The passing of civil rights giant John Lewis is an occasion to reflect on how racial injustice and militarism are related. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the American attempt to impose its solution on the people of Vietnam. While U.S. soldiers, many Black, were being sent to fight, kill and die far from home, King deplored America’s “failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.”
Similarly, Rep. Lewis saw a relationship between unjust treatment of American minorities, especially the Black community, and our nation’s propensity to rely on military solutions to international issues. He challenged not only white supremacy but also U.S. American supremacy.
In 2002, months before the United States invaded Iraq, Lewis argued on the House floor that such action “will not bring peace to the Middle East. It will not make the world a safer, or better, or more loving place.” How prophetically true!
In his commitment to nonviolent solutions, Lewis introduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act bill (H.R. 4169) to Congress, which would allow taxpayers to earmark their federal income taxes to be spent only for nonmilitary purposes. Let’s encourage our congressional representatives to support this bill.
Luke S. Martin