Paul’s Perambulations

January 21, 2013

Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King with civil disobedience

Filed under: Love,Peace,Politics,Religion — admin @ 4:40 pm

I was arrested today at the King of Prussia facility of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer and nuclear weapons manufacturer. Today is the holiday when we particularly honor the birth and life of Martin Luther King. How better to do this than to act in accord with his own life and teachings?  I and other members of the Brandywine Peace Community were peacefully attempting to deliver Martin Luther King’s message that we must cease building weapons that could destroy mankind.

Besides being faithful to the legacy of Martin Luther King, today’s activities are faithful to the spirit of the original Plowshares Eight (including Dan and Phil Berrigan), who were arrested at this same facility in 1980. Today’s action took place directly behind the King of Prussia Mall and in front of the King of Prussia Cinema, a location with high activity and visibility.

In the words of Martin Luther King, spoken at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967:

“A time comes when silence is betrayal…spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government….Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.  When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered…True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring…We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation….In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. .. We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.”

9 Comments »

  1. Why did I receive a citation for Disorderly Conduct when at the time of arrest I was on my knees in a suppliant position? Perhaps someone recognized the irony if they had charged me with Disturbing the Peace. This is a position for submission to the spirit, not a position of submission to the authorities.

    Comment by admin — January 21, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  2. At the same time as Obama was delivering his inaugural address — “We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law” — I was addressing the issue of how “We” allow Lockheed Martin to profit by making drones, Hellcat missiles, nuclear weapons, and computer systems that control this illegal (by all the rules of international law and by treaties that our government has endorsed) mess our government has created. Get real, Obama; you’re no Martin Luther King, and taking the oath of office on King’s personal bible simply makes that point clearer than ever.

    Comment by admin — January 22, 2013 @ 1:23 am

  3. Our goal is not to put people out of jobs. A great deal of work needs to be done in this country – on repairing and maintaining our deteriorating bridges and roads and public facilities, on making a good education available for all, on growing healthy food, on saving our environment, on developing a modern and inexpensive public transportation system, on doing genuine medical research to save human lives, etc. Lack of jobs is not the lack of things needing to be done — convert jobs that kill to jobs that give the gift of living a fulfilling life. Lockheed Martin could be a major resource for achieving these goals.

    Comment by admin — January 22, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  4. In response to a summons I received, I mailed the following letter to the Chief of Police and also the Judge for Upper Merion Township.

    Chief of Police February 2, 2013
    175 W. Valley Forge Road
    King of Prussia, PA 19406

    Dear Chief,

    I received a summons regarding my arrest at Lockheed Martin on Martin Luther King Day, January 14, 2013. I wish to inform you that, for reasons of conscience, I am unable to respond to any summons with respect to my actions at Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer and nuclear weapons manufacturer. Also, I will not go to court or pay any fines related to this unjust summons. On a previous occasion (Good Friday, 2006), I was also arrested at Lockheed Martin. At that time I did respond to the summons; I pleaded not guilty, went to trial, was found guilty, and paid my fine and costs, but I have come to understand that I cannot follow this procedure again. In the words of President John F. Kennedy “The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.” (June 6, 1962) As Dr. Martin Luther King showed the world by his example, which example I strive to emulate, it is no crime to follow Christ’s message and teaching. I view these actions as sacrament, not theater.

    I do recognize the need for a criminal justice system, and I also acknowledge and appreciate the professionalism of the Upper Merion Police. I have attached a copy of my letter that was published in The Villanovan (the newspaper of record for Villanova University) on January 31, 2013, on this topic.

    Peace, Paul Sheldon

    {For blog: A knowledgeable friend advised me to adjust my next-to-last sentence in the first paragraph. It had read “As I attempt to follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, I believe that I am not guilty of anything but following Christ’s message and teaching.” I was told that this could be interpreted as pleading “not guilty.” I am not pleading “not guilty.” I am saying that there was no crime and thus no basis for any charges. I may get assigned a court date anyway as a result of making any reply to a summons, in which case I will not be there.)

    Comment by admin — February 5, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

  5. This is my letter that was published in THE VILLANOVAN on January 31, 2013. It was for readers new to this topic, so there is some duplication of previous material.

    SUGGESTION FOR VILLANOVA’S MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

    I read with gratitude the Villanova article (1/24/13) about service performed by more than 500 Villanova students on Martin Luther King Day. The article described how, by forming new relationships that can change our hearts, such service can become the first step toward creating the long-lasting change necessary to remedy the underlying inequities of our society.

    In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King “A time comes when silence is betrayal… When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered…True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” (April 4, 1967)

    With these words of Dr. King in mind, I was arrested on January 21st at the King of Prussia facility of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer and nuclear weapons manufacturer. How better to honor his legacy than to act in accord with his own life and teachings? I and other members of the Brandywine Peace Community were civil disobedient in peacefully attempting to deliver Dr. King’s message that we must cease building weapons that could destroy mankind.

    There is no intention to put people out of jobs. A great deal of work needs to be done in this country – on repairing and maintaining our deteriorating bridges and roads and public facilities, on making a good education available for all, on growing healthy food, on saving our environment, on developing a modern and inexpensive public transportation system, on doing medical research to save human lives, etc. Lack of jobs is a false concern. There is no lack of things needing to be done, and we can convert jobs that kill to jobs that give the gift of living a fulfilling life. Lockheed Martin could be a major resource for achieving these goals, thereby helping to fulfill the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.

    In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” (April 16, 1953)

    I suggest that next Martin Luther King Day, the student committee that oversees arrangements for activities include attendance at the annual Brandywine Peace Community event that day honoring the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King.

    p.s. Why did I receive a citation for Disorderly Conduct when at the time of arrest I was on my knees in a suppliant position? Perhaps someone recognized the irony if they had charged me with Disturbing the Peace. This is a position for submission to the spirit, not a position of submission to the authorities.

    Dr. Paul Sheldon
    Department of Psychology

    Comment by admin — February 5, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

  6. I use the words Jesus and Christ in some of my writings. That does not imply that I can be labeled Christian in the sense that that word is frequently used today. Jesus is my favorite inspired rabbi. The name Jesus (from the Hebrew yeshu’a) was a common name among Jews of his time. For clarity, I could say I’m speaking of Jesus of Nazareth. But I prefer to distinguish him from others of that name by what was his distinguishing feature — a special gift of the spirit that inspired him to deliver a world-changing message and to practice what he preached. This gift was affirmed by use of a Hebrew word long familiar to Jews — mashiach (messiah), meaning anointed or chosen, translated as Christos in Greek. For me to speak of Christ Jesus is comparable to how I speak of other inspired prophets such as Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi and Gautama Buddha (enlightened).

    Comment by admin — February 5, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

  7. Hi –
    completely unrelated to this entry; I was just poking around the internet and came across your website(s) and wanted to thank you for sharing all the information you do. I live near you & am a not-so-frequent attender at a local Meeting, and I really appreciate your writings and am looking forward to digging into it further.

    Be well.

    Comment by Kathy — February 20, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  8. I’m with you Paul. Katherine

    Comment by K T. Adams — February 21, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

  9. Thanks, Kay. I’m just picking up Comments now, and will soon be updating with my most recent CD today, Good Friday.

    Comment by admin — March 29, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

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