Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Martin Luther King also fought for all the poor and for unionization of workers. Leonard Pitts writes in the Miami Herald about the struggless of the poor and those who fight for the rights of unions. It's a dark time right now for the poor and the laboring institutions in this country and I hope the dedication of the King Memorial will at least remind Americans there is a lot left to be done and that Christianity does belong exclusively to Republicans and libertarians. And to non-Christians that one is not "weird" to be both progressive and have faith in God. Unless you consider folks like King, Rosa Parks, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Mahatma Gandhi weird.


  1. That would perhaps only make sense to those who profess the faith and also are progressive I guess. For me, the choice that educated people, especially engineers and scientist, to be 'of faith' is a strange one. It's a discussion I'd love to have with a senior person where I work but am not brave enough since I value my job more than arguing the merits of rational thought over irrational faith!

    I'm not seeking a fight or a discussion here Doug, you well know I am not a religious person, nut I am interested in what makes people seek solace in something that does not add up in any rational way. Doubly so if that person is a serious scientist who cannot simply accept that something is so on a blind assumptive faith!

  2. And I accept that Dr. King was a great man who fought for all people even though I do not shere his beliefs.

  3. For many years I have held Liberation Theologists in Latin America in very high regard and have met some such people, all Catholics of course, during the 1980s whilst I was involved in hosting speakers from Nicaragua and El Salvador to speak in Birmingham. We raised funds for the FSLN struggle against US imperialism at that time and also raised awareness during Thatcher's 'loads of money' kleptocracy.

    I have also had very close ties to the Quakers whose permanent peace camp site at RAF Molesworth USAF cruise missile base I visited in the 1980s whilst protesting the presence of US WMD on English soil during the Thatcher reign of terror.

    I currently work now with an Anglican vicar and several members of the congregation on local issues like wildlife corridors and the global transition movement. I recently attended a friends of a neighbouring park open day at the local Church of the Latter Day Saints. All these people are comrades in various struggles and always have been for decades, from Catholic Priest Bruce Kent general secretary (1980-85) of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other believers.

    I am not a believer myself and I don't believe I ever would or could be, but I don't think belief versus non-belief is a major division, anymore han say sexuality is, or any other personal feeling belief or conviction.

    We are united by what unites us the personal may be political, but only up to a point.... otherwise it ceases being the 'personal' at all... and becomes exclusively the political I think.

  4. WELL SAID Doug!!!! mr King stood for not only the poor but the rights of workers as well
    In April of 1968 he was killed in Memphis while being there for the purpose of workers
    rights. And now to think today we have these cowardly Republicans like Paul Ryan and
    WI Gov Walker as well as most of the of the Republican crime mob fighting to take away
    these rights shame on them!!!

    some last words of... Mr King " And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats... or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
    Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"

  5. I hope so too. There is much left to do to end the classes. I am not sure it will ever be totally achieved.

  6. I respect what you're saying Jim. I sure didn't put this up for a fight. I've read where about forty percent of scientists profess some type of faith, and that's different of course from a formal religion much of the time.

    My main concern is not anyone I correspond with here at all, but a certain number of celebrity intellectuals who seem to regard people of faith as essentially reactionary. I've also read studies in brain science--by a scientists not theologians posing as scientists---that indicate there may be more to the evolution of the human mind than just a march to pure reason.

    I know what you mean about bosses. Personally I don't care what anotherperson believes as long as they are open-minded. Dumping all the bad things that happen in the world onto faith or socialism or the USA or the EU or Islam or what have you is a dullards' game.

    But to the point of debating this: that's not really what I'm after, although dialouge is always welcome. Faith is faith and science is science and even athiests like Stephen Jay Gould at the end of his life looked with more tolerence on people of faith. I'm really saying we need to remember the legacy of those who fight for justice and not drive divisions among skeptics and believers when it comes to practical politics. Otherwise progressive forces areweakened.

  7. There's many non-believers I admire too Jim--some of my friends in fact. At the end of the day, who knows what a great person really believes in his or her heart?

