It has been interesting to observe this MLK holiday with the underlining of Barack Obama’s election. One thing that I have recently noticed – that particularly bothers me – is the temptation that many have to exalt the life of MLK. I am not by any means denigrating the legacy of MLK, but rather questioning how high a view of him we should hold. As a Christian, MLK is not my ultimate example. Though I respect his thoughts, actions and passion, MLK is human, fallible and sometimes wrong.
Some believe that King would have supported LGBT marriage and acknowledged the LGBT lifestyle as valid. I disagree, society often assumes that one who avidly pursues social justice – racially and/or socio-economically – must promote the LGBT community. I don’t believe that is true and believe that that either/or dichotomy is dangerous. MLK probably would have thought that those in the LGBT community deserves rights- as I do -, but that doesn’t mean that he would advocate it as a Biblical/Christian lifestyle. I actually think that in some ways his beliefs would be similar to Rick Warren’s. Regardless of what MLK would have thought, what is more important is a Christian and biblical sexual ethic – concerning the LGBT lifestyle.
MLK was wrong in some of the ways that he approached life – he sinned against his wife and betrayed his relationship with God by having affairs and was not perfect in all his ideology. As we Christians pursue social justice we should allow MLK to be an example of an imperfect, yet genuine pursuit of justice. But we musn’t allow his life and beliefs to be the template or the measuring stick with which we examine our own lives. That role is alone God’s.
– I say this as one who spent the day celebrating and examining the life of MLK and who is one who grateful to work of MLK. This is not to be a condemnation of the celebratory reactions those have in relation to MLK. It is to assure that we are aware of the exaltation that we may be unconsciously attributing to a man.