10 December 2009

From "thing-oriented" to "person-oriented"

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967

(The AP English language and composition students at 505 Elm Ave. in Imperial Beach will take their first semester final exam next week. They will be writing about Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." An amazing document. One hopes they are studying it carefully. Here's an excerpt from a later document--a speech from 1967--that we should dust off and read carefully again.)

". . . we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

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. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

whole speech here

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