How Glenn Beck distorts the Christian teachings that inspired the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

By John Fea. Here.

Quote:

As a historian, I can’t help but comment on the irony of it all. Like Beck, King loved America. And like Beck, King also promoted the idea of a Christian nation. King believed that such a Christian nation was rooted in equality for all.

But, unlike Beck, King believed that this necessitated a strong, morally empowered federal government.

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29 Responses to How Glenn Beck distorts the Christian teachings that inspired the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. Mark Boggs says:

    The comments to the article are a worthwhile read, as well.

  2. OFT says:

    This has the fingerprints of a strawman argument. Fea uses a quote by King, takes it out of context, and uses it to knock down the point Beck makes:

    “Consider King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” written in 1963. Here King explained social justice in Christian terms. The rights granted to all citizens of the United States were “God-given.” Segregation laws were unjust not only because they violated the principles of the Declaration of Independence (“all men are created equal”) but because they did not conform to the laws of God.”

    This quote says King was against segregation, but not for a strong Federal Government. He doesn’t even mention Federal Government. Unlike Jesse Jackson, King was a conservative; unitarian I might add, but wanted an equal shake as the Founding Fathers did.

  3. Chris says:

    In what sense was King a conservative?

  4. James Hanley says:

    Chris,

    I’ll wager you that you don’t receive a remotely satisfactory answer from Mr. OFT. He perpetually distorts anything he reads so that it fits his agenda. He’ll probably give you some anecdote or quote from King that to you and me won’t give any indication of King being a conservative, and treat it as conclusive evidence.

  5. Chris says:

    James, I am really looking forward to his explanation of how Dr. Kings affinity for democratic socialism, his talk of redistribution of wealth, his support for a whole host of federal anti-poverty measures over and above Johnson’s “War on Poverty” policies, his support for South American revolutionaries, his criticisms of capitalism, his being staunchly anti-war, and oh yeah, his often radical, for his time (and in some cases, even for ours), positions on civil rights, make Dr. King a conservative.

  6. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Yeah, but if you compare him to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale or Malcolm X….

    I’d kinda be interested in the evidence of King’s unitarianism, too, though mostly just out of curiosity.

  7. Jon Rowe says:

    DA,

    I think I did a post a while back where I delved into MLK’s college theological musings where he doubted Trinitarian orthodoxy. I could look for it and repost it.

  8. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Well, you know, strictly speaking, Jesus had his doubts on the cross, too. I’m not sure that makes him a unitarian.

  9. Michael Heath says:

    The two best arguments I’ve encountered revealing what a fraud Glen Beck is on his self-proclaimed alliance with what MLK Jr. stood for and promoted are articles recently published by MLK III and Leonard Pitts, Jr. .

    Personally I don’t think we should require either argument if you are even casually informed on Mr. Beck; he makes an extremely effective and unintentional case against himself with no extra help required. Still, both articles are worthy merely for the quality of their arguments.

    Next up – Michelle Bachmann’s rally to proclaim we weren’t merely founded to be a Christian Nation, but the framers were all staunch conservatives who founded a conservative Christian Nation where King George III was an atheist Marxist attempting to create a secular progressive America foiled by conservative giants GW & TJ with the heavenly help of Saint Ronnie overseeing their godly work from the right hand of WFB Jr. Actually, just like we’ve recently learned Sarah Palin only recently discovered who Margaret Thatcher is if we are to believe the recent Vanity Fair article asserting such; I doubt Ms. Bachmann has ever heard of or read Mr. Buckley so nix that.

  10. tom van dyke says:

    Beck was actually referring to the Civil Rights Movement, not synonymous with MLK.

    “There is no more civil rights movement. President Johnson signed it out of existence when he signed the voting-rights bill.”—Rev. James Bevel, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, August 1965

    This [non-conservative] book argues/illustrates how the CRM died in Mayor Daley’s Chicago, 1966-7.

  11. Chris says:

    Something tells me Tom is white.

  12. Heidegger says:

    He makes such a good and unintentional case against himself that he draws 500,000 people to DC! Heaven forbid—-the unwashed masses are just Jim Jones cyanide Kool-Aid drinking imbeciles! Keep piling on with your smug, arrogant,sneering, condescending selves with this “libertarian” charade. It’s so repulsive and transparent….sadly, Obamamania endures with the positive liberty crowd. How could that be? Could anyone be more antithetical to libertarianism that the Bamster? If you love endlessly intrusive government policies, well, you’ve got your guy–God help us!

