Monday, January 20, 2014

Rev. Martin Luther King: Christian conservative

A great essay in USA Today about the conservative Christian roots of Rev. Martin Luther King, who we honor today in the U.S..

Conservatives say Martin Luther King Jr. embodied shared Christian values and ideology.

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- It is a large legacy that looms over the past five decades, from the prophetic "I Have a Dream" speech delivered during the March on Washington to his last campaign taking a stand for underpaid black sanitation workers in Memphis, the city where he was slain. 
But to a number of conservatives, forgotten in the shadow of the memorials and tributes during the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life's work is his firm embrace of Christian values and a desire to see a colorblind America live up to the creed of equality professed by the Founding Fathers. 
"I am a conservative and very proud of him and his sacrifices," said Laura Houston, a 61-year-old black Republican. She also is a member of the tea party, which borrows heavily from King's playbook of demonstrations and civic activism. Houston grew up attending the all-black Monroe High School in Cocoa, Fla., and remembers the man who used the pulpit to remind America of its obligations to Godly justice. 
"I do not think that people appreciate the contributions he made. When he started out, he separated from the other black (secular) groups like the NAACP and formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I respected him for that," said Houston, who was raised a Southern Baptist. 
Houston's is not an uncommon opinion today in many conservative circles, even as communities across the country prepare Monday to commemorate what would have been King's 85th birthday in an era where abortion is a protected right and same-sex marriage is slowly becoming the law of the land.

“I think that had he lived, King would not be a part of the (liberal) Democratic movement that came out of the 1960s. I don't think he would support abortion or gay rights.”— Laura Houston, black Republican 
The move to cast King in a more conservative light has grown increasingly vocal in recent years as conservatives point to the fundamental values of traditional families, self-help and patriotism shared with King as he preached a gospel of social justice for all Americans.
Rev. King was a Republican, as confirmed by his niece Alveda King. Which makes sense: why, after all, would King be a member of the party-- the Democratic Party-- that he fought ardently his entire life? Why would he be a member of the party that created and embraced Jim Crow and the KKK? Why would he be a member of the party of Bull Connor and George Wallace and Lester Maddox and the folks who threw him in the Birmingham jail? The first civil rights legislation in modern times was passed by Republicans under Eisenhower, the Brown vrs. Board of Education decision was handed down by the Warren (Republican) Court under Eisenhower, the first federal troops sent to desegregate a school system (in Little Rock) were ordered into action by President Eisenhower, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed by Republicans (the bill would have been voted down in the House and Senate if the Democrats had had all the votes).

King was a steadfast opponent of the biggest Big Government Program of all-- Segregation-- which was the spawn of the Progressive movement that began with President Wilson (Democrat), who segregated the federal government in 1913 for the first time since Republicans had desegregated it during Reconstruction.

Rev. King was a fervent Baptist minister, hardly a liberal Democrat demographic, and his ideals of equal (colorblind) protection of the law and the centrality of Christian morality in public life are core conservative values.

Here's a clip of King's beautiful "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln (Republican) Memorial in 1963. Note that the speech is drenched with Christian references. If King were a high school senior delivering the speech as a valedictory today, his mike would be silenced and Progressives demanding "separation of church and state" (a KKK recruiting slogan) would scurry to get a federal court injunction to shut him up.

May God bless Rev. King, and may our beloved nation finally "rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed."


  1. from everything i've read, he presented a very different face to the world for public consumption. that proves to be something of a dilemma--determining who the "real" mlk was. privately, mlk was an adulterer, a plagarist, and a communist dupe or fellow traveler. publicly, he merely wanted america to live up to its values and keep its promises to black people. he was a man of the cloth and a moral example.


    1. The public Martin Luther King believed that God's law trumps man's law, which is why I always get puzzled for liberals' misty-eyed tributes to him. If I were to say that God's law trumps man's law they'd call me a scary theocrat and a wild-eyed zealot. If there's anything that so-called liberals stand for it's the secular state and its endless thirst for power. Nothing, not even God, should stand in their way.

