It's 50 years later. Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Fifty years after the rise of Martin Luther King Jr. Fifty years after the death of John XXIII, writes Joan Chittister.
- NCR Online
Fifty years, that is, after a chorus of clarion calls for peace in foreign affairs, for equality in diversity, and for social justice as the essence of the faith. It is 50 years after three of the clearest, greatest calls for spiritual conversion in the history of the country.
Indeed, we have lived in an era of spiritual giants. And what do we have to show for it? Where are we now? In his commencement speech at American University on June 10, 1963, Kennedy called for the most soul-changing conversion of heart at the height of the Cold War that the world had ever seen.
He had the effrontery to call for peace and collaboration with the Soviet Union in a country sick of soul from its fear of communism. Even then, the military budget of the United States had long before begun to sap American resources to the point of our own social ruination. We need to understand, he said to the young people of that era, that our own attitudes toward the meaning of peace in a newly global world is every bit as important as Russia's.
In a society long taught to hate and fear, to reject and resist the presence of communist Russia in the community of nations, he called these leaders of the next generation to remember the valor and suffering, the strength and creativity, the courage and undying commitment of the Russian people themselves in the face of their overwhelming losses in World War II.