If We Don’t Humanize, We Brutalize

Back in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a sermon titled “Beyond Vietnam” n which he called upon his listeners to move from a culture of things to persons. He also spoke of how we need to address head-on the evil axis of economic exploitation, racism, and militarism. All these things were connected then. They are connected now.

We hear a great deal about police brutality and inequities impacting the African American community. We hear of the “New Jim Crow” bound up with the prison system as a big business that impacts African American men disproportionately. MLK’s sermon engages the overarching themes that bear on these issues and the need to move from brutality to humanity. If we don’t humanize one another, we will brutalize those who are “other,” including African Americans, police officers, and the like.

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway.”

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