      From Letter From a Birmingham Jail:

      >>You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."<<

      Ah, so King was one of those Christianists who thinks he's above the law. He picks and chooses which laws he wants to follow. If he doesn't like it, he just ignores it. Typical Christian.

      >>Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.<<

      He even quotes the old, dead white man St. Thomas Aquinas.


    2. But I suppose that if King didn't really believe all that stuff about God's law trumping man's law, then he probably didn't believe much of what he said publicly.


  2. Hey Robert, thank you for posting the most convoluted comment on this blog thus far in 2014. I have no idea what you're trying to say.


  3. MLK Day is quintessentially American. The Civil Rights struggle is an amazing achievement-- one for which we Americans can be very proud, just as we should be very ashamed of our racism that made it necessary.

    In a single decade, ordinary racist commentary among whites became almost unthinkable in any but the most vile company. It was an amazing revolution, a moral triumph of the first order.

    Regarding naidoo's comments about MLK's personal life, it does seem that MLK had his peccadilloes. Me too, and you too, and each of us, in different ways. MLK's public life and accomplishments were genuinely heroic, and he deserves our gratitude and deep respect.

    I'm sure the Lord embraced him with tenderness and forgiveness on his Homecoming on that terrible day in 1968.

  4. LOL. I will deconstruct your lies later, Egnor. I thought lying was against your religion?

  5. It's hilarious to watch how Egnor tries to pretend that MLK was a conservative. Even his fan base doesn't find that convincing.

    Egnor, your writings aren't very convincing because they are shallow. Take a break from posting. Think about some topic in depth. Record something other than a knee-jerk reaction.


  6. Just to start: "King was a Republican." Sure he was, in 1960! Think he'd be a Republican today? LOL You seem to have missed the fact, Egnor, that the Republican and Democratic Parties have exchanged places. Do you think Lincoln would be a Republican today, or a Democrat? Obviously, he'd be a Democrat. Because a Democrat today is what a Republican was in 1860.

    1. I love counterfactuals. What would FDR have done if the Japanese dropped party balloons on Puerto Rico?

      And the Republicans and Democrats changed places! Yea. Like Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday!

      I love thinkin' about that stuff/

    2. Republicans opposed segregation, slavery, and employment discrimination in 1860, 1960, and today. Nothing has changed there. Democrats supported segregation, slavery, and employment discrimination in 1860, 1960, and today. All that's changed is the color of the people they despise.

      The more things change, the more things stay the same. Democrats don't want to live in a color blind society, in which the content of one's character matter more than the color of one's skin. They don't even want us to talk about the content of Obama's character. They want us to vote for him because he's black.


  7. There is no evidence that MLK Jr was a Republican. Surprised to still hear this myth floating around.

  8. MLK Jr. was a liberal, and described himself as a liberal in his writings. In his theological writings he was opposed to fundamentalists because they were, in MLK's words, opposed to science and the theory of evolution.

    His theology was extremely liberal (he doubted things like the virgin birth), which is why the very few conservative Christians who have read his theological writings denounce him as a heretic and a non-Christian.

    Whatever, what's clear is that he identified himself as a liberal who believed in evolution and was not opposed to science, but was opposed to fundamentalists because they were anti-science.

    1. ... and a devout Christian who fought Democrats all his life.

    2. [You know very well there were racists in the Republican party (Nixon was a major racist, as we know from the White House tapes)]

      Which president desegregated southern schools in 1970? Which president first ordered federal affirmative action? Which vice-president pushed the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights bills through congress?

      A few crass comments does not make a racist. Nixon did more for civil rights than any president since Lincoln.

      [The Democratic party underwent a schism in 1964 to throw out its racist Dixiecrats.]

      "Thrown out"? How many Dixiecrats who were thrown out, and how many were retained?

