Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Young preaches nonviolence at Bridgewater College.

The Brethren ideal of nonviolence has worked for decades to change the world, according to a civil rights activist and former United Nations ambassador. Some may view nonviolence as "old-fashioned or out-of-date," Andrew Young told those gathered Monday night, March 31, at Bridgewater (Va.) College. "But your responsibility is to think that through and upgrade it," he said.

A native of New Orleans, Young, now 76, earned a degree in divinity from Hartford Theological Seminary and became the pastor of Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Ga. In 1961, Young left his church to work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization led by Martin Luther King Jr. Young worked closely with King, and was with King when he was killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

But, Young said, his first encounter with nonviolence came when someone at a Brethren camp handed him a book about Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian political and spiritual leader famous for his dogma of nonviolent resistance.

Just traveling can help change a person's relationship with the world, something extremely helpful in an increasingly connected world, Young said. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter named Young the United States' ambassador to the U.N., a post he held for two years. "If you travel the world, you see how other people are quite like us," he said. "If we don't learn to live as brothers and sisters, we will perish as fools."

Young also addressed the economy. Traveling to Africa would also help buoy that continent's economy, and with that, help the rest of the world, Young explained. "Africa is the missing link in the global economy," Young said, adding that the continent is full of untapped resources. A "philosophy of development" will help bring private companies--the ones with the wealth and technology--into investing in poorer areas, Young said.

That's what he accomplished as mayor of Atlanta, Young said, citing the 1 million jobs he brought during his tenure from 1981-89. He also helped bring the Centennial Olympics to the city in 1996.

"He is an articulate, passionate spokesman for liberty and human rights," said Bridgewater College president Phil Stone. "And he continues that with focusing on economic development in Africa."

"He is a very admirable man," said Chris Houck, 20, a student from Carlisle, Pa. "I learned a lot more than I expected. He's got a lot of wisdom."

--Kate Prahlad writes for the "Daily News Record" of Harrisonburg, Va., where this article first appeared on April 1. The article is reprinted here with permission.

Source: 4/9/2008 Newsline

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