  8. I appreciate all your activism, AA, and in your outlining the work all these other groups of faith have done in concord with yourself or groups you're involved with. To me this is really is the crux of the matter; there is a desire by certain people to see religion in the USA or other places as a monolith. People over here think all members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints are all in for rock-ribbed conservatism but I know LDS members as well who defy that stereotype.

    Ditto the Catholic laity and many priests. Many people today aren't aware of William Sloane Coffin and the Barrigan Brothers and other religious leaders that fought peacefully and went to jail to protest racial inequality and the war in Vietnam. The many voices from the pulpit against the nuclear freeze in the 1980's and those I hear every week in person and read in mainline protestant periodicals talking about the folly of endless war and demanding of us all in faith to engage those in power to bring our brothers and sisters in uniform home.

    When Jesus said "what you do to the least of these, you do for me", he wasn't talking abour tax cuts for the rich and layoffs and reduced services fro everybody else. There is great wisdom there no matter how you view The Speaker.

    I was reading just the other night about Pope Leo XIII and a landmark encyclical which, according to historian and journalist Johnathan Alter, "shocked the world with its insistence on the natural rights of workers to form labor unions and receive a just wage." This was in 1891.

    In short we are indeed "united by what unites us" and I believe its ever more important to bring groups together under one banner and not let the far right stereotype. Reactionaries like the Tea Party and its ilk in England would love us to be divided on some metaphysical hair-splitting; the better for them to divide and rule.

  9. Exactly Mike! Thanks for giving us all of that quote from a magnificent speech.

    There are many politicans--you named two--who want to come off as religious on Sunday but practice social Darwinism the other six days of the week. Shame on them and know them by their works, not their smiles and evasion and twists of rhetoric. You can add that super-pious Christian believer Rick Perry of Texas to the mix as well.

  10. I'd settle for not going backwards in the immediate Fred, which I am afraid is where we are going. The levels of class fiction and inequality in this nation are such as I hoped never to see.

  11. As an agnostic I am continually frustrated by the fact that most of the great human beings in life tend to be religious. Maybe non-believers lack faith in everything as well as God. And faith IS necessary to move mountains.

    Religion appears to make the parameters wider. It seems to produce the wisest, but also the stupidest of people. There are few religions that have failed to catergorically do both.

    Yes, Doctor King was a warrior for the working class and the underclass, an earlier day Nelson Mandela. A Jesus of his time.

  12. Thank you for this thought-provoking note.

  13. I am with you. I thought Ghandi did some great things but I am not running out to convert to Hinduism. I do believe in the beliefs in men should be free and treated equally

  14. I agree with you on that part about King, Oakie. His detractors are legion but I cant remember him advertising himself as sinless or as superhuman.

    It's one thing to "have" faith, and another to practice it, make "faith" a verb as it is apparently in the Greek and Hebrew languages and carry it into the world. People like King did both obviously. Just as faith can lead to intolerance I suppose those who lack faith in everything around them can become too pessimistic. Most people need something deeper, the lucky ones feel it all the time.

    Agnosticism is probably the most honest creed going given what limits an individual has in understanding this world.

  15. Thank YOU Bennett for dropping by.

  16. I do think that Agnosticism was an incredible philosophical development in Ancient Greece. Until then it seems that every culture in every corner of the planet had had belief as it's cornerstone. It is the only "faith" that requires factual evidence (Atheism being a non-belief in God, regardless of evidence).

    There should really be a comfort in such a scientific approach to living life, no more "miracles", no more passing the buck to supernatural beings or forces. But Agnostisism requires, like Socialism, everyone to take part in it honestly for it to really work. Maybe that could be applied to any philosophy though. If all Muslims, Christians and Jews embraced the humanistic qualities of their faiths and ignored the rubishy symbolism, there would be little conflict in the world. Big business would become kinder, the environment would be tended to like a beloved garden and respect would become the word of the day every day.

    Because, as an agnostic, I can see Jesus and Mohammed as real people, not super men. Two guys who opposed genuinely negative forces in their day, just like King and Mandela. (I can't say the same for Moses or David, who were both mass-murderers, but there have been many good Jewish leaders outside of Biblical times. The UKs top guy Rabbi Sacks is very likeable and intelligent, for instance).

