hierarchy), is also the same catalyst for violence in disguise of “protection of wealth”. When there is no other choice but to climb the ladder of wealth, democracy will continue to not be democracy: Liberty, fraternity, sorority, justice, and all other building blocks of democracy are reduced to the business model of profit for wealth; like dropping napalm on the semantic fields of morphology to transform language itself. Language requires conformity to the culture it describes, giving way to “Newspeak”, “thought crime”, and ultimately “Thought Police”. In our world, “freedom is not free”; fraternity and sorority are just a convenient disguise of desperation and recourse to safety in numbers; corporate prisons disgrace police, district attorneys and judges, making them the enemies of justice and democracy. Antiphrasis is a rhetorical device used not only to express irony and comedy, but ultimately to distort language and thought. In light of this, what does the word “soul” represent? Perhaps a philosophical endeavor which brings human mortality and immortality in focus? The spiritual and immaterial aspect of sentient life has also been thrown under the bus of the business model of forever spiraling upward profit of cash value for the sake of profit for cash value for the sake of profit for cash value loop….Make us machine like until we have patented the machines to replace us and absorbed the profit for the sake of profit loop, stop. Competition for capital promotes materialism as the sole reason for being; it has become the meaning of life: Military annihilation of convenient enemies; the arms industry necessary to military annihilation; hydraulic fracturing; the destruction of the natural process of perma-culture and the convenient con of the necessity of genetically modified organisms and the dependence on inorganic agriculture and the continued mining of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium rich raw material; creating an infrastructure of nihilism where soul and spirit have come to have no place. Human self destruction will prove us to be the stupidest of nature’s creation. The competitive business model has no pretense of religion, empathy, compassion; hence, it negates any concept of liberty, fraternity, sorority, justice. Knew a kid who loved playing soccer so much, he exchanged a “scholarship” of “higher education” at the Air Force Academy for five years of service loading B-52’s with their bombs of fraternity and sorority. Freedom is not free is not freedom. Or your their robot.

        • Anon
          April 4, 2017 at 7:48 pm

          Very well said.

      • Chris Knudson
        April 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

        Hard to restore that which never was. That being said, when the revolution comes, it must remain peaceful, at least on our end…

        • Anon
          April 5, 2017 at 6:32 am

          The credo of the slave: no democracy has been established or restored by slaves.
          Democracy is always sloppy: there is no argument that total corruption of a democracy is no change at all.
          Show us the historical examples of peaceful restoration of democracy: there are none.
          The US and India were simply lucky that Britain could not fight much so far away.
          Those who speak of “peaceful revolution” intend to ensure that it never happens.
          They are beneficiaries of the status quo, the slavemaster’s opportunists.

          So let’s all hear your detailed argument that peaceful revolution would work!

          • April 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

            Gandhi and Martin Luther King both led peaceful revolutions. They were answered with violence, but persisted. They did not establish or re-establish democracy. The Bolsheviks revolted against famine and imperial war; they were answered with violence. Standing rock Sioux protested against DAPL on their land; they were answered with violence and incarceration. Resistance will be answered with violence, Anon. I am much more interested in how the resistance is reacting to violence, putting solidarity to the test, than I am in propping you up as Master of Debate because Anon says that it must be violent. What is your point, sir. Let us here your detailed argument for the sake of argument.

          • April 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

            Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
            King Arthur: Old woman!
            Dennis: Man.
            King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
            Dennis: I’m 37.
            King Arthur: What?
            Dennis: I’m 37. I’m not old.
            King Arthur: Well I can’t just call you “man”.
            Dennis: Well you could say “Dennis”.
            King Arthur: I didn’t know you were called Dennis.
            Dennis: Well you didn’t bother to find out, did you?
            King Arthur: I did say sorry about the “old woman”, but from behind you looked…
            Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
            King Arthur: Well, I am king.
            Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how’d you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

            King Arthur: I am your king.
            Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
            King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
            Woman: Well how’d you become king then?
            [Angelic music plays… ]
            King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
            Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

            Dennis: Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

            Dennis: Oh but if I went ’round sayin’ I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away.

            Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!
            King Arthur: Bloody peasant!
            Dennis: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, didn’t you?

