The Words of the Taylor Family
DMZ Declaration for Peace
"By What Authority"
This speech Given at the DMZ
May 25, 2000
Dr. Hycel B. Taylor
Let me be brief in my declaration, which I present in pure and profound humility. If you take time to read the history of the DMZ, which is included in the binder given to each of us, you will see that the narrative of it is long, comprehensive, complex and complicated. This torturous and tormenting chasm is the consequence of a tremendous human tragedy too sacred to play with its sanctity, too intense to treat insensitively, too solemn to trivialize with trite sermonizing and too serious to be dealt with in simplicity.
The question we must ask is, "By what authority do we as ministers from foreign shores and distant lands, particularly those of us who are African-American, offer a declaration of peace before this dreadful Demilitarized Zoneóthis damnable divide that has Satanically separated the Korean nation and its families for centuries?" What, indeed, would be the purpose and import of such a declaration of peace on the part of us who are so far removed from the immediacy of their suffering?
If it can be no more than an empty gesture and an in-genuine ceremonial exercise, then let us immediately subject ourselves to silence and re-board our buses and go back home.
By what authority, we must ask ourselves, especially as black men and women in this solemn assembly of religious leaders, dare we send a declaration of peace upon the wings of the wind, asking them to tear down this wretched wall and open a door for yellow men and women, brothers and sisters, who have suffered the agony of estrangement and alienation from each other, appealing to them to sit down at the table of forgiveness and peace?
We must ask the question, by what authority do we as intercessors of any race or nation, i.e., all who are gathered here at this momentous moment, invoke the powerful and unprecedented intervention of the Divine...the infinite, invisible, indivisible, eternal ...the life-giving Spirit of Allah, God, Jehovah...the Creator of the universe...the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, to break through the hard shell of history and liberate this people from the shackles of divisiveness and self-destruction; i.e., to do what no one to this date has succeeded in doing.
If it is merely to satisfy our pious and passive device to have done something that seems saintly and sacrificial, but has no real political, personal or social consequences to a people who yearn to be free, our words will be as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
By what authority?...we must ask ourselves.
Iíll tell you by what authority. It is by the authority of the God of Moses, who found himself secluded and secure in retreat, and who was in conscious conflict with himself in a Midian desert, where he was struggling with his call to go back to Egypt to set the captives free. He was on the backside of the mountain, and saw a burning bush that was not consumed...and where he heard a voice saying, "Take your shoes off, because the ground on which you stand is Holy Ground."
We must understand that God is saying, "This DMZ is still my ground. This ground is sacred ground. I created this ground, and whenever I want it, I can take it. Yes, Korea has been burning with the fire of bitterness, hostility and unreconciled relationships, but it is not consumed. Take your shoes off. You are standing on Holy Ground."
If you ask me, "What is the instrument of your authority?" Iíll ask you to take the rod of truth in your hand and part the Red Sea. And if the God of Moses could part the Red Sea, that same God has the power to open a pathway of peace through the DMZ.
If they ask you, "By whose authority do you tread upon this ground, and who has sent you?" Just tell them, "I Am That I Am sent me." Go down, black ministers of America. You who are the sons and daughters of slaves and slave masters...who have "been there and done that." Tell the contemporary pharaohs of Communism to let Godís Korean children go.
I can tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Joshua, to whom God said, "Moses My servant is dead; now, therefore, be of good courage and go over this Jordan. You and all this people. As I was with Moses, Iíll be with you." Go down, you black Moses, and tell the children of Korea to rise above their past. "Heal your wounds and get over your pain, because you are fully able to march around this wall and unite your nation once again.
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery, but who found himself positioned to save his people.
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of David, who took a small rock and a sling shot...and swung it around and around and let it go, and killed the giant, Goliath.
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Jeremiah, who wept for his people.
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Isaiah, who was in the temple on the Lordís Day, and saw God high and lifted-up, and his train filled the temple, and said, "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live in the midst of men of unclean lips"...and he heard a voice saying, "Who shall we send, and who will go for us?" And he said, "Here am I; send me."
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Amos, who declared, "Let justice roll down like water, and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream."
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of Jonah, whom God sent to Ninevah to tell the people to repent.
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of the God of the Apostle Paul, who said, "Put on the whole armor of God; because we wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities of power, the rulers of darkness in this world and wickedness in high places."
Iíll tell you by what authority. Itís by the authority of Jesus, the Anointed One...the only-begotten Son of God...Emmanuel...my elder brother, who commanded us to take authority. The same Jesus who declared, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to declare that a new eon is breaking in upon us." The same Jesus who spoke to the winds and declared, "Peace...be still."
Iíll tell you by what authority. For those of us who are African-American, itís the authority of that same Jesus who was the Lord of Nat Turner. That same Jesus who was the Lord of Harriet Tubman. That same Jesus who was the Lord of Denmark Vessey, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Phyllis Weatley. The same Allah who was the Allah of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. The same Jesus who was the Lord of Medgar Evers, Jimmy Lee Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The same Jesus who has inspired the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to launch a movement for world peace.
We, therefore, on this 25th day of May, in the year 2000 (for those of us who are Christian), declare in the name of Jesus...not in our own names...in the name of Jesus...not in our denominationís name...in the name of Jesus...not in our doctrineís name...in the name of Jesus...not in our religionís name...in His name we declare that this damnable, demeaning, demoralizing, dehumanizing, family-destroying, nation-dividing and demonic wall be torn down, ripped up, razed to the ground...and the children of Korea beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more.
But, while for others we are declaring that the wall must fall, do not pass us by. We declare the tearing down of the prisons that are incarcerating black children and black people in America. Tear down the walls built of alcohol, drugs, guns, joblessness, hopelessness, doubt and despair. Tear down the walls of racism and sexism everywhere in America and around the world.
In the name of Jesus we declare, "Peace...be still." "My peace," he declared, "I give you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you...My peace." We declare peace and the end of the DMZ...because, "In Christ there is no East or West; in him no North or South." "For when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed." This is our declaration of peace.
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