Opinion

Local religious leaders mute on social issues

Martin Luther King Jr. County - how fitting to live in a county named after the martyred civil rights leader. This has reminded me to look back with appreciation to the council that redesignated the county to this name in early 1986; and now the state Legislature as it finally amended the law to make the name official last April.

Work left to complete the process involves replacement of the logo on county buildings and the gradual change of the logo on license plates, stationery and other signs. This logo has been, and is, a "crown" representing power over the people. Its replacement would be the unmistakable likeness and image of Dr. King symbolizing his dream of social justice, economic equity, racial equality and world peace. The cost is about $600,000 spread over the next five years for an average of about $2 per voter. It's more than worth it!

We need these reminder symbols right here in Snoqualmie Valley. There are pockets of selfishness, prejudice and bigotry alive and well among us. People who do not believe in equal rights or opportunities. People who have voted tax cuts leading to reduction of funds to contribute toward housing, feeding and educating even Valley children. People who believe "shock and awe" bombing followed by military occupation whenever appropriate is the road to global peace. People who believe any people or nation that is not with us is against us. People who think those neighbors who do not agree with them on these matters are naive cowards. As one who has stood up to be counted on some of these issues, I can assure you, they are here. I've met a few of them!

Perhaps more importantly, we people who share Dr. King's dream need these symbols to remind us of the need to emulate his steadfastness and courage on the road to realization. I need them. Certainly the religious leaders of our Valley need them, and more, as they have stood aside and are mute, neither saying nor doing anything to influence the thinking of our Valley community.

Certainly Dr. King, as he demonstrated during the Vietnam War, if he had lived, would have needed nothing more than their shared New Testament gospel to have spoken openly and often in the beginning against acquiescing to our president's determination to invade a nonthreatening nation; and would be speaking now for withdrawal to cease our continued participation in the killing of innocents - women, children and other noncombatants.

When it comes to speaking prophetic words of justice on any issue ranging from stopping family violence to requiring mandatory health care for all - the voices of Valley churches have been noticeably silent. Of all people, why aren't their voices out there leading the support of our secular leaders in making King's dream become a reality? What are they afraid of?

Inherent in the "name" of our county are great goals and dreaming big! Something for all to work on.

Dave Olson

North Bend

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