In preparing for this Sunday’s sermon (I am at Lake Mahopac UMC this Sunday; service is at 10 am), I heard the speech that Bobby Kennedy gave in Indianapolis, Indiana the night of Martin Luther King’s death on April 4, 1968. In light of what is transpiring right now in this country, it is important to read the words that he spoke that night.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.
Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1968.
I also came across these words that he spoke the next day.
“What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. “No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.
“Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.” On the Mindless Menace of Violence, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968.
What he said in Cleveland was in response to the riots and violence that transpired across the nation the night before. What is important to remember is that there was no violence, there were no riots in Indianapolis that night.
I am not certain the direction this country is going but I would hope that we consider where we have been and decide that perhaps we need to walk in other direction.
Cross-posted to RedBlueChristian