Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK, Liberalism and Gay Rights

It's hard to believe that there is STILL opposition (mainly in the South) to observing the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. I travel to Hernando MS as part of my job, and I noticed the the sign on the courthouse door said that the courthouse would be closed Jan. 15 to observe "ROBERT E LEE & MARTIN LUTHER KING" holiday. Robert E. Lee?? (They also have a Conferderate Veterans Day down in Mississippi!) Yikes!

Anyway, it is also funny that even conservative Republicans (& Dixiecrats who have not yet moved over to the GOP) now give lip service to Dr. MLK, when back when he was alive they villified him as anti-American and communist. Most of the media and political leaders today only honor MLK's work for the civil rights for African-Americans. Even many in the black community have forgotten or did not understand that MLK's "dream" went beyone racial justice, he was part of a broader struggle for economic and social justice. And he was outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War! MLK preached against militarism. He was a proud LIBERAL who advocated economic justice, peace, and cutting military spending to increase spending on social programs. Why won't today's "liberals" speak the truth to power as MLK did?

To those who try to demonize liberals and liberalism, we should just quote Martin Luther King. Will they call this hero anti-American? Let's put a face on liberalism--MLK. Ghandi, even "jesus christ" were all "liberals" in that they stood for social justice, peace, economic equality and against war and militarism.

And for those who don't see the connections between all forms of social injustice, and exclude gays and lesbians from "civil rights" and family values, hear Dr. Kings widow explain it:

Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Leader
"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the civil rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhod for lesbian and gay people." (Reuters, 3/3/98)

Or check out this essay Martin Luther King Jr. and Gay Rights by Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, an associate of MLK's who participated in several of his marches for civil rights.

MLK inspired many oppressed groups to organize and demand equality--we are all human beings and deserve to be treated equally regardless of race, sex, gender, social class, religion or sexual orientation.

Let's honor and remember MLK by continuing to fight for his dream: peace and social & economic justice for all.
What would MLK say today? STOP THE WAR, FEED THE POOR, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

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