Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, did an interview with Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality in which he claimed that because Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian, he would be on the anti-gay side in today’s politics:
I mean, Dr. King having been a conservative, southern, with a small ‘s,’ southern Baptist pastor in the 50’s and 60’s, whose view from a biblical standpoint on the question of homosexual behavior would’ve been unquestionable that he would have opposed it. And yet homosexual activists today use the legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement to suggest that someone’s sexual behavior, two men engaging in sex with each other, is somehow comparable to the color of skin, which someone happens to be born.
First of all, the notion that MLK’s anti-gay views would be “unquestionable” because he was a Christian pastor is absurd on its face. There are lots and lots of Christian churches and leaders who favor full equality for gays and lesbians — no matter what Leviticus says about the matter.
Second, I imagine that Coretta Scott King, MLK’s widow, had a far better idea what Martin’s views were on the subject. It wasn’t really much of a public issue in his day so he had little reason to address it publicly, but his widow has said that he was in favor of equality, writing in 1994:
For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law…I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On another occasion he said, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.” Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.
Calling Martin Luther King a “conservative” Southern Baptist minister is rather absurd. King was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam war and an equally outspoken advocate in favor of the poor and downtrodden, in addition to being perhaps our greatest civil rights leader ever. To hear him invoked by the right today in support of their views can only make one cringe.