            Woman: Oh. How do you do?
            King Arthur: How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?
            Woman: King of the who?
            King Arthur: King of the Britons.
            Woman: Who are the Britons?
            King Arthur: Well, we all are. We are all Britons. And I am your king.
            Woman: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
            Dennis: You’re foolin’ yourself! We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working class…
            Woman: Oh, there you go bringing class into it again.
            Dennis: Well, that’s what it’s all about! If only people would…
            King Arthur: Please, please, good people, I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
            Woman: No one lives there.
            King Arthur: Then who is your lord?
            Woman: We don’t have a lord.
            Dennis: I told you, we’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week…
            King Arthur: Yes…
            Dennis: …but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting…
            King Arthur: Yes I see…
            Dennis: …by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs…
            King Arthur: Be quiet!
            Dennis: …but by a two thirds majority in the case of…
            King Arthur: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
            Woman: Order, eh? Who does he think he is?

  2. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

    It is difficult for people to understand that all of the problems we see around us arise from what people hold in their minds. The better world some of us long for will never happen unless we change our beliefs and inner motivations. Spiritual growth begins with rooting out the falsehoods we have unthinkingly accepted and allowed to become part of our mental contents. Better ideas and motivations find it impossible to take root in minds full of erroneous ideas. All valid spiritual paths begin with efforts to purify our minds, to make way for higher understandings, such as Doctor King urged us to entertain.

    • April 4, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Praxis makes perfect.

  3. April 4, 2017 at 10:29 am

    William Pepper speaking on the civil trial, MLK murder, FBI involvement, and his new book in a recent interview: https://youtu.be/miIW96toI4U

    A 2003 speech where he talks about how the MSM ordered blackout of the trial and the one got who tried to cover had his career (and eventually his life) ended:
    https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/WFP020403.pdf

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you Josh Stern, you beat me to it! I never miss an opportunity to link William Pepper and Martin Luther King. William was and is a significant American hero, one of many professionals to speak truth to power, it was his initial reporting of the truth, on the ground, so to speak that alerted Martin to the atrocities and injustice of Vietnam. That Martin Luther King expanded his message of equal justice into the unjust war realm, probably is what got him killed.
      By the way, I always read your extensive links and sincerely appreciate your many efforts to inform us. Thank you.

  4. Drew Hunkins
    April 4, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Just think, if King were alive today he’d be mocked and ridiculed by all the smartest people in the room, corporate Dems and Graham/McCain Republicans as a purveyor of “fake news” and a “Putin puppet.”

    King became persona non grata in respectable corporate-warmongering liberal circles the second he linked domestic inequality and class exploitation along with Washington militarism to his activism on racial discrimination.

    King was a danger to the military industrial complex and the super rich and therefore his memory is now as a Harmless Dreamer, and the “I have a dream” caricature rather than the bold class-based revolutionary he truly became in the last couple of years of his snuffed out life.

    It would’ve been enthralling, not to mention incredibly heartening, to see King live long enough to speak out against the illegal and incredibly violent Israeli occupation of Palestine. Just imagine the invective and smears he would’ve been the brunt of!

  5. Alan MacDonald
    April 4, 2017 at 10:53 am

    This is what I posted this morning on the NYT Opinion Pages about MLK’s “Coming Out Against Vietnam” war:

    “At Riverside Church “Breaking the Silence”, exactly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke against what he called “the triple evils that are interrelated” of; racism, economic inequality, and imperialism — and he spoke about what “strange liberators” America must seem to those poor foreign people suffering under what was described as America’s foreign policy interventionism.

    But now, half a century later, if Dr. King were still alive, “how strange” it might seem to him, that so very few have “spoken out” or “broken the silence” that it is not America per se, but rather the first ‘effectively disguised’, ‘truly global’, and ‘capitalist-fueled’ Empire, which has ‘captured’, controls, and now “Occupies” our former country and wreaks such imperialist havoc both “abroad and at home”, as Hannah Arendt had warned her own German people about the danger entailed in ‘acting like an Empire’.”

