No one spoke with greater conviction against the war in Vietnam and in defense of all victims – foreign and domestic – than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Less than a year before his assassination, on April 30, 1967, King made one of his most remarkable sermons ever, explaining why he opposed the war in Vietnam. As with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King demonstrated his ability for thinking in broad terms, and in ways that united all who listened. He spoke not just of those directly affected by the war, but also of its impact on society, justice, and world order.
His points are timeless and apply equally to our current conflicts in the Middle East, as they did to the war in Vietnam.
His most profound message is directed towards those young men and women who are thinking of going to war, believing that their greatest purpose in life is to serve their country and to do so without question. To this King says: “Every man has rights that are neither conferred by nor derived from the State – they are God-given.”
In other words, he implores us to put moral conviction – that which is instilled in us by our Creator at birth – before government and patriotic symbolism.
Below is an abbreviated version of King’s sermon.