Over the past weekend various observances were held throughout the nation commemorating the National Holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Within our immediate area an annual march and many special programs were held including a visit to the area by Martin Luther King, III who spoke at Roanoke College and another speaking engagement at Virginia Tech by Yolanda King, oldest daughter of America’s first family of the civil rights movement. Ironically one would be hard pressed to find an observance that does not mention or quote at least portions of his I Have a Dream speech, if not in its entirety. Despite its eloquence, however, this extraordinary man supersedes one literary masterpiece and even spoke of other dreams.
In his Christmas Eve speech of 1967, he also spoke of a dream that war will come to an end, and that (as mentioned in the Holy Bible) “men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more.”
Along with the dream, however Dr. King proceded to offer some prescriptions for its realization.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather that sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
“No individual can live alone; on nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world,” Dr. King continued, adding:
“The next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and goodwill toward men, is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of ALL human life. Every man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such. Until men see this everywhere, until nations see this everywhere, we will be fighting wars. If we don’t have goodwill toward men in this world we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete!”
Consider the genius of these words, so applicable today, uttered some 40 years ago. “We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our struggle for racial justice in the United States, but now the time has come for man to experiment with nonviolence on an international scale.
“Now the judgment of God is upon us and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools,” Dr. King continued in his Christmas Eve speech of ’67.
In any warfare each side is viewed by the other as “the enemy” when war itself is its own enemy–of both sides–with primary emphasis at the outcome not so much on whose right as on whose left. The principal weapon of war is hate while the primary weapon of peace is LOVE–of God and His creation of which mankind (as a whole) is the crowning touch, all links of one human chain, and no chain is stronger than its weakest link!
In the world of nature the dominant note is the struggle for existence or “survival of the fittest,” the origin of all difficulties. Nature is warlike, blood thirsty and tyrannical for nature is unaware of God, the Almighty, we read in the Baha’i Writings.
Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality and bring light and life to every soul. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division it would be better to be without it. . . For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure, but if the remedy only aggravates the complaint, it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.
Today, Baha’u’llah (Prophet/Founder of the Baha’i Faith) has assuredly come to vivify the world and to bring into unity all who are on the face of the earth. That which God willeth shall come to pass and thou shalt see the earth even as the Abha (Most Glorious) Paradise.