    Surprisingly, the “Times” did not censor me and allowed my comment exposing this Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE HQed in, and merely ‘posing’ as, America.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Alan please allow me to provide a link to a well written article I read on counterpunch where the author pretty much says what you are saying.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/04/fifty-years-on-mlks-giant-triplets-still-plague-us-including-militarism/

      I would also like to encourage as many of you that feels it fits too alert everyone you know, and especially the young who we are guardian over, to learn more about what Rev King stood for. It deepens me with sorrow for how many today will remember the late Martin Luther King for the rumors of his infidelity that he may have had, as these critics do to the late John F Kennedy. Where instead of the tabloid remembrances why can’t more citizens of our country learn and read King’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speech, as likewise many would enhance their view of all people of the world enjoying a peaceful life, if they read JFK’s ‘American University’ speech regarding an America which would lead the world in peace.

      I feel Martin Luther King is possibly the greatest American who ever lived. Yes, even over George Washington who for the most part is one of my small list favorite presidents. King is a martyr for all that America could be, and with his death the hope of us having a peaceful America was squashed. So here we are fifty years later since MLK delivered his excellent speech warning us all of the ills of racism, materialism, and militarism, and just look at where we are now. Something must be done, because our National Debt of 20 trillion dollars isn’t going to dwindle away without a lot of sacrifice, nor are the many innocent life’s loss to our invading wars going to be resurrected any time to soon in order for anyone to say I’m sorry, so end it must or forever we will suffer for what our nation has done, and live with the regret for what our country could have been.

  6. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Thanks Alan for your wise comments. Yes, Martin was certainly an outlier and a radical thinker who dared to speak out. His fate was that shared by many of his noble predecessors – to be killed by those evil forces he warned us about.

    • BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
      April 5, 2017 at 8:13 am

      mike k,

      Thank you, mike k, for your “right on” comments throughout this comment session. If I didn’t know better, and I don’t, I’d say you’ve had an epiphany that left you enlightened (I can say this about you, you can’t reply unless it is true in which case you probably wouldn’t).

      Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy (ethics, public policy) and Religion (books: On the Buddha; On Gandhi; Why Christians and World Peace Advocates Voted for President Donald Trump), Northeastern University, Boston, MA—and I am the only known out of thousands of Ph.D.philosophers to have voted for Trump and written against the Deep State’s presstitutes who want Trump gone AND the result is that my professional colleagues, most with much poorer academic credentials, don’t even want anything to do with me—they are over educated snowflakes well paid in the Ivory Tower where they are out of touch with any reality but their own narrow fields and their quests for fame, lighter teaching loads, and—as MLK knew from his own academic experiences—money. These academprostitutes will apply and fight for grants from the Military/Industrial/Congressional complex when they have the opportunity. No question at all: they are piles of walking poop protecting themselves in their safe spaces as the snowflakes they are.

  7. April 4, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Thank you for this incredibly important article about one of the most important beings ever to enlighten us with his presence, Dr. King. There is an article on Global Research which I cannot pop on, but you can readily find it, by Craig McKee January 16, 2017: “MLK Day: The Plot to Kill King: Survived Shooting, Was Murdered in Hospital”. It is shocking even beyond what has been reported by those who do accept that King was not assassinated by James Earl Ray. I had the 2003 book of William Pepper, “Orders to Kill”, and gave it to an activist library. His most recent book from 2016, “The Plot to Kill King”, which I have not yet read, updates Pepper’s ongoing investigations into King’s death, for which he received no investigative help from government agencies nor interest by mainstream media.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      As always, thank you Jessica K. William Pepper’s new book contains extensive copies of his documentation over years of work on Martin’s assassination. It will prove invaluable to contemporary researchers going forward…

  8. Bill Bodden
    April 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm

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

    Given the inhumanity of our national leaders in the plutocracy and the Republican and Democratic (?) party oligarchies a case can be made that the United States is now already spiritually dead. Until the military-industrial-surveillance-political-finance complex is crushed the current plague of death, destruction and poverty will continue to afflict masses of people here and around the world.

