Peace Platoon in Las Vegas

This year, Nevada Desert Experience, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, the Las Vegas Catholic Worker and the Sekhmet Temple to Goddess Spirituality walked as the “Peace Platoon” in the Las Vegas Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration.

Our handouts, and the excerpts of Dr. King that we played on our sound system brought to light the pacifist King, the man who preached against the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism. It was a fun, beautiful, uplifting day!

(Photo of Mark and the others: Jim Haber. More photos here)

Martin Luther King, April 4th

In international conflicts the truth is hard to come by, because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins.

But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.

There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we’re always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.

I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.

Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

And don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, “You’re too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God.”

Choice quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr., on the occasion of the 42d anniverasry of his assassination, which coincides with Easter 2010, the conclusion of the Sacred Peace Walk.

Start of the Sacred Peace Walk March 30th 2010

The starting point of the Sacred Peace Walk was the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. at Martin Luther King Boulevard, North Las Vegas. Symbolically MLK was asked to join in. The walkers also got the blessing of a former chef of the Nevada Test Site, who apparently had a serious disease after having worked there for twenty-seven years. He was a passer-by.

There was singing, a blessing of the participants with sage and off the twenty-five participants went.

There was a strong, hot Southwestern wind, sometimes with force of 60m/h, which led to the idea that camping would be impossible at the end of the first stage.
As far as we know this will however be done. We are awaiting further news.