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Column: MLK would dream of a different political reality if still alive today



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s autobiography was required reading for one my church history classes in seminary. A careful examination of King’s life and values demonstrates that his beliefs and mission are closely aligned with that of the conservative arm of the Christian Church and, I believe, that he would eschew both parties today.


I believe that King would staunchly oppose many of the planks in the current Democratic and Republican party platforms, and I base that opinion on King’s words. King believed in traditional, conservative, Christian values. That position has largely been abandoned by Republican party, and the Democrat party seems to carry the flag of so many things that run contrary to conservative Christian dogma.

In his autobiography, for example, King wrote about his decision to read Karl Marx and Lenin so he could better understand the appeal of communism.

I mention that section of the autobiography because it seems to me that since the election of Barack Obama, many in America have shifted their economic goals more toward those espoused by Marx and Lenin. King, based on what he wrote, would come to a different conclusion. Below are a few quotes directly from his book on the matter of communism:

“First, I rejected their materialist interpretation of history. Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialist, has no place for God.”

“Since for the Community (Communism) there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently, almost anything – force, violence, murder, lying – is a justifiable means to the ‘millennial’ end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me.”

“The Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor.”

In 1963 in response to a court injunction ordering King and his followers to stop their demonstration activities in Birmingham, King stated the following:

“We believe in a system of law based on justice and morality. Out of our great love for the Constitution of the U.S. and our desire to purify the judicial system of the state of Alabama…”

Later from jail in Birmingham, King wrote:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.

Speaking on the Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement (also written while in jail in Birmingham)

“…the various black nationalist groups….this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible ‘devil.’”

Excerpts from the I have a dream speech:

“We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

“I have a dream today!

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

Writing about aftermath of election of Lyndon Johnson as president:

“The key to progress was still to be found in the states which President Johnson lost to Goldwater. Until the Southern power block was broken and the committees of our Congress freed from the domination of racists and reactionaries within the Democratic Party, we could not expect the kind of imagination and creativity which this period in history demanded from our federal government.

Writing opinion oOn Malcolm X

“He is very articulate, but I totally disagree with many of his political and philosophical views…

I know that I have often wished that he would talk less of violence, because violence is not going to solve our problem.

King was not a perfect man. None of us are. But he was a man of faith and service. It was clear that he loved America and her Constitution. Comments by many elected officials in indicate that the Constitution should be done away with or not interpreted as it was originally meant. That is a position King would disagree with.

Today’s social order is seekings to destroy the family unit at every turn. This is evidenced by the attack on the family unit, marriage, gender, gender roles and education. King would argue against our current government for more individual personal accountability rather than reliance on government programs and handouts. He had deep respect for his parents and was himself a father and husband. King believed that the family unit was one of the bedrocks of Christian culture and without it, society would crumble.

Lastly, King wanted America to be a Christian nation. He never minced words on this issue. Reading his own words and the transcripts of his speeches, it is clear that only through a divine act of God could racial injustice be fixed. He wept and prayed for America and her people to come to faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Many of today’s elected officials’ values are the polar opposite of Christianity, and they seek to demonize churches as being extremist and non-inclusive.

Perhaps if King were alive today he could be a force in helping shift the national dialogue away from progressivism and radicalism towards that of peace and nonviolence. One can only dream.

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  1. Excellent article. Dr. King’s autobiography should be required reading for all high school students in GA, before they graduate and start careers or go to a university. The radical left and atheists embedded in our education system would resist it, as they are currently pushing Marx, Lenin, and totalitarian socialism on out youth.

  2. Another reason why I subscribe to AP.
    One of my graduate professors was a classmate of King’s. Upon graduation Martin told him he was going to Atlanta and shortly return to Boston for a Ph.D. in philosophy and a professorship. Am happy he didn’t.
    A great truth.

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