    • RWood
      April 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

      This would add to the sense of threat, as well to the authentic sources of demos, and antidotes the US pursues:
      The War on Democracy
      John Pilger
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=babhaL70RR8

  9. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    People unthinkingly believe that ancient Athens was a true democracy, when in fact it would be better characterized as an oligarchic slave state. It I also believed that the USA was or is a democracy. This country has been an oligarchic tyranny from it’s beginning. Tyranny, genocide, slavery, colonialism, and now empire are our real history. “Democracy” has only been a convenient fig leaf to cover our crimes. It is tragic that people are so easily fooled into thinking they already have or can soon gain things that require a prolonged work that they are ill fitted for in their present besotted condition.

  10. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Democracy can only be achieved by peaceful means. Those who think otherwise should consult the historical record. The chief obstacle to a real democracy is the belief that justice and a peaceful, loving society can somehow be established by means of violence. Look at history and ask yourself, has it worked? Isn’t this how we got in the sorry shape we are in now? What was the slogan in Orwell’s 1984 dystopia – War Is Peace? Our current military dictatorship in America uses the same slogan in various forms.

    Like the Mafia, the US government tells it’s citizens “you can only have peace if you have us to destroy all your enemies.” With empire, it turns out that the whole world constitutes our enemies.

    • Anon
      April 5, 2017 at 6:50 am

      Mike, I challenge you to find a case where democracy was restored by peaceful means. It is you who must “consult the historical record.” We all know that the US and India were established only because Britain could not fight much so far away, but even so they had to be overthrown with violence.

      What on Earth are you speaking of? Establishing a democracy on the moon?
      Have you any idea at all of the competing interests, and who controls the police and armed forces?
      Perhaps you are saying that democracy is lost if it is not peaceful after being established.

    • Anon
      April 5, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Do we really need more hopey-changey for the slaves?
      The rejection of that slave-pacifying role of US religious leaders is exactly the meaning of MLK.
      Without the riots we would never have got even the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
      Please do not reply with more hopey-changey maybe-someday peace-be-unto-all oligarchy stuff.

  11. April 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Praxis makes perfect: MLK vs. Barack Husein Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro Obama II.

  12. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Spiritual death will lead to our extinction. But the Spirit of Love, Truth, Beauty will never die, it is not dependent on us keeping it alive. The Universe will die, but the Spirit will not die with it. We can lose our conscious connection with Spirit, and this is very serious, but Spirit itself is at the foundations of all Reality – it is eternal.

  13. mike k
    April 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    “The secret protects itself. This thing we speak of cannot be found by seeking it; but only seekers will come to know it.” (Sufi)

    • BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
      April 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      mike k,

      Sadly true even today. See my comment just below.

      Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy (ethics, public policy) and Religion (books: On the Buddha; On Gandhi; Why Christians and World Peace Advocates Voted for President Donald Trump), Northeastern University, Boston, MA—and I am the only known out of thousands of Ph.D.philosophers to have voted for Trump and written against the Deep State’s presstitutes who want Trump gone AND the result is that my professional colleagues, most with much poorer academic credentials, don’t even want anything to do with me—they are over educated snowflakes well paid in the Ivory Tower where they are out of touch with any reality but their own narrow fields and the quest for fame, lighter teaching loads, and money.

    • April 4, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Hence, these days it is essential to recognize what it is not. It is not bombs of death and hypocrisy; it is not Monsanto; it is not hydraulic fracturing; it is not “education” for military service, or even for accumulation of dept…Recognize the elements and practices of nihilism for what they are, and the meaning of life, and death, begin to become understandable. In fact, “it’s so simple, a caveman could do it”. “Now that’s progressive”!

  14. BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
    April 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Gary G. Kohis, your article is a work of art. If I didn’t know that you’d written it earlier and this was just a summary, I would think you’d taken it out of my three books on Trump—the phrase “the military/industrial/congressional complex” didn’t help, since I’ve used that phrase too because that’s who Ike wrote it (not how he delivered it—as you probably say in your longer piece, he was much too polite to scold Congress in his Farewell Address).

    You begin by quoting from MLK: ““I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.””

    But as you write, “King went farther, diagnosing the broader disease of militarism and violence that was endangering the soul of the United States. King said, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government…. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.””

