Monday, January 16, 2006

Remembering MLK

Every year politicians (Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative) and the media celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is worth remembering, especially this year, the MLK was rediculed and dismissed by the mainstream media and considered too "radical" by many politicians for speaking out against the Vietnam War. He even said that the U.S. was one of the greatest abusers of human rights. He called for cutting military spending and increasing social welfare spending! He would be very out of place in today's "centrist/right" mainstream.

MLK was considered a threat to national security and was wiretapped by the FBI and was under constant government surveiance.

It is hypocritical for jingoistic war criminals like George W. Bush to even mention MLK in a speech. Today's right-wing Repubicans are equally hypocritical for praising MLK when they are advocating the exact opposite values and policies he died defending.

And many black pastors and churches seem to have forgotten King's appeal for social justice and equality beyond just race. King died defending workers striking in Memphis. He said "injustice against anyone is an injustice against us all." Today, black preachers and churches are aligning with the conservative right to restrict the civil rights of gays and lesbians and to support the militaristic and unjust social politicies of Bush and the GOP.

When right-wing fascists like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh attack "liberalism", they are attacking the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King! If you want to know what liberalism is really about, read the speeches and writings of MLK!


Thyron said...

Martin Luther King Day makes me so sad because his dream seems to have died with him. And, to add insult to injury, his words have been perverted and the Man's philosophy has been watered down.

...all this in less than a generation!

I now live in Atlanta and the curators of the King Memorial are on the verge of selling it to the National Park Service due to lack of funds to upkeep it. The King memorial fountain is crumbling and the infrastructure of the Dexter Ave. Church is crumbling.

Our community has spending power of nearly $500 billion dollars and we are not even funding a Memorial to our greatest treasures (even though MLK would rather the funds be used for the general uplift of the people such as education, health, etc.). How can we expect other groups to respect him when we have failed to respect him ourselves?

I look at my Jewish counterparts with envy because there is still support for the Holocaust Memorials. One can nary say a horrible thing about Israel without being viciously attacked as an anti-Semite. The Holocaust is still fresh on the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. I wish we could be so fervent regarding our Holocaust.

We let conservatives water down his philosophy. Yes, MLK was a man of peace and nonviolence; but, he was not a masochist. I was so angry today when I saw Bush on television giving a speech at a Black church. How dare he? How dare he defile our spaces when he fiddled while Black New Orleans drowned? The audacity! The temerity! The nerve! What minister would allow this monster to come into the Black church to disrespect us?

But I digress...

Jim, keep in mind that the Black ministers do not share the views with the Black community at large. The church does not play as large a role in my community as it did 30, 50, 100 years ago. Heck, minister AR Williams of World Overcomers told his congregation to vote for Bush -- the Black community voted 93-7 against that evil man. We are becoming as apathetic and secular as our white brethren despite our confessions to the contrary.

autoegocrat said...

I wish you could have heard the service at Monumental Baptist Church broadcast on WLOK 1340 AM on Monday. As someone who spent the first twenty-four years of his life as an athiest, I can honestly attest that the proceedings were sufficiently moving to have been valuable to anyone of any religious or non-religious stripe.

Rev. Kyles, the last surviving witness of Dr. King's assasination, spoke at the ceremony, and his son, Joseph Kyles, vice-president of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, gave a speech that would stir any sane soul to action. Joseph Kyles was on the Leon Gray show on Air America just today. You are right that "many black pastors and churches seem to have forgotten King's appeal for social justice and equality beyond just race," and I would go further and say that it's high time for a reconciliation between the present GLBT civil rights movement and the already established and continuing black civil rights movement.

This sounds like wishful thinking, but if it's going to happen anywhere, it almost certainly must start here in Memphis. Where else in America is there such a high concentration of gay blacks in the closet? Not in San Francisco, that's for damn sure.