Obama is a Democrat of the contemporary revisionist stripe, and champions same-sex "marriage," abortion "rights" (and even infanticide, which was more than even Hillary Clinton could stomach -- and that's saying something), and the values of moral subjectivism and relativism, which pervade his revisionist views of family values, Democratic Party principles, and even Christianity.
Martin Luther King was a Republican, condemned abortion, championed the principles of traditional Christianity and natural law, never questioned the existence of objective moral absolutes, and would have found the contemporary liberal euphemisms of "health care" and "reproductive rights" (for contraception and abortion) and "gay-friendly" disposition of most contemporary Democrats utterly loathsome.
Just how out-of-sync with contemporary Democrats Martin Luther King would have been, can be seen from his writings and speeches. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail is an excellent concise defence, among other things, of traditional Catholic natural law theory. It is striking that he appeals directly to the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine in defence of the idea that there is a higher court of appeal than human law, which may be unjust. He openly appeals to the idea of natural law and, beyond it, the eternal law of God, by which the human laws of men are ultimately judged as to whether or not they are just or unjust.
It would be amusing to remember here, if it were not so lamentable, Mr. Joe Biden's flip-flop over this issue while serving in the US Senate. When Robert Bork was nominated for the Supreme Court, Senator Biden opposed his appointment in the Senate hearings because Bork did not subscribe to a belief in natural law. Then, during the Senate hearings following Clarence Thomas's nomination for the Court, Mr. Biden opposed Thomas's appointment because he did subscribe to a belief in natural law. One thing I will say for Mr. Biden: he knows which way the wind is blowing. He would make a good weathervane.
The other work by Martin Luther King worth noting here is his famed "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, in our nation's capital. It is in every way a milestone speech. It is eloquent. It is full of Biblical allusions and cadences. It sounds like the most eloquent of Baptist homilies, in keeping with the character of the well-educated Baptist minister that he was. The following is representative of those brilliantly allusive Biblical cadences:
Among the most memorable lines of the speech, however, are these:I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Note the appeal here to "character" rather than to "color." There is nothing in King of entitlement based on race or color or ethnicity. His appeal, rather, is to something objective, "character," presupposing the existence of objective measures by which moral virtue may be judged. In short, he is appealing to the principle of "justice," which he expects everyone -- his enemies as well as his friends -- to be well aware of as a matter of natural law.I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.
This appeal to justice is patently clear in another part of King's speech, which was egregiously mis-appropriated recently by the Rev. Al Sharpton. King said, in his speech:
King's appeal is to "justice," that is, equal justice before the law; but the Rev. Al Sharpton, in his speech, after citing King's words (starting at 5:25), immediately re-interprets King's words (starting at 5:56) in terms of economic entitlement, accusing the government of withholding owed money from African Americans, along with all those enlisted in the Democratic agenda of economic redistribution in the name of entitlement and victimization.In a sense we have come to our Nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed to the inalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.
This turns King's ideas on their head. King wants blacks to have equality before the law based on their common humanity and for them to be judged not by the color of their skin but by their character. Sharpton, like many Democrats today, is closer to wanting blacks to be treated as entitled to government tax dollars based on the color of their skin in the name of "affirmative action" -- which is certainly promoted by Obama, but would not have been by King.
Contemporary revisionist Democrats and cultural liberals and relativists like Obama cannot lay just claim to King's legacy. Their attempt to do so is as perverse as the attempt of contemporary feminists and members of the National Organization for Women and National Abortion Rights Action League to suggest that they can lay claim to the legacy of Susan B. Anthony (whose face adorns our now rare dollar coins), while in fact Susan Anthony was a staunch opponent of abortion and supported the right to life of the unborn.
How can contemporary cultural and political leftists be so morally self-righteous and yet so stupid?
- "'I Have a Dream' - 50 years on" (Cranmer, August 25, 2013) -- a good supplemental analysis.
- Time Magazine cover for its August 26/September2, 2013 issue, the "I have a dream anniversary issue," sports a headline declaring King "Founding Father," and an article entitled "Martin Luther King Jr, Architect of the 21st Century."