  13. Heidegger says:

    Let’s see Chris, this means Tom is an unrepentant slave holder, right? The “white” reference somehow means, in your parallel universe, that he wants to “do away” with all non-Caucasians. No doubt, you favor infanticide for all brown skinned embryos—is it up to the moment of delivery? Perhaps even after delivery? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights, inexplicably, absent for an unborn child.

  14. Mark Boggs says:

    It isn’t a zero-sum game, Heidegger, where criticism of one side means total love for the other.

  15. Michael Heath says:

    Heidigger states:

    He makes such a good and unintentional case against himself that he draws 500,000 people to DC!

    Citation please (empirical only).

    The only empirical survey I’ve encountered calculated the total at 78,000 to 96,000 people. I’m perfectly aware of all the mere claims (read: pulling a number out of one’s ass), but this is the only empirical calculation I’m aware was even done plus it was independently validated albeit with the same raw data. CBS News, who commissioned this survey, reports:

    It was the only scientific estimate made of the number of people at the rally.

    AirPhotosLive also had another expert calculate attendance using their raw data. CBS News:

    Doig estimated that there were 80,000 people at the “Restoring Honor” rally, while AirPhotosLive.com estimated that there were 87,000 people, a statistically insignificant different since the margin of error was 9,000. CBS News elected to use the higher estimate.

    AirPhotosLive took their photos :

    . . . at noon, which Beck’s representatives suggested would be the peak of the event, which ran from 10 AM to slightly after 1 PM. Taking the pictures then meant counting both those who were late to the event because of subway or traffic delays and those who left early to avoid the crowds afterward.

    So color me skeptical that were 500,000 attendees at Mr. Beck’s so-called Restoring Honor rally.

    Heidigger states:

    Could anyone be more antithetical to libertarianism that the Bamster?

    It’s President Obama not “the Bamster”; he’s the duly elected President of the United States of America. You demean the office and yourself by trivializing the person the majority of voters elected to be our President. I also seem to remember some recent antipathy by a former President towards habeas corpus, the 4th and 5th Amendment including warrentless surveillance against American citizens, and reliance on torture; how long ago did that happen . . .?

    Certainly President Obama has taken some anti-libertarian positions, e.g., his position in the courts on the state secrets privilege, a future federal individual mandate to procure health insurance unless your home state is able to opt-out with a plan that equals or exceeds the fed’s coverage rate; but your claim he’s the worst is both absurd and ignores the many anti-libertarian positions of all our past Presidents, Democrat and Republican. Is he worse than his predecessors? You certainly failed to first make that case, but go ahead, present a fairly framed honest analysis.

  16. Michael Heath says:

    Jon – Preview and/or edit functionality would be greatly appreciated. I have no idea what I did wrong in my use of HTML tags that caused my last blockquote of Heidigger to be a subset of a previous blockquote and for my last response to show-up in italics.

  17. Chris says:

    Heidegger, that comment was a whole barrel full of awesome. By the way, how did you pick your alias?

  18. Heidegger says:

    Michael, Michael, my apologies—looks like numbers were a bit off–NY Post had the count at 300,000+; Breitbart tv had it at 600,000+; according to none other than Michelle Bachmann gave the most accurate count to date– the crowd at “Restoring Honor” was—2,347,622–DC police gave her all the available aerial photos and she counted every single person by hand—and she did it in less than an hour!

    Michael says,

    “I also seem to remember some recent antipathy by a former President towards habeas corpus, the 4th and 5th Amendment including warrentless surveillance against American citizens, and reliance on torture; how long ago did that happen . . .?” Hmmm, not so recent but are you referring to President Lincoln? President FDR? President Truman? Not aware of any recent president who could be accused of such serious infractions. Certainly you can’t mean W—considering the Dems have the White House, a large majority in the House and had a super majority in the Senate–such charges would, at the very least, warrant a very thorough investigation with hearings in both the House and Senate. Okay, I give up….

