Letter from a Birmingham jail – 51 years later
Who are the proper heirs ?
Fifty-one years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King penned one of the most famous essays of the civil rights movement from a cell in the Birmingham city jail. It was in the form of a letter written to a group of clergymen who expressed their distaste for the kind of “direct action” in which King engaged.
Jail has two effects on the human mind and spirit. While confinement seeks to crush the spirit, one who is jailed for their sacred cause typically experiences a greater focus and clarity, and is given the ample time in which to express and fortify their cause.
Placing this event into contemporary focus, the question arises as to who is the proper heir to Dr. King’s essay and spirit?
As a multiple-choice question: (a) Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and their followers, (b) the LGBT agenda, or (c) the pro-life movement. There is only one answer: the pro-life movement is the heir, without question.
In answering his critics deploration of his visit to Birmingham, and their description of him as an outside agitator, King wrote:
…I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Hardly an hour would pass that Dr. King would not make reference or direct appeal to his Savior and King, Jesus. I challenge anyone to find a reference to Dr. King’s body of writing and speaking in which he was not engaged in proclaiming the Gospel. Dr. King’s frame of reference for social justice in race relations was single-eyed: through the lens of Biblical morality.
Let’s review the other contenders:
(a) Jackson and Sharpton. Jesse Jackson has created a lucrative industry from the fight for social justice. His net worth is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million. Jackson’s policies of government influence, political power, and the enslavement of the black community to handouts and welfare have lined his own pockets while ensuring the continuing poverty of the people he claims to represent.
Al Sharpton was a Jackson disciple, but has not been quite as successful in building his own net worth, although $5 million is nothing to sneeze at. His version of social justice includes making everything (I mean everything) a racial issue. Sharpton’s anti-semitic remarks are famous for their outrageousness.
Neither of these charlatans are serious contenders as King’s heir, regardless of their skin color. King more identified with Jews than blacks who believe as they do.
In fact, Dr. King identified with those whose religious freedoms and life, liberty, and pursuit of their happiness were systematically suppressed.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
(b) the LGBT community. Under false cover of such names as the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center, they, at first, pursued some of the same methods King used, but their goals are in diametric opposition to King’s. King would oppose the redefinition of Biblical marriage. King believed in strong family, strong faith, and a strong God. He was hardly a statist, in fact, King was an anti-statist. He believed that the state’s possession of too much power empowers those who wish to subvert freedom while squelching the aspirations of the oppressed.
King would be appalled at the suppression of religious freedom, the virtual lynch mobs and blacklists, being employed today by the LGBT agenda’s leaders and their followers.
Today, Dr. King would be writing from a jail cell because there are laws that suspend free speech near an abortion clinic. There are clergy who avoid the issue in order to preserve, or build, their own influence. But the main reason that Dr. King would take up the cause of stopping abortion is that the unborn are the ultimate oppressed citizens with no voice. Take the sentence “If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s anti religious laws” and remove the word “Communist”. That’s today’s America.
Today, Dr. King would remain steadfast in his faith, and inseparable from his belief in Christian values. Nothing is more dear to the Christian faith than the preservation of life. The legal slaughter of the unborn is the one issue which is indisputable as the true heir to King’s spirit.
I realize that Dr. King, in 1966, received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award, and accepted it with a speech. Nowhere in this speech did he advocate abortion, but he did advocate family planning, and the elimination of black poverty as a means of reducing the number of neglected children. It’s unfortunate that PP claims possession of Dr. King’s blessing because of a 1966 speech, which he never personally delivered (his wife delivered it).
The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it.
He also wrote in the same speech,
For these reasons we are natural allies of those who seek to inject any form of planning in our society that enriches life and guarantees the right to exist in freedom and dignity. [emphasis mine]
I don’t think King had unrestricted, universal abortion in mind when he wrote that (I’m sure he didn’t have same-sex marriage in mind either).
Yes, today Dr. King would condemn the very same organization which awarded him an “honor” in 1966. He would be writing from a jail cell, maybe in Massachusetts, or another state where civil rights are violated for pro-life supporters.