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“Beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical” at Three Roads Blog
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“Beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical”

Sarah Vowell, writing for the Times:

Here’s what Dr. King got out of the Sermon on the Mount. On Nov. 17, 1957, in Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he concluded the learned discourse that came to be known as the “loving your enemies” sermon this way: “So this morning, as I look into your eyes and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you: ‘I love you. I would rather die than hate you.’ ”

Go ahead and re-read that. That is hands down the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical thing a human being can say. And it comes from reading the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical civics lesson ever taught, when Jesus of Nazareth went to a hill in Galilee and told his disciples, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”

In this age of a slower, grubbier mutually assured destruction, when no one’s typed the word “nonviolence” since the typewriter, it’s worth reading Dr. King’s quarrel with the cold war’s MAD ploy. In the “loving your enemies” text he tells a pretty little parable about how one night his brother A. D. drove him to Tennessee. Infuriated by all the other cars’ brights, A. D. vowed to crank his lights and blind the next driver passing by. Dr. King told him not to, that it would just get everybody killed. “Somebody got to have some sense on this highway,” he said.

 

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