Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Martin Luther King III Contrasts His Father's Vision WIth Glenn Beck's Before Weekend Rally

Martin Luther King III (left) notes in an essay that his father, the great civil rights leader, delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 47 years ago this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial–and that this weekend, Glenn Beck is hosting his "Restoring Honor" rally at the same monument. King III makes it clear that Beck does not follow his father's vision:

My father...would be the first to say that those participating in Beck's rally have the right to express their views. But his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination, whether directed at race, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or political beliefs. ...Throughout his life he advocated compassion for the poor, nonviolence, respect for the dignity of all people and peace for humanity.

Although he was a profoundly religious man, my father did not claim to have an exclusionary "plan" that laid out God's word for only one group or ideology. He marched side by side with members of every religious faith. Like Abraham Lincoln, my father did not claim that God was on his side; he prayed humbly that he was on God's side.

He did, however, wholeheartedly embrace the "social gospel." ...He said that any religion that is not concerned about the poor and disadvantaged, "the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them[,] is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial."...

...I pray that all Americans will embrace the challenge of social justice and the unifying spirit that my father shared with his compatriots. 

King III emphasized his father's belief in social justice, a concept that Beck defined as "Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice." Listen to Beck's advice to those attending churches dedicated to social justice:

Beck: "I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"


Stephen Budiansky said...

Jeff, many thanks for spotting this and making it available -- Martin Luther King III's statement, "Like Abraham Lincoln, my father did not claim that God was on his side; he prayed humbly that he was on God's side" is the most perfect encapsulation of the difference between the Ayatollah Khomeinis, Jerry Falwells, Sarah Palins, and Glenn Becks of the world on the one hand and people of faith like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. on the other. The latter understood that their own faith was an inspiration and a guide to their own consciences -- and not a club to bludgeon others who politically differed from them.

Jeff Tone said...

Stephen, you've pinpointed the difference between true and false spirituality. All too often, it seems that those who trumpet their faith the loudest fail to live up to its precepts.