A Tribute to Martin Luther King: American Christian Socialist and Moral Superhero
by Ken Freeland on 21 Jan 2023 0 Comment

Today [Jan 16-ed] we celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest heroes in the pantheon of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave; a man who exemplified the real meaning of both of these American epithets.


Before we go on to re-examine and celebrate his true legacy, let’s take a brief look back at the first generation of heroes in the American Hall of Fame and remember why they are there: they, our Founding Fathers, are there because they succeeded, however briefly, in revolutionizing American political life along the highest principles of the Enlightenment, which meant repudiating rule by heritable royalty and a privileged elite, and substituting for it a government responsive, at least in theory, to the will of the people.


We’ll come back to that important point, which we will never tire of repeating in Re-covenanting America, but we must bear it in mind to appreciate the context of Martin Luther King, Jr’s heroic accomplishment, because it is his connection with its fullest realization that situates him in their direct succession, embodying as he did the spirit of ‘76.


By 1965, Martin Luther King had already assured his place in American history through his leadership of the Civil Rights movement. So long as he remained focused on this, he was welcomed by the “progressive” wing of the power elite to their enclaves, to the halls of power themselves, because racism, then and now, was recognized as a popular issue, the struggle against which, real or feigned, attracted political support and moral credibility.


Racism was very real and very pervasive in post-WWII America, but this besmirched America’s reputation in the Enlightened West and provided endless ammunition for the Second World’s propaganda against the First World’s ambition for world hegemony, especially in the Third World, where centuries of European racism had made it anathema. Thus, her own racist tendencies actually conflicted with America’s growing imperial ambitions. Racism had never typified the great Roman Empire, that ever-present model for neo-imperialists; how could they then hope to surpass the glory of Rome with this dysfunctional blemish?


So the liberal elite wanted to co-opt Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement to clean up America’s racist reputation in the eyes of the world. By enabling “anti-racism” to succeed, they hoped to open the way for a “purified” Americanism to be emulated and/or enforced around the globe. It was assumed that Martin would play ball, and the test came with the Vietnam War... he was expected to scourge all signs of racism in US society, but maintain the line of “smooth patriotism” (i.e., jingoism) when it came to American militarism. In return he could expect all the honours the elite can bestow, perhaps even some real political power down the line.


A lesser man, I daresay your average man, would happily have accepted this “easy” path to great worldly success. But Martin Luther King was no average man, and he understood better than any of his contemporaries that the Christian calling required the sacrifice of worldly ambition to serve the Higher cause, and for daring to honour his conscience and boldly say “no” to this offer of worldly succour and false heroism, he was ultimately executed, as was the First Christian, which means that in addition to joining the ranks of American heroes, he also , more importantly, attains to the crowning glory of Christian martyrdom.


So instead of keeping his mouth shut about the horrendous US-instigated Vietnam War, he determined that “silence is betrayal,” and in 1967 at his famous Riverside Baptist Church sermon, openly denounced it for the moral travesty that it was. It was at this point that Martin Luther King, Jr. ascended from the rank of noble social justice warrior to Christian Socialist exemplar: he had come to understand that the deepest oppression in his nation did not arise from racism, but from the oppression by the rich elite of the poor, and racism, execrable as it was, was simply a by-product of that.


What difference would it make if racism could be entirely eliminated from American society, yet the American war machine continued to reward the fascist elites of other countries with wealth extracted from America’s poor in order to expand the reach of American corporate economic exploitation? Class, not race, is the true engine of oppression and injustice, and the Vietnam War simply represented its expression on a world scale. Martin Luther King would have none of it, and finally said so openly and unequivocally.


The Deep State recognized him as its enemy and dispatched him accordingly, just as they had done with John F Kennedy before him and would do to innumerable others since. Any social influencer who opposes himself or herself to the war machine will not be tolerated for long. And the world’s plutocratic elite today use the same methods of their feudalistic forebears against which the Enlightenment inveighed: warring, economic exploitation, surveillance, censorship, dungeons (think Jullian Assange, think January 6 protestors) and assassinations.


Make no mistake about it, the elite of today are as opposed to the principles of the Enlightenment as their medieval forebears, it is simply that entitlement today comes in the form not of great inherited titles cum landed estates, but simply from great inherited wealth. The end result is the same, however: the assumed, arrogated power to dictate its future to the deprived masses. National governments become their willing puppets rather than servants of the people. If they succeed in Davos, Brussels and elsewhere it will mean the end of the Enlightenment and a new Dark Age for humanity.


Martin Luther King, Jr., sensed all of this, and ultimately paid the price of his conscientious objection to a New World Order for which he refused to be window dressing. This is not just my interpretation, it is clear from his own words, a sampling of which follows below. There is only one way to truly honour the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and that is to take up his same cause, to become as conscientiously active and outspoken in opposing the New World Order in all of its satanic manifestations, and to build the humane, Christian alternative. Passivity in the face of great evil just doesn’t cut it. In Dr. King’s own words, “silence is betrayal.”


The following are all excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr. and the War, by Dr. Dennis R. Koehn, SPEAKOUT:


King noted that Christian leaders in the US had traditionally engaged in “the prophesying of smooth patriotism,” but now was a time to move to “the high ground of firm dissent based on the mandates of conscience and the reading of history.”


King had been criticized for speaking out on foreign policy:

“Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them … I am greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.”


“… 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.”


“… I knew that 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.”


“To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men? … Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them?”


King believed that all human beings are children of the living God, who is “deeply concerned for his suffering, and helpless and outcast children” and he came “to speak for them.” Christians, for King, should hold “allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions.”


In exasperation, King proclaimed that “this madness must cease … The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.” King directed his comments to the American people: “The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people.” We need to “atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam.” Think about US military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade. Any parallels? [Ed. note: Dr. Koehn wrote this in 2016... think Ukraine today.]


“The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation [protesting American wars around the globe]. We will be marching … and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.”


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.


Here King was prescient and had an understanding of the United States’ historic trajectory: “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: ‘This is not just.’”


“This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally human, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”


We are not compelled into endless wars by destiny or necessity; Americans can shape the future: “We still have a choice: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” Yes Americans, on this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday ..., let us lay claim to our ability to discern and decide what kind of world we will leave for our children: “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world.”


Let us weave new threads from the brilliant thought of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into our national tapestry, so that we might be an inspiration for a new world of peace and justice.


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