If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were alive today, he might well be leading acts of civil disobedience against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And he would probably be charged with domestic terrorism, under the new anti-terrorism act. Anyone who has any links to his organization, or contributed money to it, could be charged too.
According to Section 803 of the act, it takes three things to make you a domestic terrorist. You have to break a law (federal or state). Your lawbreaking has to involve "acts dangerous to human life." And it must "appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce" a civilian population and / or the government.
Suppose Dr. King and a bunch of others sat down in a highway in front of a truck carrying cluster bombs on their way to Iraq. This one should be an easy shot for a prosecutor who wants to charge him with terrorism. He definitely broke the law. "Acts dangerous to human life"? You betcha, the prosecutor tells the jury.
The crowd could easily get out of hand, spill into the oncoming lane, and cause a car to swerve dangerously. The truck carrying the bombs might get tipped over. An ambulance with a mortally ill person might not be able to get through. If one protestor forgot about the little penknife in her pocket, the prosecutor's case would be made: armed with deadly weapons.
And surely the protest appears to be an effort to intimidate or coerce the government.
For the defense, I can hardly hope to find words as eloquent as Dr. King's would have been. But I can guess the gist of it. Yes, we broke the law, King would admit. And we are prepared to take the punishment prescribed for blocking a public thoroughfare. But terrorism? No way. We are a disciplined, well-trained group of protestors. We took great care to make sure nothing that we did would harm anyone. If an ambulance came by, we'd move immediately. Otherwise, the only danger was from the police, who might not be as careful as we were. And that woman had no idea the little knife was in her pocket; no intent there.
But even if you find us dangerous to human life, you still have to prove that we were trying to intimidate or coerce the government. I follow the teachings of the great Gandhi, says King. The essence of nonviolence is that we never intend to intimidate or coerce anyone. We only show people their choices. The driver of the bomb truck did not have to stop, just because we were sitting in the road. We were prepared to suffer injury or even to die, though never to kill, in the service of peace.
The driver simply had to make a choice: Will I continue on in a path that is bound to bring injury to others, or will I turn around? We intended only to dramatize the choice that the driver, and the government that hired him, and the taxpayers who pay him, are making at every moment: either go on killing or turn around which is the literal meaning of the word "repentance."
You, Mr. Prosecutor, say that it appears that we intended to coerce. Coercion is in the eye of the beholder. Do you think the truck driver must give in to overwhelming force? Then you believe that physical power always prevails, that the stronger force always wins the day. That is precisely why you and people like you go off to war.
We refuse to make war because, we do not share your belief that physical power always prevails. We do not practice violence because we put our faith in a different kind of power -- not physical power over others, but the power of the moral conscience. We know that everyone, at every moment, is free to choose good or evil. No one can make that choice for anyone else. No one can control anyone's choices, any more than we could control the truck driver's choice. All we can do is follow our own conscience and then let others follow theirs.
Hogwash, says the prosecutor. You sat in the road to force the driver to stop, to prevent needed weapons from reaching our troops, who are fighting to defend our freedom on foreign shores. That certainly appears to have been your intention. And it is intimidation and coercion.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, having heard the evidence, what say you? Is the defendant, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., guilty or not guilty of the crime of domestic terrorism?
Ira Chernus is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder
rule Europe, Asia and Middle East for many years
until WWI. Which sided with the Germans and ended the Ottoman Empire - Turkey was estbalished.
Regardless of what religion all faiths are gulity
of killing, murdering other people.
I personally would not have prosecuted King b/c I believe in what he did, fight for his freedom. But TECHNICALLY, he and his people DID block the road, which I think was wrong..so if this was a REAL case in a REAL court, the jury would probably choose to prosecute him, because you don't go by belief, you go by evidence, which is exactly what the prosecuter had. But, in MY opinion, I believe in what King had to say, and under my breath, I still believe he is innocent.
"Most people in the Old Teastament were not examples of things you should not do." I am confused by these conflicting ideas. Yes of course there were some good people.
However the mass killings and polygamy of the Old Testament were unacceptable. God constantly told the Israelites through various prophets that they should shape up or he would abandon them and this is what happened. There are often references made to the "angry God" of the Old Testament. Of course he was angry because of all the killing, slavery, idolatry and polygamy of those times. Some of the prophets were also guilty of these behaviors and should have known better.
I am shocked by your ideas. You "use to have a problem" with mass slaugther. Using your logic 9/11, the Holocaust or in general killing anyone who was different or had different values would be justified. Didn't Jesus say love the sinner hate the sin. I agree with you though that the Old Testament characters are "examples of what not to do."
Yes Muslims did try to rule the world like everyone else who ever got power, however they did it in violation of the Koranic principle that says you should never be an aggressor. Its amazing how people can claim to be so devoted to their faiths but not follow the most basic principles. Members of all faiths are guilty of this.
I guess immorality is a eason to slaughter entire tribes? I thought an attempt to convert is supposed to be the way of God. Either The Jewish people TRUELY lst God after Moses death, and Joshua's taking over, or these masacres never occured, and were simply lies perpetuated by the Babylonian Jews returning to find the land of Israel once more occupied by Pagans. You choose. Because God can NEVER sanction such actions either way proove that the old testiment has many parts that lie about God's will, meaning it is not the word of God.
