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John Bass
Board President of the Northern California Intereligious Conference
January 15, 2006

Almost forty years ago,

Martin Luther King Jr spoke these words...

    " We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

    " A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

This past Friday,

I participated in an event at the Oakland Federal Building entitled.."

"HONOR Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



We all know Dr Kingís dream. It is now in our textbooks and we celebrate his birthday tomorrow as a national holiday.

But, what is this nightmare?

Mark Leno is an Assembly member from San Francisco who is more articulate than I and had this to say recently in an op ed piece in a local paper.

"The horror, lies, corruption, deceit, death, and destruction of the Bush-Cheney administration have all evolved to a scale beyond any of our worst nightmares. Our once-great nation has been reduced to a preemptive war machine, squandering our limited national resources on its imperial conquests while our domestic needs are left unattended.

"This administration, aided by the one-party rule in Washington, DC, has traded governing for propaganda, allowed a treasured major city to decay in its own ruins, allowed the Department of Homeland Security to feed the voracious, petty appetites of lawmakers, replaced science with superstition, transformed torture into policy, enriched the most privileged by indebting future generations, and ignored the urgency of global warming Ė while doing everything in its power to supplant our democracy with a theocracy "

Mr Leno goes on to say how the Bush administration references everything to 9-11 while cutting budgets and waging wars which ultimately make us less safe. He continues on to say how the world canít wait another 3 years for us to get them out of power and to join in that campaign.

Others of us donít know what to say.. We are numb, shell shocked, not sure what to think, outraged, disgusted, depressed.

I am amazed at how some of us who can see the lies of this administration and still hold on to the government version of what happened on Sept-11th 2001. I mean, if they can lie and distort everything else, from how the tax cuts will effect you to the WMDs in Iraq, how come 9-11 is held as a sacred truth that canít be questioned. If they can do the terrible things that Mr Leno says, could they also not do something as terrible as 9-11?

Three days ago, I was at Oakland High school and the school psychologist there had a button on that read

    "your ignorance is their power"

in question to what really happened on 9-11, that statement could not be more true.

Why were the planes not intercepted when that is standard operating procedure?

How is it that steel buildings like the world trade center, which have never before or since collapsed due to fire, collapse? Falling into their footprint? And what about building 7 ?

And why is it? when we all know that in an emergency the President is taken away to a secure location by the secret service that President Bush sat there in a very exposed public location listening to My Pet Goat? A president sitting there to not upset the children or as any criminal.. to set an alibi at the time of the crime?

These questions can lead to frightening conclusions which is why some of us do not wish to ask them, but, part of a spiritual life is in pursuing the hard questions and looking at reality directly. It is only by facing our fears that we can conquer them.

What would Dr Martin Luther king Jr say today in terms of this question?

I would like to end here today with Dr Kingís words when he spoke of "Beyond Vietnam" A time to Break Silence".

" A time comes when silence is betrayal"

"The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men to not easily assume the task of opposing their governmentís policy, especially in times of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within oneís own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on."

I would agree with Dr. Martin Luther King JR.

That time is now and we must move on

Together with love and compassion.

Thank you.

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