King …Gandhi … Peace-makers Need Protection, Too

January 22, 2012 by  

Reverend Dr. King stood for peace,

When I first began hearing the name, Dr. Martin Luther King I was in high school. At the time, I heard Reverend C.H. Jordan make reference to him and a phenomenon known as a sit-in. The most intriguing part of his talk with the congregation was the revelation that Dr. King was leading African-Americans in the peaceful pursuit of our Civil Rights. My blood-flow increased. It felt right. After I had outgrown my childhood innocence which saw the world only in terms of my immediate community and my parents, I realized that there was a larger community in America. Too my horror. I discovered that this larger lighter-skinned community (identified as The Others in my book, The Secret of Freedom) had power not only of the African-American people, in general but also over my own mother and father. I was incensed when I found this out. I felt betrayed.

How could it be possible that a person was born in a country and lacke the rights inherent in citizenship? I naively thought that the Government would set things right. After all, there was the Constitution of The United States ... all people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

My feelings about the matter were righteous, I was sure of it. With such a strong conviction it was easy for me to defy the norm and expect my rights. When I ordered in a restaurant I refused to take my food outside but took a table. Usually, the lighter-skinned folks got up and left but I stayed. Today, I know that I was fortunate. No one knew exactly what to do with me, and no one tried to hurt me. Mostly, they were in shock. My parents were afraid that I was going to get killed being defiant. However, I did not fear death more than I feared a life of dishonor. So by the time I heard the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, rallying us to the front, I was ready.

It did not escape our notice that while African-Americans remained peaceful during the Marches, that the police and many of the onlookers did not. People were being hurt. They were kicked, clubbed, bitten by dogs and washed across the concrete by high-pressure hoses blasting water. Always, Dr. King stood firm on peace. He was not above taking a blow or going to jail. He was not above bleeding for the cause.

One must not view the Reverend Dr. King outside of the context of his spiritual heritage. He was a Christian preacher, an under shepherd, a man charged with tending and protecting the flock of Jesus Christ. Christ was powered by all-embracing love and peace. That spiritual current directed the methodology of Dr. King so that he drew on peace and non-violence. By emphasizing that message every opportunity he had, he generated the aura of the movement, an aura so intense it caught the attention of the global community.

Something else happened that was remarkable. Dr.King flew to India to meet with the acclaimed spiritual leader, Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi, a man who had lead his people in an un-armed and peaceful overthrow of British rule. The other side had great weapons of steel, Gandhi had faith. The British did not stand a chance. Mahatma Gandhi called his movement, Ahimsa , non-injury. The African-American church embraced Gandhi. His name was spoken with respect from pulpits. Among his practices was to fast and recite The Beatitudes ...Blessed be the man ... a sermon of Jesus, recorded in The Bible. Somehow, the saintly aura of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a Hindu by designation, penetrated all Religious objections. Dr. King studied with him and came back to America with a higher view.

mo chi chu, straight ahead without looking back.

There is, however, specialization,a division of labor, there are other offices in any warlike campaign. Thus, even when there is dedication to a peaceful resolution of a major conflict the dragon will appear. It is the nature of The Beast to disturb the peace and to annihilate the peaceful. Only when we acknowledge the presence of The Beast can we take preventative measures to block his attacks. Too often, people are so caught up in the "halo" of the leader that they fail to recognize their vulnerability. Whenever a person rises up to speak against the power elite, harbingers of money and power, they become a target. The president has the Secret Service. Both Gandhi and Dr. King could have benefited from the watchful eyes of those special warriors known as bodyguards. They stand quietly, discreetly in the background, dedicated to preserving a life. That is their primary mission.

The way our laws are enforced, the citizen has been trained, indoctrinated, to expect the police to serve and protect. I once came across a scene where a man had just beaten a woman while several Black Belts watched. When I asked why they did not help the woman the highest ranking among them said, "that's a job for the police. They felt no responsibility to use their considerable skills to stop the abuse. Spiritually, we are all responsible for protecting the peace of the community and for those who stand in the line of fire to champion our causes. We should never look beyond the revelations of our own spirit for the authority to act. As we have observed recently in Middle-Eastern countries, Dictators do not grant permission for the citizens to overthrow them. The contradiction in a democracy is that actual rights and parity within the society are not evident upon close examination. Those who highlight those contradictions are in danger, though the threat is not so obvious or as open as it use to be. Still, fighting for a cause can result in death or imprisonment under some trumped up pretense. The people must rally. They must stand united around their visionaries. They must protect the body.

A few years back during another period when Dr. King's Birthday was being celebrated I bought an add in the New Norfolk Journal & Guide, the third oldest African-American newspaper in the country. In the ad I apologized to the martyr. "We should have protected you with our shields," I said. It was not like attempts on his life were not expected. There should have been a secret service of sorts to protect him. We had Military veterans, experienced policemen, Martial artists. What happened?

Peace must  be defended.    

"THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT IS NOT MADE OF STEEL BUT IT CAN MAKE US SHARPER THAN STEEL," Roshi teaches. (Kitabu Roshi surrounded by  the trademark symbols of his path.

We are so good at celebrating people who die for us. We are not so good at celebrating people who go to war for us in various ways. We are slow to celebrate those who live to serve us. We must do better than that. Peace. whether peace of mind or peace in the valley is a great gift but The Dragon has the singular mission of taking it away. The Dragon is a destroyer by definition. Do we let him devour the stillness and bring havoc to our world, to our soul? You can trust me on this. It is a great virtue to stand for peace. It is also a great virtue to defend it. If anyone tells you to beat your sword into a plowshare, it will be The Dragon. As long as there is violence in the world the sword that saves must remain in the hands of the defender.

... We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against powers, and spiritual wickedness in high place ...

Ephesians 6:12


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