    Sounds like Obama and Hilliar’s America that put over 50K extra troops into Afghanistan plus troops on the ground in Yemen after totally destroying Libya and killing General Gaddaffi and leaning on drone warfare that has killed 100s of thousands without provocation and without stirring up an anti-war movement because American troops were not dying ; following up on Bush II’s slaughter in Iraq and war in the Valley of death that is Afghanistan; following up on Bill Clinton’s slaughter of over 500,000 children in Iraq (Madame Albright to Leslie Stahl); following up on the Senior Bush’s foray into Iraq (which he wisely stopped) after the excuse of the Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

    You continue: “King pointed to an alternate path into the future: “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard?”

    Believe it or not, this is the main reason I support Donald Trump and why the Deep State wants him assassinated or impeached and why I wrote a book, available on Amazon, on that topic. The Deep State wants to destroy all obstacles to their support of the Military Industrial Complex and continual war. That’s why they had Hilliar take out Bernie Sanders who was almost as anti-war as Trump is (see my first book).

    You continue: “Signing His Own Death Warrant By denouncing so forcefully the war crimes that the U.S. military was committing daily in the killing fields of Vietnam, some of King’s followers understood that he had just signed his own death warrant. But King, being a person of conscience, was compelled to express his deep sense of moral outrage over the horrific maiming, suffering and dying of millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians in that unjust war that afflicted mostly unarmed women and children and that was going to leave behind lethal poisons in the soil, water and unborn babies that would last for generations. He knew that non-combatants are always the major victims of modern warfare, especially wars that indiscriminately used highly lethal weapons that rained down from the air, especially the U.S. Air Force’s favorite weapon, napalm — the flaming, jellied gasoline that burned the flesh off of whatever part of the burning adult or child it splashed onto…..”

    Your next section is of course crucial: “War is Good Business [see my first book on Trump for this analysis]. The longer the Vietnam War lasted, the more the weapons manufacturers thrived. With their huge profits, there was a strong incentive for these financial elites to continue the carnage. And therefore the Wall Street war profiteers financed, out of their ill-gotten gains, battalions of industry lobbyists and pro-military propagandists who descended upon Washington, DC, and the Pentagon to claim even more tax dollars for weapons research, development and manufacture. With that funding secured, armies of desperate jobs-seekers were hired to work in thousands of weapons factories that were strategically placed in congressional districts almost everywhere, with weapons research grants likewise being awarded to virtually every university in the nation. Thus, weapons-manufacturing and R&D soon became vitally important for almost every legislator’s home district economy as well as for the household budgets of millions of American voters who indirectly benefitted from the U.S. military’s killing, maiming, displacement, starvation and suffering of non-white people in war zones. King’s anti-war stance was based on his Christianity and on the ethics and life of Jesus, but it was also based on his standing as a revered international peace and justice icon. Those factors made him a dangerous threat to the military/industrial/congressional/security complex.

    That’s all in the Deep State book but more clearly in the book about why Christians and world-peace advocates voted for Trump.

    It’s clear I should have had a longer section about MLK in my first book that sells for less than a cup of coffee (today Amazon would make me charge at least $9.55 and you have to get a pretty fancy coffee for that much money).

    You continue: “In 1967, many Americans considered King hopeful vision for a better future as irrational idealism. He was told that the task was too great, the obstacles were too imposing, and there was no will for even the churches to reverse their age-old, conservative pseudo-patriotism and society’s institutional racism. I suspect that many of the churches that called King a communist and therefore ignored him back then wish that they could turn back the clock and give King’s (and Jesus’s) path a try. King finished his speech with these challenges: “War is not the answer. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.””

    You continue: “And he had these sobering words for the churches that are immersed in a polytheistic culture (the worship of multiple gods, including the gods of war and mammon) and thus are tempted to quietly ally themselves with those gods rather than the God of Love that King was devoted to: “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?’””

    You conclude: “Today, the task is even tougher, the obstacles much more imposing, but the path that King outlined remains.”

    WOW!!! WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE. IT IMMEDIATELY GOES UP ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE.

