DOUGLAS KILPATRICK / SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL
January 17, 2010
Patrick Walden (center), of Bethlehem, recites a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, " Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence", during the LEPOCO Peace Centers, "Honoring the Peace Witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." gathering at the Easton Family YMCA on Sunday. The event featured singing, poem's, and a reading of King's address at the Riverside Church, New York City, forty-three years ago on Tuesday April 4, 1967. One year to the day later King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The speech, much less known than his "I Have A Dream" speech, spoke out against the war in Vietnam and angered many politicians that supported the war. King was opposed to the Vietnam War on the grounds that the United States Congress was spending more on the military than it was on anti-poverty programs at the time. He summed this up by saying, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death". King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and felt a special responsibility to work for the "brotherhood of man" in addition to his commitment to the ministry of Christ. He felt it was hypocritical for him to preach nonviolence to the oppressed in America¿¿¿s ghettos while not speaking "clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government". King's evolving political advocacy in his later years, frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice.