“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 are 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.”President Dwight D. Eisenhower – April 16, 1953
In a stirring contribution to the Unidos Manifesto project, Bishop David Oliver Kling accentuates a quotation taken from a powerful speech delivered by Dr. King in April 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City. Speaking with vision and authority, the civil rights leader publicly denounced American involvement in Indochina. In this episode of “The Unidos Voice,” Bishop Kling forges a foundation for his discourse based on Dr. King’s admonishment to the United States, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
POWER AT ITS BEST
In the last issue of Convergent Streams, I saw the advertisement for “Sacramental Whine,” and immediately decided to contact the host of the podcast, Bishop David Oliver Kling. I was elated when he responded to my email, and after a few exchanges, Bishop Kling told me to call him “Oliver,” and we agreed to hold a telephonic conference to become better acquainted. And it was great because our call went very well, and during our conversation, I asked Oliver if he would consider participating in the Unidos Manifesto Project.
I told him the project is a joint outreach ministry of Convergent Streams and Universal Spirit Broadcasting Network, and Bishop Greg and I would be honored if he would submit a recording for broadcast. Oliver graciously accepted my invitation, and I was very surprised when shortly after our call I received a recording from him. However, that was just the beginning because the message of his presentation knocked me over with its passion and vision. The subject of Bishop Kling’s commentary regarded Section Four of the Unidos Manifesto, “War and Proliferation of the Military-Industrial Complex.” For the pathos of his presentation, Bishop Oliver quotes Dr. King’s meaning for power and love. With distinctness, Dr. King teaches, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
In his recording, Oliver asserts that he has heard the United States is the best and most powerful nation in the world. And Oliver makes a supposition about what Dr. King said about power and love; Assuming the United States is the best and most powerful nation, it should be the most loving and compassionate nation in the world.
Bishop Oliver takes a hard look at how much the United States has invested in war since 2001, and it was shocking to learn that over a trillion dollars have been spent in wars. My first reaction when I heard that number spoken was: “What does a trillion look in numbers?” Answer: A trillion dollars is 12 zeros behind the number one! ($1,000,000,000,000) Next reaction: “How does a trillion-dollar war budget compare to funds spent on programs of social uplift?” Answer: Look at how much the federal budget provides for programs that deal with homelessness, especially homeless veterans.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness. At the end of 2016, when the federal budget for 2017 was released, they published a report entitled, “Military Spending and Homelessness.” The report states that President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2017 suggests giving the Department of Defense a budget of $524 billion and he adds another $59 billion for “Overseas Contingency Operations” totaling $583 billion for defense spending for 2017. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a remarkably smaller budget request at $48.9 billion for 2017, and $2.7 billion is devoted to funding “homeless assistance grants.” For the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, President Trump has a budget of $181.2 billion for 2017. The Veterans’ Affairs budget allocates only $1.6 billion to combating homelessness, compared to $3.2 billion in 2010, even though HUD reported in 2015 that roughly one in ten homeless people are veterans.
Looking at the amounts proposed for 2017 Defense and comparing those numbers with the budget for HUD, and how much was allocated for homeless veterans, means America isn’t approaching spiritual doom because our nation has already arrived at that state. In his Unidos Voice presentation, Oliver analyses our military actions that are demonstrating our destined fate heading towards spiritual doom. America’s wars have been fought and lives have been sacrificed for the sake of our best interests and order, and not for justice. Bishop Oliver concludes his commentary that unless we as a nation are driven by compassion, we are heading for spiritual doom.
“A DECLARED TOTAL WAR”
From a speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors holding their annual convention in Washington’s Statler Hotel on April 16, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ascribed the exploitation of the country’s wealth, intelligence, energies, and freedoms to what he had come to recognize as the “military-industrial complex.” President Eisenhower concluded his speech with these portentous words:
“This we do know: A world that begins to witness the rebirth of trust among nations can find its way to a peace that is neither partial nor punitive. With all who will work in good faith toward such a peace, we are ready—with renewed resolve—to strive to redeem the near lost hopes of our day. The fruit of success in all these tasks would present the world with the greatest task—and the greatest opportunity—of all. It is this: the dedication of the energies, the resources, and the imaginations of all peaceful nations to a new kind of war. This would be a declared, total war, not upon any human enemy, but upon the brute forces of poverty and need.”
I highly recommend that you view Bishop David Oliver Kling’s thought-provoking Unidos Voice broadcast that addresses “War and Proliferation of the Military-Industrial Complex.” Bishop Greg and I encourage you to respond to his discourse by either submitting a video or audio recording. Consider submitting a different perspective taken from the other issues of the Unidos Manifesto. These issues are Systemic Racism; Poverty and Inequity; Ecological Disaster; Reviving the National Moral Compass that Defends the Constitutional Entitlement of Separation of Church and State. Please remember to pray for the Unidos Manifesto, and let your voice be heard!
Fr. Rick Romero is priest in the Old Catholic Churches International. He is a friar in the Order of Saint Francis, Old Catholic. He is the founder of Universal Spirit Broadcasting Network and is a tireless advocate for social justice.