Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Was Martin Luther King a force for good?

Jackson, WY: I'm not usually considered a heretic.  I tend to speak in churches that occupy the middle ground between handling snakes, on the one hand, and holding Indian dances to the Earth Mother, on the other.  Even the most hard-core Darwinists have had to stretch to find traces of scientific blasphemy in the cautious questions I raised about pure materialistic evolution, in The Truth Behind the New Atheism

I also try to write mostly on topics I know something about.  

But today, of all days, in admitted ignorance and uncertainty, let me pose what may be the ultimate heretical question in modern America: did Martin Luther King really do America good?  Or did he harm the country more than he helped it? 

I hear the cries of protest already.  King lived out the Gospel more clearly and persuasively than ten thousand brill-creamed Baptist preachers!  He faced police dogs and water hoses, without raising his hands in violence!  He channeled a movement that could easily have descended into brutality and violence, with a rod like Moses, a papyrus scroll with the Sermon on the Mount written in hot red ink upon it.

No wonder Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday, when "Presidents Day" is almost forgotten!  No wonder my own home county, King, one of the nation's largest, is now renamed in honor of Martin Luther King, rather than for an obscure vice president, even as vice presidents go. 

But I am wondering: does it do a child more harm, to be raised as a minority in a society that discriminates against him or her?  Or to be raised without knowing his or her Daddy? 

Bill O'Reilly was on the tube Monday, yacking about how terrible it is that most black children now are born out of wedlock.  He went on and on about how horrified Martin Luther King would be, and asked if black leaders would have the guts to bring this crisis up at the 50th anniversary of King's famous speech.

Are you kidding?

King stayed with his wife and children, more or less, true.  But how many other children did he sire?  Whom did they call "Daddy?"

And what are the effects of that example?

For my money, even if he was an infidel and a rabble-rouser, I have to say I think I like Malcolm X better.  I am not even sure, for all his phenomenal virtues, that Martin Luther King's impact on modern America is more for good than for ill. 

OK, bring out the tar and feathers.  


Anonymous said...

I think you're off here. King is known and revered for his passionate advocacy of righteous racial ideals. He is not generally thought of for his infidelities, and certainly not as an advocate of such. Indeed, the fact that O'Reilly was apparently unaware of his infidelities just goes to prove that point. I myself was unaware that he fathered any illegitimate children until you mentioned it.

There's a difference between sinning and promoting sin. The teenager who hides a Playboy under his bed is clearly in a different category than Hugh Hefner. You would need to point to evidence that King's transgressions played a significant part in normalizing having children out of wedlock. I see plenty of evidence that the sexual revolution, misguided welfare policies, etc., contributed to the breakdown of the black family, and precious little to suggest that King's behavior did. And of course, even if such evidence did exist, you'd need to show that the effect was so large that it outweighed the (by most accounts) great amount of good he did.

Crude said...

For my money, even if he was an infidel and a rabble-rouser, I have to say I think I like Malcolm X better. I am not even sure, for all his phenomenal virtues, that Martin Luther King's impact on modern America is more for good than for ill.

I admire your guts in simply saying this, regardless of whether or not I or anyone agrees with you.

Unknown said...

SGC: Some good points. But in neither case am I claiming King was a necessary cause of the change -- no doubt, desegregation would have occurred without him, too. And I am not offering a "proof," as you seem to require, I am pondering about possible influences and offering my own opinions. A man's actions do often speak louder than his words: why should we assume King's example allowed exactly no one else to justify doing likewise?

O'Reilly is, I am sure, well aware of King's infidelities, which are common knowledge -- he was just singing from the choir book in the pew, without thinking.

Unknown said...

Crude: Fortunately, I am protected by a firewall of obscurity. :- )

Marc said...

Hello David,

I'd have a small remark to begin with:

"I focus on and substantiate twelve errors made by JS scholars: assuming miracles cannot occur,"

Would it not be more fair to say that the JS believe miracles are EXTREMELY unlikely?

"Finally Celsus gets one right. He fails to understand the reason, though. I'm not an inerracist. I just don't care that much if, like every other historian in the ancient or modern world, Matthew made a mistake.

The real question, of course, is why silly skeptics like Celsus are so obsessed about that story. And the answer, apparently, is that they are fundamentalists: they think that if one dubious claim can be discovered in the Bible, the whole thing will collapse. Sorry, but historians don't think that way. "

I applaud you for this concise summary, this sums up very well the approach of most folks at DebunkingChristianity.

Kind regards from Europe.

Lothar’s son – Lothars Sohn