Editor, The Chronicle

     We celebrate the life of Martin Luther King on January 17.  In a speech delivered one year before he was assassinated, he prophesied that a nation that continues year after year spending more money on the military than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.  This year we will spend over $600 billion on the military while cutting social programs. 

     When I look around I can’t help but wonder about the spiritual health of our nation.  Recently I read about a private Christian school in North Carolina that teaches its students that slavery wasn’t that bad for the slaves.  I hear that the hottest new show on television, Desperate Housewives, features story lines such as a married woman having an affair with her seventeen year old gardener.  I’m disgusted by the description of a new FOX show called “Who’s Your Daddy?” in which a woman adopted at birth interviews eight men to try to determine which one abandoned her at birth.  If she figures it out she gets money; if not he gets money.

        There are news reports that the Pentagon wants $25 million to build a prison to keep people in for life without a trial or access to lawyers or courts.   The U.S. is one of the only nations in the world that has not adopted the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child so that we can have children under eighteen in the military.

       Abortions in our country have increased each year of the Bush administration compared to Clinton’s eight years.  Multichannel News reports that adult entertainment revenue on cable television has grown from $263 million in 1998 to $609 million in 2002.

      In 2003 15,000 children with mental illnesses in this country were improperly incarcerated because of a lack of access to mental health treatment.   Eighty-one million people, 32 percent of the U.S. population under age 65, were uninsured at some point during 2002-2003.   More than one hundred high-level officials of the current administration are now regulating industries they formerly worked for.

        Until recently the United States never officially practiced torture.  Torture was viewed as repugnant and un-American.  Now the U.S., through officially sanctioned torture and the sanctions against the people of Iraq, which resulted in the death of 500,000 children, have sent the message to the rest of the world that America will kill your children and torture you unless you cooperate with us.

       Eighty-one percent of Americans subscribe to organized religion.   Many Americans may go to church and consider themselves morally superior but the stench of the spiritual death Rev. King prophesied pervades our society.  I am reminded of the passage in Matthew where Christ says, “Woe to you hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful but inside you are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”  Rev. King also once spoke of a dream he had for all children.  I don’t think this is the America he had in mind. (499 words)

 Larry Kerschner   POB 397  Pe Ell  WA 98572