      [Moreover, the racist Democrats (of whom there were plenty) used the conservative language of states' rights and "The government is the problem" which became a religious mantra for the Republicans in 1980, never again to be challenged.]

      There was nothing conservative about segregation, which was the biggest government social engineering program in American history. Racist Southern Democrats were overwhelmingly New Deal Democrats (FDR appointed KKK'ers Hugo Black and Tom Clark as Supreme Court justice and attorney general. Both were New Deal left-wingers-- Clark's son was Ramsey Clark, the far left attorney general under Johnson. Liberal KKK runs in the family.

      States Rights is a constitutional principle, and has nothing to do with the conservative/liberal divide. It was expropriated by liberal Democrat racists to protect unconstitutional racism.

      [Nixon's racist "Southern Strategy" was planned by ID proponent Chuck Colson, founder of CREEP, Watergate plumber, convicted felon and wannabe terrorist who plotted to kill peace protesters. Good friend of Casey Luskin, that terrorist.]


      "Nixon's southern strategy" is a myth. Nixon desegregated southern schools and instituted affirmative action and fought for civil rights all his life.

      [And the demonstrable fact is that conservatives are overwhelmingly more racist than progressives, then and now. Egnor never presented any evidence to the contrary.]

      Segregation is the ultimate progressive big government engineering project.

      Progressivism is tightly associated with racism-- the first Democrat Progressive president-- wilson-- segregated the federal civil service, after it had been integrated (by republicans) for a half-century.

      Segregation and the KKK were closely linked to Progressive politics.

    3. You're full of shit. Here's Jerry Falwell, conservative creationist racist: "I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left wing associations."

      Jerry Falwell: "If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never have been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line."

      Now Egnor lies: "Liberal KKK runs in the family."

      You're lying. The KKK hated and killed liberals, but you think you can just put any two words together and that's evidence.

      States Rights is a constitutional principle, and has nothing to do with the conservative/liberal divide. It was expropriated by liberal Democrat racists

      States' rights and property rights were the language used by conservative racists. Again, you can combine two completely unrelated words but it is not evidence. The actual KKK hated and killed liberals.

      The civil rights workers of the freedom summer were accused of being atheists and left-wing radicals, not conservative enemies of progressives.

      Moreover, the accusation levelled at civil rights workers by conservative racists like Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones University, and William F. Buckley was precisely that they were left, liberal, probably atheist, blah blah.

      Jerry Falwell accused MLK of being an atheist and leftist. Jerry Falwell didn't argue, "I'm a liberal, MLK is a conservative, conservatives are bad." That's your fantasy. The conservative racist accusation was that civil rights was progressive and atheist. In their own words.

      "Segregation is the ultimate progressive big government engineering project."

      No, desegregation was a progressive big government project and that was precisely why conservative racists presented themselves as fighting for "freedom", states' rights, property rights, etc.

      the first Democrat Progressive president-- wilson-- segregated the federal civil service

      And Democratic president Truman desegregated the US Armed Forces, which kicked off the civil rights movement of the 1950's.

      As for the Civil Rights Act, you can thank Democratic presidents JFK and LBJ for that.

      The civil rights movement never had a better (white) friend than RFK. RFK's speech prevented a race riot in Indianapolis.

      Egnor: Progressivism is tightly associated with racism-- the first Democrat Progressive president-- wilson--

      Again, anti-progressivism and conservatism are correlated with racism. Correlation may not prove causation, but anti-correlation proves lack of causation.

      The historical fact is that racist portrayed themselves as conservative defenders of civilization, fighting against civil rights workers whose liberal ideas of "progress" threatened God, Christianity and Western civilization.

      That's why I quote racists in their own words and you don't.

    4. Egnor: "Nixon's southern strategy" is a myth.

      Wow, do you bullshit! You're contradicted by conservative Lee Atwater himself, who implemented the Southern Strategy. He knew it was real; he thought himself clever for helping concoct it.

