Articles From the October 1993 Unification News


Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Address

by Dr. James A. Baughman

The following is the address given August 28, 1993 at the event commemorating the thirty-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The address was limited to three minutes on the topic of peace, and was given to an audience of about 8,000 labor and union representatives gathered at the grounds near the Washington Monument.

Thank you. I would like to extend warm greetings to all my sisters and brothers gathered here from all nations, all races and all religions. Welcome to this historic site on this historic occasion.

All generations from the beginning of time have sought individual and world peace. However, all we keep getting is anything but peace. A wise man once told me that, "If you want to keep on gettin' what you're gettin', then keep on doin' what you're doin'!"

The question then is, what have we been doing to keep getting everything except peace?

The problem is that we live with the mistaken belief that peace will come only on the foundation of social justice, equality and human rights. Often our crusade for these noble causes has been a self- serving pursuit caring only for our own rights and little for the rights and concerns of others.

Our narrowly-conceived pursuits then often lead to law suits, reverse discrimination and vengeance. Furthermore, it is my experience that many who claim to be victimized by one segment of our society are themselves victimizers of another group.

None of us are immune from prejudice or above the curse of self- centered narrow-mindedness.

Let's be honest and look at the truth about ourselves, even though it may be uncomfortable. Let's put the responsibility upon ourselves to begin the process of peace instead of expecting someone else to do it.

For instance, I have seen whites come against blacks; but I have also seen blacks confront Asians. I have seen prejudice against gays, but also gays who ridicule those who prefer conventional marriage and family.

It is clear that peace and unity can never come about solely by making demands for justice and human rights. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this. So did all the true peace-makers of history, Solomon, Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Gandhi and Mother Teresa. They spoke of more than justice. They spoke of true love and compassion starting from repentance and forgiveness.

These are the qualities which will lead us to true, lasting peace and unity. Yet these are sorely lacking in our day-to-day dealings with each other. We would prefer to blame others, angrily demand our rights and make sure people "get what they deserve."

Repentance, forgiveness and compassion are aspects of a true parental model of love which is critically needed in our time. True parents take the responsibility upon themselves to make peace and unity among all members of their family.

So, to gain true peace, we must first seek justice, not only for ourselves but justice for all! Next, however, we must go beyond mere justice and adopt a true parental model of love to deal with issues of conflict, misunderstanding and prejudice.

And, we must all start by using the power of repentance and forgiveness. Since we are all victimizers, we must all repent to those whom we have abused. Since we are all victimized, we must all learn how to forgive as well. This is the strength of all true men and women of peace.

We have come here today to remember a man who had a dream. But that dream is ours! And that dream is now!

Practicing the virtues of repentance, forgiveness and compassion does not come easy. Yet this is our hope, and this is the price we must pay for peace. We must be willing to go beyond ourselves to pay this price if we are to live that dream dreamed three decades ago. Otherwise, we will continue "gettin' what we're gettin'", a vicious nightmare for ourselves and our children.

My sincere wish for everyone gathered here today is that God may grant each of us the courage and strength to repent before our brothers and sisters, to forgive and to unite based upon compassion.

Thank you very much!


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