Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Martin Luther Beck?

This past weekend, Glenn Beck preposterously claimed the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., shortly afterward criticizing President Obama as a proponent of liberation theology rather than a “true” Christian.

Caricaturing the President’s beliefs, Beck explained, "You see, it's all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don't know what that is, other than it's not Muslim, it's not Christian. It's a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it," Beck said.

I wonder if Glenn Beck has ever read the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, like the one he delivered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1954 titled “What Is Man?” where he proclaimed:

Any religion that pretends to care for the souls of people but is not interested in the slums that damn them, the city government that corrupts them, and the economic order that cripples them, is a dry, passive do-nothing religion in need of new blood.  As I look at the social and economic injustices existing in our world, I plead for a church that shall be the fountainhead of a better social order. 

Sounds like Dr. King was concerned with oppressors and oppressed, even “collectivism” over individual salvation.

Martin was deeply influenced by Walter Rauschenbush, an early twentieth century theologian who argued that the “Kingdom of God” Jesus preached implied a progressive egalitarian order here on earth.  He was also a disciple of Gandhi, who led a non-violent revolution of brown-skinned people against a colonizing white empire—a “liberation” if there ever was one.

James Cone, the father of black liberation theology described King as “a liberation theologian avant la lettre,” that is to say, before the phrase existed.

For a charlatan like Glenn Beck to claim King's mantle, while simultaneously distorting his message, is obscene.

1 comment:

Mary Scriver said...

It's also interesting to note that Martin Luther King Jr was fond of quotes that Obama is having woven into the perimeter of the new rug for the Oval Office. Two of them, when traced down by reporters armed with Google, turned out to have originated with Theodore Parker.

Mary Scriver