De-Christianizing Dr. King

On the surface, I suppose it does sound incredible: they created a monument to honor an influential Baptist minister and they omitted any reference to God or Jesus in the featured quotations throughout the memorial.  The monument in question, of course, is the recently unveiled tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C.  That would be "Reverend" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be precise. 

Perhaps the argument is that Biblical references were rejected because the memorial was to focus not on his work as a pastor, but rather as a civil rights crusader.  But then again, to Dr. King, the two were inseparable.  It was his faith in Jesus Christ, his belief in transcendent Moral Authority, and his allegiance to Divine Law that motivated his activism.  Not to mention that his civil rights speeches were peppered with Scriptural references as the justification for his positions. 

Take the famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" where King explained that, "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."  The entire foundation for the King civil rights movement was predicated upon the existence of the Biblical God and His eternal justice.  Conversely, the entire foundation of the secular left today is predicated upon the non-existence of the Biblical God and the acceptance of moral relativism.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the modern liberal voices who have hijacked King's movement designed a tribute to him that ignored that which was most pivotal to his cause. 

Commenting on this duplicity, Dr. Jerry Newcombe explained that, "one of the aspects of political correctness that is plaguing our times is that the elites think that all references to God and Jesus have to be expunged from all public places." 

While I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Newcombe, I think this particular example goes a bit deeper.  I think it's clear that the purpose of this monument was to further imbed into our national psyche a caricature of Dr. King that the left has been creating for the last few decades.  By scandalously projecting their own modern liberal interpretations of 'social justice' onto him, they have redesigned King to fit the mold of a secular humanist warrior.  We shouldn't be surprised then that the monument they created in his honor omitted the things that were most important to him.  Their objective was never to celebrate the legacy of the real Dr. King -- who he was, what he believed and what he did -- given that those things contradict who they are, what they believe, and what they are trying to do. 

And you don't have to look to a stone sculpture to be able to understand that reality.  One of the self-proclaimed heirs to the King mantle, Jesse Jackson, recently suggested that the antics of the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Atlanta were, "an extension of the struggle for civil rights" initiated by King.  How outrageous.  How in the world can the peaceful non-violence strategy applied by Dr. King in the effort to achieve equal justice under the law possibly be tied to the violent, social upheaval produced by citizens who already have equal justice but are seeking equal outcomes through forced government redistribution (aka socialism)?

Jackson's false comparison is only slightly less offensive than those who claim to see a connection between Dr. King's street prayer vigils and the grown men prancing around American city streets in tutus and G-strings, flinging pixie dust and condoms at their gay pride parades.  King preached fidelity to Biblical morality, something eschewed by the sexual anarchists of the left.

This reinvention of Dr. King by liberals is not without consequence.  While King dreamed of the day when ours was a colorblind society, the left seems intent on bringing color into every political discussion.  In just the last two years, liberals have used race to condemn conservatives for their opposition to high unemployment, increased debt, stimulus spending, climate change policies, the occupy Wall Street protests, and for the mere observation that food stamp usage has skyrocketed under President Obama.  And when conservatives reasonably objected to such silly accusations, liberals pitifully declared that denying racism is actually a potent form of racism.  Beyond maddening, while the left continues making more out of the color of a man's skin than the content of his character, Dr. King's dream slips further and further beyond our grasp.

It stands to reason that if we invert our understanding of who King was, we will fail to achieve his lofty and admirable vision of racial harmony and brotherhood.  That's a far bigger problem than just a Godless statue.

See also: The National Mall's Monumental Mess

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana. Email, visit, or like him on Facebook