  19. D.A. Ridgely says:

    The only evidence of Truman countenancing torture was Margaret’s vocal recitals.

    (She had a nice run later as an author, though.)

  20. Mark Boggs says:

    Yeah, unfortunately the chickenshit in the White House has decided to “look forward instead of backward” and let the troubles of 2001-2009 go uninvestigated. And the democrats don’t go off without any blame in this one, Heidegger, despite your attempts to make this a partisan game (as you did in the torture thread earlier). And we really don’t need investigations to figure out whether the problems Michael mentioned happened. That’s been fairly well documented. The problem has been on the follow through. But, I guess if you’re powerful enough, no matter which party you’re in, the law is considerably more pliable.

  21. Michael Heath says:

    I requested Heidigger support his 300,000 attendees at the Beck rally claim n empirical cite as a counter to my two empirical cites which puts the numbers between 78,000 and 96,000:

    my apologies—looks like numbers were a bit off–NY Post had the count at 300,000+; Breitbart tv had it at 600,000+;

    Those are neither cites (where’s the link?) nor do you present them as empirical, let alone independently validated like mine. As CBS stated, the only empirical calculation they were aware of us one they commissioned by AirPhotosLive where that entity had another capable firm also do a calculation where their result was within the margin of error of AirPhotosLive calculation.

    Re your point about Democrats [possibly] having power to stop non-libertarian acts by the last President: Nice avoidance, I was not the one making a claim one party was libertarian and another not. I was instead asking you to support your assertion regarding the President with your claim,

    Could anyone be more antithetical to libertarianism that the Bamster?

    Nice deflection rather than actually defending, modifying, or conceding your point which I challenged. I’m not big on having a dialogue with people who demonstrate such dishonesty as you do twice in one comment post; I view it as a waste of my time and energy. So I doubt I’ll be responding to your comments anymore.

  22. Heidegger says:

    God bless you , Mr. Ridgely, how you make me laugh!! Although, maybe “God bless you” isn’t the proper phrase to use–having a hard time keeping up with who is a deist, theist, agnostic, Unitarian, Trinidadian, quadritarian, octotarian, atheist, onionist–yes, there are people who believe God is an onion. Now about this endless Trinitarian business–okay, we have these cats—Founders–they’re cool with God, right? And, logically following this, they are also cool with Jesus Christ as well, no? So what’s the big deal with the Holy Ghost/Spirit? Two out of three isn’t bad and what’s more, the Holy Ghost is, frankly, a very difficult concept to grasp. I mean, who understands what the hell a ghost really is? And why does God or Jesus need a ghost to follow them around anyway. Are there no rewards to being omnipresent?

    Mr. Michael Heath, I thought Michelle Bachmann’s final tally of attendees at— 2,347, 622 would settle this issue. And why are you so obsessed with the number of people who showed up? Does it really matter if it’s 96,000 or 2,000,000? I think MSNBC had the crowd count at less than 500. Methinks you’re getting a shiver up your spine that the beer swilling, WHITE, ignoramus ruffians might take down the clown prince, utterly clueless, change you can believe in, character we have in the White House. Another thing, considering there is so much debate of what a libertarian actually is and believes in, we could bandy back and forth ad infinitum with no resolution whatsoever about BHO anti-libertarian positions—would this be useful?

  23. Heidegger says:

    Chris, a hearty welcome back—missed you—your dour affect notwithstanding, it’s always fun to get your take on life’s lunacy!

    Mark, hats off to you! You have mastered the most difficult game ever created by human imagination, golf! Bravo! Love golf, play horribly and so do 99.99999% of everyone else who attempts this exercise of masochism. Yes, s0meone finally honest enough to characterize our POTUS as “chickenshit”. This “looking forward” business is utter nonsense—not a day goes by where he doesn’t blame Bush for something but his political calculations on the torture issue tell him to back off. This issue really needs resolution but that looks impossible with this dunderhead in chief.

  24. OFT says:

    Chris said: In what sense was King a conservative?

    King was pro-life, anti-homosexual, and believed in Biblical Inerrancy.

    Chris said: Dr. Kings affinity for democratic socialism, his talk of redistribution of wealth, his support for a whole host of federal anti-poverty measures over and above Johnson’s “War on Poverty” policies, his support for South American revolutionaries, his criticisms of capitalism, his being staunchly anti-war

    Could you post King’s words on these issues?