It is that rabid brand of Christianity which you so happily espouse that is cause many chaotic situations today not the least of which is the Middle East (Armageedon). It is this same kind of Christianity which brough the Crusades, Inquisition plus countless other tales of genocide dont against the people of the world. It is this vile Christianity that Dr. King himself fought against....being a believer himself. Do yourself a favor and get acquanted with facts before rejurgitating baseless canard.
"Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted  to the LORD . Only Rahab the prostitute  and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury."
20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it-men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
Mr. Leavins, if you knew anything whatsoever about the life and times of Dr. King, you would know who he considered and proved as violent. You'd do well to read about him before ascribing nonsenseical statements on his behalf.
I got news for you little man, you're not fit to kiss the ground Dr. King walked on. You obviously have a problem with civil rights...but again its not like you're well versed in the Constitution. Who cares what someone as un-American and unintelligent as you thinks ? Basically mike, you come of as another one of Rush Limbaugh's illegitimate progeny, having zero interest in facts and figures and a healthy amount of irrational jingoism, the hallmark of a war mongering chicken hawk rotting in his filthy trailer.
Make something of yourself before you die an idiotic and irrelevent hack hopped up on the AM dialer. Perhaps you can join the Armed forces....but we do have standards in the military.
Regarding MLK. His stance was for equal opportunity and equality regardless of race, creed, sex, or ethnicity. He was not a saint. When I think of hero's this planet has known he does not make the list. His family can make all the money they want and more power to them. Jesse Jackson is Wall Street in preacher's clothing. In "Operation Push", Jesse Jackson's organization, his air travel expenses were listed at more than one million dollars in 2001. I don't know about you fellows, but that seems a tad expensive.
And to answer the good doctor in Boulder Co. MLK called for civil disobedience, that does not relate to terrorism. Terrorist kill innocent people. He would not be arrested.
I normally chastise people with similar views to me from geting off the subject but time and time again I hear you making judgement calls and insults on peoples lives here, anonymous peoples who you do not know or know nothing about.
Also why must you constantly bring up your time in service as evidence for your views as if having an opinion and being a Marine adds anything to your arguement. Not all service members or past service members have the same opinions you know.
I do like MLK, I am not black, I respect him and Ghandi but also Malcolm X because they were not afraid to affect necessary changes. I do not respect Jesse Jackson, however, he is a self absorbed troublebrewer who cares more about his wallet and his bed than about what is better for "blacks"
What is better for blacks now that the law is on their side is to convince America that they are no different that "blacks" are not "blacks" but simply humans, erase the myth of "race" and create a nation without color. Men like Jesse Jackson play up "race" for their own goals.
So while you sit in some seedy little room with no friends, no future and no hope try to grasp what is going on in the world. Just because you don't know who your daddy is doesn't mean you should take it out on the rest of the world. Have your birth certificate altered from saying "Father Unknown" to read "Father not Positively Identified due to Mother's working in a Whorehouse in New Orleans."
To brand millions of heroic protestors from all different walks of life as "hippies hopped up on weed" is not only an outright lie and a clear reflection of your lack of any character. These protestors are the REAL AMERICANS who carry their patriotism in their hearts and minds...not on the back of rusted truck's bumper. I'd bet your sorry rear end will be in Canada if this war you're so eager for doesnt go as planned....speaking of which....have you enlisted ? Or are you full of crap like all the other warmongers out there?
One last thing...any relation to Matt Hale the racist leader of the WCC or are you just a totally different bigoted bottom feeder ? Bottom line Mike, you're an uneducated, ignorant brainwashed loser whos better of playing his GI Joe action figures rather than take on the realities of life.
Anyone, am I imagining this?
But a reality check proves this article wrong.
All the people arrested over the weekend have been charge with civil disobedience.
Don't get me wrong, I am against a war with Iraq, It is not in the Christian character to act un-godly. We should all pray and act in righteousness against an unjust war but I will not oppose it with lies or sensationalism.
NO war with Iraq and a free Home for all Palestinians.
These will Please God.
God bless you all.
A Christian Evangelist.
It is another attempt to stifle the constitution. Alhumdullah the courts in America are not anywhere near as political or corrupt as the congress. The danger is that it is a "terorism" law and because it has the word "terrorism" on it the politicians may be able to get more lee way. No one will say anything about these new freedom stifling laws from the majority for now. Bubba redneck won't care til it starts to affect him, his hunting and his life. My father believes that "time's have changed and it time to give the government a little lee way to fix this terrorism thing"
Ashcroft said maybe some of our freedoms are outdated.
We've seen the current administration to things that are unconstitutional, but with little criticism from the media. Rounding up of Middle Easterners and people from Muslim countries. Secret trials of "terrorists" by the military. The Bush administration hopes to find evidence against Iraq after a war not before like it did in Afghanistan. The tape from Usama clearly admitted to the New York attack, but the US had no specific evidence prior to that other than Usama's actions in the past.
The "anti-terror" legislation is also planning to stiffle other American rights. A database/super computer will be set up to monitor all goings on in the US electronically. They will no where you eat and where you get your groceries unless you constantly use cash. The infrastructure is in place. Member cards now even tell what you buy at the grocery store even when you do you cash unless you want to pay double.
Clamp downs are occuring on gun control as well. It seems that all these "anti-terrorist" laws are nothing more than the same laws people protested against before Sept that didn't get passed.