Monday, April 26, 2010

10 points for non-violent resistance to evil

"We seek justice and reconciliation, not victory."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as I have pointed out before, was not a preacher of tolerance as so many "students" of history believe. A lot of people seem to confuse non-violence with tolerance. Not so. On the contrary, Dr. King believed evil must be confronted. Indeed, his entire movement was a testimony to the confrontation of evil.

One does not always need to resort to violence for one's cause to come to pass. It is possible -- and this was proved by both Dr. King in America and the Apartheid Line in South Africa -- to shame one's oppressors into becoming better people. It is called passive resistance. Taking the club and chain, the beatings, the fire hoses, the dog bites, and coming back for more until your oppressors can't bring themselves to beat you any longer.

Passive resistance. Non-violent confrontation of evil.

Anyway, I saw a tv program the other day where Dr. King's niece was speaking on a panel. She mentioned that Dr. King had a list of 10 things printed up, and before you were allowed to participate in a group that was associated with his name, or march in one of his Civil Rights demonstrations, you were asked to sign your name to that list of 10 requirements. I didn't know that. I was so interested, I Googled to find out what those 10 things were.

1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation, not victory.

3. Walk and talk in the manner of love; for God is love.

4. Pray daily to be used by God that all men might be free.

5. Sacrifice personal wishes that all men might be free.

6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7. Seek to perform regular service for others and the world.

8. Refrain from violence in fist, tongue, and heart.

9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on demonstrations.

Some of you who have been following Relax Max for a long time remember a blog he used have called "Yummy Biscuits". At the end, this blog was a joint effort of myself and my friend "A." A post on that old blog comes to mind when I think of Dr. King, although it is about the African struggle rather than the American Civil Rights Movement. It is both heartwarming and disparing to read those posts today, but I recommend this one. (Yummy Biscuits and Relax Max are the same person.)


  1. Apparently Yummy Biscuits is by invitation only and I haven't been invited.

    I'm not sure what you were driving at with the tolerance/intolerance thing. I don't associate tolerance with condoning evil. I associate it with treating people with love.

    Perhaps it's just a perception.

  2. I'm sorry you weren't able to get into the blog to read the associated post. I hope you will try again sometime. Thanks.

  3. It was an excellent post on Yummy Biscuits and I'm glad you sent me there.

    I'm still confused about what you were trying to say here. That his movement went part and parcel with Christianity. Nothing new in that. Gandhi was equally religious.

    I guess I feel like there's an underlying statement you're trying to make. I'm just not sure what it is.

    I do agree, most heartily, that standing against oppression non-violently is the way to go and takes terrific bravery and fortitude. I have tremendous respect for King.

  4. @Stephanie Barr - I have never heard of the word tolerance being used in the sense of showing love, as you say. To tolerate is to allow something to happen without protest. Often tolerance is good. Often tolerance is necessary just to get by in our society without having a fist fight everyday. Your neighbor has loud music, you tolerate it instead of calling the police, perhaps.

    Since the 1960s in the U.S., "tolerance" has taken on a tone of "live and let live". This is fine to a certain extent; you can't walk around being belligerent to other people just because they don't share your values. If people smoke pot, and you don't share that value, you just keep your mouth shut. There are people who feel strongly against homosexuality. But if they see two men holding hands and living together openly, most will keep their mouth shut. Such is life. It is how we get along.

    To a certain extent.

    When you look the other way when someone abuses his wife, or when there are organized dog fighst going on in your neighborhood, or when you see gangs defacing properly, then our society suffers and it shouldn't be tolerated. Such was the case in the Jim Crow South before the Civil Rights Movement stood up to that shame. Before that, a lot of white people - a LOT - just turned their backs and shut it out of their minds.

    Those things are evil. Those things must be confronted.

    That is the context I was blogging about. When people avert their eyes and accept things that shouldn't be accepted, that is tolerance gone amok.

  5. That picture makes me sad, what a horrible reminder of how we were. Great list, thx for sharing.

    And I agree with your commenter’s.

  6. See, RM, we agree.

    There is a difference. Homosexuality, whether it appeals to you or not, doesn't harm anyone (unless, as some religious folks think, it harms them). Beating your wife or treating a group of people as second class citizen, however, does great harm and not just to those oppressed.

  7. Coming from left field. (have always wanted to say that, not sure what it means but I know is feels appropriate here) Queen Oprah made her employees sign a document that says the swear never to use their mobile phones in the car, following a show she did about the dangers etc etc bla bla fishpaste.

    I wouldn't have been able to follow 7 of the King's rules. And I don't know about shaming your oppressors into submission. Didn't work out to well for pre-Civil War blacks, Russian serfs and Napoleans enemies. Actually I'm pretty sure that's complete bollocks on my part, I was attempting to rescue myself from the humiliation of my irrelevant comment. *snort*

    Although, it was more sanctions and international pressure that broke the deadlock of apartheid in SA, more than the formation of Mkonto we Sizwe and their petrol bombs anyhow.

  8. @ Jeff King - It WAS a horrible time. We still have a long ways to go, too. Thank you for your comment.

    @Stephanie Barr - Yes, there is a difference. Things which don't really harm you should be tolerated. And they are, in the main. Did I miss saying that? Like you say, however, people have different opinions on what harms society, or their vision of they want society to be. But those people can protest and carry hateful signs at Vets' funerals instead of fighting and oppressing.

  9. @Patchwork - I promise not to sigh. You will snort anew to learn that I wrote out a long response to your comment before destroying it. I know you are mostly baiting me. Arrrgh!

    My original response to you went into the origins of the Economic boycot of South Africa and even touched on the shameful reversal of the ANC over the years. Oh, it was good.

    Well, I will just wish you happy Freedom Day, a bit belatedly, and tell you how I respect you for what you did yesterday. You walk the walk.

    I know better than to argue with you about the American Civil War. You read too much. Heh.

    Left field is a baseball term. I think you are having me on about that too. :)



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