  25. Chris says:

    James, you were right. He’s just making stuff up. Dr. King didn’t believe in Biblical inerrancy, at least not in the Biblical literalist sense, there’s no evidence that he was anti-gay (one of his closest advisers was openly gay), and he was a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood (he even won the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966).

    You got anymore for us, OFT? I can’t wait for the second round of made up stuff.

  26. OFT says:

    Chris said: there’s no evidence that he was anti-gay (one of his closest advisers was openly gay), and he was a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood (he even won the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966)

    The reason King supported Planned Parenthood, at that time, was because they proclaimed itself against abortion. King’s niece, Alveda King believes along with Fr. Frank Pavone, and many other pro-life leaders today that he would be pro-life, and his quotes on the Moral Law are not unclear, which would include the Bible’s stance on homosexuality:

    “Arguing passionately that his approach was rooted in the Christian tradition, King turned to two doctors of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. “I would agree with St. Augustine,” he wrote, that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

    “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God,” King further explained. “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 and natural law.”
    http://priestsforlife.org/government/98-04-05-11kingarticle.htm

    “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws, but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

    Without citing his sources, the African American Reverend Clenard Childress, New Jersey Director of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), at the West Coast Walk for Life, San Francisco California, January 19, 2008, made this statement:

    “So St. Telemachus, and those that joined with him, Martin Luther King talked about, when he was fighting his cause. He said, ‘infanticide, or infant killing, was stopped by the early Church, that was willing to risk their lives, to go out into the public square, and scoop up children that were destined to die’.”

    Kings prophetic “Letter from a Birmingham Jail…”

    “There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being ‘disturbers of the peace’ and outside agitators. But the Christians pressed on in the conviction that they were ‘a colony of heaven’ called to obey God rather than man. Small in number they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be ‘astronomically intimidated.’ By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide.”

    This is all evidence of his pro-life stance.

  27. Chris says:

    Most of those have nothing to do with abortion, and the ones that do, only if interpreted in a certain way. They’re the same quotes that are all over the web in support of his pro-life stance. I suspect he was pro-life, but there’s no evidence that he was against reproductive freedom (and, in fact, plenty of evidence for it). And Planned Parenthood wasn’t against abortion then, it was just illegal.

    And his neice has notoriously been out of line with his thinking. His wife and daughter would be better examples (pro-choice, pro-gay rights, etc.). But since there are no cases of Dr. King speaking out against abortion or homosexuality, your cases is pretty much nonexistent.

    Oh, and since you’re clearly quite capable of googling, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding quotes and the like for the issues I mentioned.

  28. OFT says:

    Chris said: But since there are no cases of Dr. King speaking out against abortion or homosexuality, your cases is pretty much nonexistent.

    “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God,” King further explained. “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 and natural law.”
    http://priestsforlife.org/government/98-04-05-11kingarticle.htm

    Do you know what the Moral Law is? King understood The Law and the Gospel condemns both abortion and homosexuality as the Church Fathers had for centuries.

    Chris said: I suspect he was pro-life, but there’s no evidence that he was against reproductive freedom (and, in fact, plenty of evidence for it).

    Excuse me? Then, you say, “And his neice [niece] has notoriously been out of line with his thinking.” But you say he’s pro life. How is his niece out of line with his thinking, when you suspect he’s pro-life?

    Chris said: And Planned Parenthood wasn’t against abortion then, it was just illegal.

    “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”

    -Plan Your Children (Planned Parenthood, 1963). (The pamphlet also informs the reader that “[abortion] is dangerous to your life and health. it may make you sterile, so that when you want a child you cannot have it … [in comparison] [b]irth control merely postpones the beginning of life.”).

  29. Chris says:

    Dude, seriously? Pro-life internet troll memes is what you use? That ones been around forever, though when the pamphlet is supposed to have been circulated (early 50s? Early 60s?), or where (rural Iowa?) is unknown, and the context usually left out, as in this case.

    So all you have in favor of Dr. King being a conservative is some coded religious language that doesn’t mention abortion, and a possibly real local Planned Parenthood pamphlet? That’s awesome.

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