      Here he is in his own words..

      Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

      Lee Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

      Nixon stated in private that blacks were incapable of civilization, and that you had to lie about and plan your programs assuming that blacks could not be civilized.

      As Bob Herbert wrote: "The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.'s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks."

      The end of racism was a big government program, and conservative racists opposed it describing it as such. Again, I quote racists in their own words and you don't.

    5. Hey Egnor, if desegregation is not a big government program, why do conservatives today denounce the Civil Rights Act on the grounds that it makes government bigger?

      Should I believe what conservatives like you say today, or what racist conservatives said from the 1950's to the 1980's? Because they're opposites, and one of those two groups must be lying.

    6. Egnor: Terrorist?

      Colson's an ID proponent-- what did you expect, tiddlywinks?

      “According to Watergate historian Stanley Kutler, Colson sought to hire Teamsters thugs to beat up anti-war demonstrators, and he plotted to raid or firebomb the Brookings Institution. He eventually pleaded guilty to scheming to defame Daniel Ellsberg and interfering with his trial. In 1974, Colson served seven months in federal prison.” -- [Charles Colson: How a Watergate crook became America's greatest Christian conservative. By David Plotz. Slate. March 10, 2000.]

      Here's a passage from the White House audio tapes, with your hero Richard Nixon, quoted by Jeff Sharlet.

      …with [Chuck] Colson’s help, he [Richard Nixon] managed to seduce right-wing union bosses by turning a blind eye toward their looting of their own treasuries (Nixon ordered the Justice Dept. to drop its investigation of the Teamsters after Fitz [Frank Fitzsimmons] took over in 1971 in exchange for muscle at the ballot box and in the streets, as when Colson asked the Teamsters to crack skulls at an antiwar rally. From the Nixon tapes:

      Haldeman: [Chuck] Colson’s gonna…do it with the Teamsters.

      Nixon: They’ve got guys who’ll go in and knock their heads off.

      Haldeman: Sure. Murderers… They’re gonna beat the [expletive deleted] out of some of those people. And, uh, and hope they really hurt’em.

      [The Family, by Jeff Sharlet, p. 231]

      Yes Smeggy, terrorist.

    7. I thought you meant Casey Luskin was a terrorist. Casey is a friend, and he has never taken pilot lessons or shown any interest in pressure cookers.

  9. This from the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "King, in his papers for Davis, reaffirmed his acceptance of critical biblical scholarship while leaving room in his perspective for some traditional Christian beliefs that could not be reconciled with scholarly findings. He agreed with the liberal view of the Bible as “a portrayal of the experiences of men written in particular historical situations” and as a progressive revelation of the divine, rather than as the literal word of God.[157] Although he saw Jesus as human, he affirmed “an element in his life which transcends the human,” a divine quality that was “not something thrust upon Jesus from above, but…a definite achievement through the process of moral struggle and self-abnegation.”[158] He rejected literal interpretations of Christian beliefs that contradicted “the laws of modern science,” insisting instead that such beliefs—the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the second coming, the bodily resurrection—should be understood metaphorically. The true meaning of the kingdom of God, in short, involved the creation of “a society in which all men and women will be controlled by the eternal love of God.”[159]

    Christians who probed “into the deeper meaning of these doctrines” would find, he stated, “that they are based on a profound foundation.”[160] Contrasting liberalism with fundamentalism, King portrayed fundamentalists as “willing to preserve certain ancient ideas even though they are contrary to science.”[161]

    ...The Bible is subject to historical analysis, King explained: “This advance has revealed to us that God reveals himself progressively through human history, and that the final significance of the Scripture lies in the outcome of the process [162].”

