“Early morning, April 4/ Shot rings out/ through a Memphis sky/”Free at last,” they heard you cry/ They could not take your life…”
This week marks the anniversary of the death on April 4, 1968 of Martin Luther King, Jr.
King said some pretty prophetic words only a year prior to his death while preaching a sermon entitled “Beyond Vietnam” at Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967:
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…
Yet it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must 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.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities.
If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers around the world wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? That the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost?
The choice is ours.
Hard to say anything else after that… maybe this isn’t a ‘rebel song’ per se, but I think we need to listen to the ‘rebel words’ from the likes of MLK… especially now…
(If you want to listen to “Pride” – go to U2.com here)