Martin Luther King, Jr. on America’s Spiritual Death

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, a reminder of what he stood for: equality for all, and violence toward none. When not fighting racism, he fought against unjust wars, including America’s war against Vietnam in the 1960s. This made him unpopular, which didn’t bother MLK in the least. A man of great moral courage, he deserves to be celebrated in all his complexity and strength.

Bracing Views


W.J. Astore

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a powerful speech (“Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence”) that condemned America’s war in Vietnam. Exactly one year later, he was assassinated in Memphis.

What follows are excerpts from MLK’s speech. I urge you to read it in its entirety, but I’d like to highlight this line:

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

MLK called for a revolution of values in America. In his address, he noted that:

There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.

MLK didn’t just have a dream of racial equality. He had a dream for justice around the world, a dream of a…

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