    Several of King’s papers for Davis reflect his effort to refine his theological perspective… In an essay entitled “The Place of Reason and Experience in Finding God,” for example, King rejected both agnosticism, which eliminates “mystery from the universe,” and fundamentalism, which claims certainty about the nature of divinity; rather, he reiterated, “genuine Christian faith” accepts “that the search for God is a process not an achievement.” This stance led King to discard, as “one of the perils of our time,” the views of Karl Barth and other “crisis” or neo-orthodox theologians who argued that man, corrupted by orginal sin, could never come to know God through reason. Instead King identified himself with the views of Boston [U.] personalist theologian, Edgar S. Brightman, who saw human awareness of God’s presence as the very essence of religious experience.”

    …Echoing Brightman and other personalists, he confidently insisted that religious experience was important in finding God. “No theology is needed to tell us that love is the law of life and to disobey it means to suffer the consequences,” King wrote.

    [The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement, January 1957-December 1958. By Martin Luther King (Jr.), Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell. 1992.]

    1. Continuing with the above:

      ...While King remained hostile to fundamentalist Christianity, he increasingly acknowledge the limitations of liberal theology and even of the theological enterprise itself. Still accepting a broad framework of theologial understanding based on biblical criticism and the social gospel, he increasingly referred to his personal experiences to explain his gradual move toward greater orthodoxy.

      ...In an essay for Davis entitled “How Modern Christians should think of Man,” he argued that liberals too “easily cast aside the term sin, failing to realize that many of our present ills result from the sins of men.” King admitted that his conception of man was “going through a state of transition. At one time I find myself leaning toward a mild neo-orthodox view of man, and at other times I find myself leaning toward a liberal view of man. The former leaning may root back to certain experiences that I had in the south with a vicious race problem. Some of the experiences that I encountered there made it very difficult for me to believe in the essential goodness of man. On the other hand part of my liberal leaning has its source in another branchof the same root. [In] noticing the gradual improvements of this same race problem I came to see some noble possibilities in human nature. Also my liberal leaning may root back to the great imprint many liberal theologians have left upon me and to my ever present desire to be optimistic about human nature." [The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement, January 1957-December 1958. By Martin Luther King (Jr.), Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell. 1992.]

  10. Here is a quote from MLK himself, calling himself a liberal, and describing why fundamentalists are opposed to evolution and science.

    MLK: Ever since the days of the Renaissance men have continually subpoenaed ideas and theories to appear before the judgment seat of the scientific method… Modern man is forever standing before the store-house {of nature} with his inevitable interrogative, what? As the new scientific method began to develop many of its discoveries were found to be contradictory to the old ways of thinking which had been basic for religious belief. Newtonian science reduced Providence to the reign of the natural law; Copernicus eliminated man fron the center of the universe and posited a heliocentric theory of the universe.

    In his theory of organic evolution Darwin placed supernatural man within the natural order. In philosophy positivism emerged in Comte. This scientific spirit invaded the whole of modern life. It seems that the renaissance deviated man's thinking from a theocentric world-view to an antropocentric cosmology. Modern man turned away from metaphysical speculation and decided to worship at the shrine of empiricism.

    The question immediately arises, why these propaedeutic concerns in a paper which deals with the sources of fundamentalism and liberalism?

    The answer of this question lies in the fact that liberalism and fundamentalism grew out of these changing conditions.

    Whenever man finds himself amid a changing society, his thinking goes in one of two directions. Either he attempts to adjust his thinking to the changing conditions or he attempts to hold to old dogmatic ideas amid the new. Fundamentalism chose the latter while liberalism chose the former. ...Let us turn first to a discussion of liberalism.

    As implied above liberalism is a progressive movement which came into being in an attempt to adjust religion to all new truth. Just as the Scholastics attempted to wed theology to the dominant thought pattern of their day, viz., Aristotelian philosophy, the modern liberal attempts to wed theology to the dominant thought pattern of his day, viz., science. The liberal doesn't mind changing old world views to fit the scientific world view.
    [Martin Luther King, "The Sources of Fundamentalism and Liberalism Considered Historically and Psychologically" (1949)]

    So anyone who says MLK was a liberal is lying, right?