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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Gay Rights Movement

by @ 1:52 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402Recently, Matt Barber wrote a piece for World Net Daily about what he believes Martin Luther King, Jr.’s position would be on gay rights. While it is impossible to really know where King would have really stood, everyone wants to make these assumptions because it simply helps their cause.  Of course, Matt lines King’s beliefs with his own based on things King said about gays back in 1958.  The trouble with this logic is that if we really want to make a prediction about where King would have stood on Gay rights in 2014, his 1958 words won’t tell us nearly as much as the Six Principles and Six Steps of Nonviolence already tell us.

King lived his life based on the principles of nonviolence.  He took those from both his Christian beliefs which basically mandate nonviolence in both thought and action for Christians, and from a well studied and meditated review of philosophy, theology, and personal experience.  His Pilgrimage to Nonviolence was an amazing testament to that study.  His message and his work evolved beyond just civil rights for blacks in his later years and moved to a campaign against poverty and his opposition to the war in Vietnam.   It is my belief based on my study not just on King, but on those principles he based his life on that he would have evolved to see rights for gays and lesbians not just as a civil rights issue but a human rights issue.

For starters, I believe King would have followed the steps of Nonviolence.  He would have started by gathering the most current information on all sides.  That is the first step he put out there on Nonviolence.   He would have wanted all the info on the science and current theological arguments both for and against rights for gays and lesbians.  I think even King, who was well documented for being a scholar, would have been overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of information some of which is accurate some not so much.

Next, I would imagine King would have gone to Step 2 in his Steps of Nonviolence.  He would have educated everyone involved with what he had gathered and learned.  In almost mediator fashion, King would have laid out all arguments on both sides and tried to make some sense of them.  He would have consulted and met with all those involved on all sides of the issues.

For these reasons, I believe King would have come to the same conclusions both socially and theologically that gays rights are more than just civil rights, they human rights.

We also have the evidence of his words in the Pilgrimage to Nonviolence.  King clearly showed his own evolution of thought on liberalism, socialism, communism, and social evils.  It shows a man who searched for the truth, the answers.  I am completely positive that King would have continued the search for truth.  He would have thought homosexuality as evil in 1958.  He would have also evolved his thinking by 2014.

I also believe King would have been extremely opposed to the language and violence of words used to discuss the issues.  Words like homofascism, heterofascism, GayKK, and even the word bigot would have brought about strong objection from King as they are personally attacks on people and not actions.  King’s principles would not have approved of calling anti-gay folks like Peter LaBarbera names like “porno peter” which I also personally find unhelpful.

King’s principles were to build the Beloved Community and in that, he hoped we would all find ways to live with our differences.  It is for those convictions, I think he would have supported and affirmed gay couples, same-sex marriages, and human rights for gays and lesbians.

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