    Thank you Gary G. Kohis,

    Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy (ethics, public policy) and Religion (books: On the Buddha; On Gandhi; Why Christians and World Peace Advocates Voted for President Donald Trump), Northeastern University, Boston, MA—and I am the only known out of thousands of Ph.D.philosophers to have voted for Trump and written against the Deep State’s presstitutes who want Trump gone AND the result is that my professional colleagues, most with much poorer academic credentials, don’t even want anything to do with me—they are over educated snowflakes well paid in the Ivory Tower where they are out of touch with any reality but their own narrow fields and the quest for fame, lighter teaching loads, and money.

  15. April 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    CN, can’t you change the photo of MLK that accompanies this fine article? There are so many excellent photos of him, this mugshot is hard to take. I assume taken when he was booked into the Birmingham jail?

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      The price of resistance in a hypocrite nation, Jessica K. And the courage of real heroes.

  16. pft
    April 5, 2017 at 12:30 am

    I was just thinking other day how a Christian Nation whose God Blesses America could do such evil.

    Not really religious myself but where the heck are the church leaders in all this?. Remember when the Christian Right called themselves the moral majority? Then they go an elect a man who is divorced twice, made much money gambling, has all kinds of mob ties and treats the truth like a hot potato.

    This also goes for the secular religion of liberalism which seems to have gone so far to the right they are basically Eisenhower Republicans which may be why McCarthyism is rearing its ugly head again. Their support for war rivals that of Republicans and both of them and the liberal MSM are controlled by neocons. Neither party has any consideration for the working class and poor as seen by Clintons and Obamas administrations although both make you feel good about being ripped off to enrich the 1 pct.

  17. Curious
    April 5, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Thank you Mr Kohls for a well written and well timed article. I have often read that speech of MLK and have seen the changes in our culture during and since the years of Vietnam, as if his words were prophesy.
    When we change our designation of the ‘Department of Defense’, to the ‘Department of Aggression’ people may start to pay attention to their own tax dollars not working to their own benefit. Anger and thuggery is a bi-product of an aggressive culture, and MLK knew this very well.

  18. Dave
    April 5, 2017 at 1:04 am

    I still remember when I read this MLK’s speech during Spring, 1967 at Ann Arbor where I was a Graduate Student. It was so powerful – a universal speech. I can visualize in my mind him making the speech. He was so prophetic, when he was talking about the main issues in his speech fifty years ago. It is true today. The country can not have Public Heath Care or money to lift the poor when the Nation is spending more than trillion dollars on Military and Intelligent Apparatus and inflicting death and destruction all over the Planet.

    Just think of it. We are wasting all this money here at home to build the weapons to lay waste the infrastructure of other countries worth hundreds of billions of dollars. How long will it take for those countries to rebuild their homes, hospitals, and other infrastructure? Where would they get the money to rebuild it?

    How long it has been going on now? Those of us who are sensitive to human suffering, it is becoming very painful to look at the destroyed cities, small children with their frightened eyes looking at the journalists who venture to visit them; refugee camps with mothers and children. No schools for the children, no warm beds. How this War Machine can be stopped? How can their suffering be alleviated? When not busy, such thoughts visit the mind.

  19. April 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/05/the-black-alliance-for-peace-50-years-later-we-must-again-confront-and-reject-u-s-warmongering/

    Understand the philosophical implications of praxis; understand the philosophical implications of the soul. Meditate on it. Choose your praxis: save your soul, or condemn it to the misery of your praxis. You are what you do, not what you say.

  20. John Doe II
    April 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Spiritual Death is personified in the hideous person of Donald me me me me Trump.His dismantling of environmental regs, cuts in foreign aid to desperate people world wide, removal of restraint on Monsanto, defunding women’s health programs, etc., etc. all indicate a man with a dangerously narrow focus.

    All who hate Me love death Proverbs – 8:36

  21. gwynn o'neill
    April 8, 2017 at 4:21 am

    For a corroboration and update of Martin Luther King’s prediction, I suggest a powerful and moving statement by Andre Vltchek. a link is http://andrevltchek.weebly.com. the title and “Love and Western Nihilism”. I ran across it in Information Clearing House, a news and opinion aggregator.

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