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It is fitting and appropriate and just that we bring our activism for peace and against war to The Church.
For it is in The Church where America’s conscience resides.
And it is the black church in particular which helped America find its soul.
In the molehills of Alabama and at Stone Mountain Georgia, it was the black church that demanded that America stand for her truest and boldest ideals.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached against hatred and he preached against war. But let no one fool you into thinking that he was the only one.
Thousands and thousands of brave individuals inside The Church became leaders in the struggle for justice and dignity and peace.
And like them, we all are gathered here for justice and for dignity and for peace.
Let’s talk about justice for a moment.
The United States wants to submit the world to its form of justice but refuses to submit to the world’s justice.
How can this Administration enforce international law when it doesn’t adhere to it?
While other nations, even our allies, dream of an international criminal court, where all can be treated equally before the law and where all can receive justice–even the smallest against the biggest–the US obstructs, dissembles, obfuscates, and turns the dream into a nightmare.
Why would the US not want to be a part of the community of nations standing for justice for all?
Could it be that we really don’t want justice for all?
I think to get that answer we need only look at the administration of justice here at home.
Why is it so hard for the authorities to say we might have made a mistake in prosecuting the young men in the Central Park Jogger case? Is it more a case of damage control for the government than justice for the people?
The United States ought to stand for dignity in the world. Our mission ought to be to lift up others and to so be lifted up ourselves. Through the good that we do in the world, we gain the respect and admiration of the world.
That’s one way to do it.
And then there’s the Bush Way: which has America feared more than loved.
I wonder if this is the way he treats his children?
For we are graced to be the most powerful country in the world. Kind of like parents and children.
We are the leader of the world. But effective leadership metes out justice without favoritism; supplies love equitably to all; asks not what can be done for you, but asks what you can do for others.
As it stands now, the poor of the world are being asked to give up their resources, for little or nothing–or lose their lives.
It is a stick-up of global proportions.
And we are being asked to go along with it.
And so, in the absence of justice, and in the absence of dignity; we are the ones who must stand up for peace.
Can you imagine that when World War II and Korean War veterans asked the US to keep its promise of lifetime healthcare, our government just this week, in our name, said “sorry” and denied their request for healthcare?
Yet, on any given night, there are at least a quarter of a million veterans who are sleeping on our streets. Suffering from the ill health effects of Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, depleted uranium, and post-traumatic stress syndrome, too many of them are just a stone’s throw from the Oval Office.
That’s the thanks of a grateful nation.
It’s easy to send people off to war when you haven’t been to war.
George Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle . . . where were you when your country needed you?
We have a right to say no to George Bush’s brand of patriotism and to yield to the words of our founding father George Washington who warned us to beware the false patriots.
We, who hold America to her promise, are the true patriots.
We not only have a right to be here, standing for peace; we have the responsibility.
I am with you and will be with you until we stop the war before it begins!