    For me, a person should be judged upon their behaviour alone. If they are destructive to others it is hard to respect them. If they are good to others it is easy to like them. Pragmatic Morality basically. I don't see a need for religion on that basis. But some people really grow into that stuff. As long as they can still see the real world through their God-tinted spectacles, they probably will end up a better person as a singer of the song.

  17. "For those who have ears to hear, let them hear!" Well said Oakie. It's the truly spiritual members of the great faiths who usually get along quite well with each other.

    Jesus was not a fan of organized religion in his day. And one can usually tell the difference between a sincere non-believer and a nihilist by how they respond to his core teachings.

    Suffice to say what you say about behavior is the core message of Dr. King famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963. It's when we lump and label people by color and creed and culture that the trouble starts.

  18. I think all people of goodwill are united in our opposition to plain robbery with violence all over the world, I think we are the majority worldwide and I think we are being sidelined and ignored by the corporate media.

    However sympathetic I might try to be toward the plight of the undereducated and dis-informed, I can't help slipping into a rather more judgemental frame of mind in which the Tea Party has (for me at least) become synonymous with the latter day simpleton. The digital village idiot so to speak.

    As Erasmus suggested ' In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king'.....the Paul Family Dynasty does a neat line in 'one eyed men' I representation means no taxation....oh lordy pick a bale of cotton

  19. Yes, AA, it does seem to be that so many stories are ignored by the mainstream media until they are past the point of any meaningful public policy redemption. We know can find out more about the sex lives of famous people in a flash, but try and find out how investment bankers are issuing toxic mortgages with phony bond ratings to drag the economy into a hole....well, that's just something that those silly little magazines like "Mother Jones" or "The Nation" were on about. Mr. or Ms. Newsreader at NBC or CBS didn't have time for that. Then all of a sudden in 2008 the banksters were screaming "bail us out or we take the economy down with us."

    "Digital village idiot" is a good way to put it. Never have so many people had access to avenues of information and, yet, are they any more savvy and skeptical then many were back when the first telegraph poles were going up in the 1850's? Part of the problem is the idea in America that history, to quote Henry Ford, is bunk and people rely too often solely on "common sense" when what they also need is long-term perspective and honest debate to leaven that sense.

    Ron and Rand Paul and others stoke the fires of ignorance by presenting a lie that power taken from the public sphere will automatically fall into to the common people.

    This doctrine might have carried some water back in the days of the dawn of say the British East India Company, but given all the changes in corporate power intertwining with government policy, its a false (and frustrating) doctrine to overcome.

  20. He was a man onto his own I believe Doug. All of the things he stood for while the John F. Kennedy I believe assisted him as best without any question. Dr. M. King Jr. was gifted in the sense that he did have a dream. As well within these days right now the words of that of what he spoke are ones which are applicable within all cultures and all societies. He was one whom started the marches but they were within a passive movement. Ironically with a monument that has gone up. Perhaps it's a reminder of not only the ideals which he stood for.

    But the movement that DID HAVE THE MERIT WHICH produced a change.
    I truly believe the man was onto his own in the fact that he challenged society at a time where others had. But the manner of which he went about it - I have yet to see the likes of Martin Luther King. So often I couple him with John Kennedy. One was a preacher whom was relentless and again the manner of which he went about it did make a change. So often an how profound I couple the John Kennedy and Martin L. King. I do believe this King Memorial does remind many within these very times.

    An post from last April which I thought I would share within this collage of your Doug - as follows:

  21. Ye, Jack, both King and Kenedy challenged people to do what was hard. King and the Civil Rights Movement drove the JFK Democrats into a situation where they had to sacrifice the old New Deal coalition of liberal northern Democrats and conservative Democrats. Kennedy was nercous about letting that grand bargain fall apart but the moral point of equality was too serious and too much a cancer at the heart of the nation to ignore or paper over by 1963.

    We still are feeling the backlash of the attempts by Kennedy and Johnson to create a more just society. King's legacy is justice over expediency.

  22. Very much so I thoroughly enjoyed the write Doug.
    Some knew what your intention was here with this note Doug as this long weekend was founded for unions and what came to be was Labor Day...