On the observance of Martin Luther King Day, African-American leaders noted the slain civil rights figure’s Christian position on cultural issues like abortion and sexual ethics. Illinois religious and political leaders also organized to challenge the “hijacking” of the civil rights movement by homosexual political activists.
Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and King’s niece, cited her uncle’s advice columns written for Ebony magazine in 1957 and 1958.
“In advising men and women on questions of personal behavior 50 years ago, Uncle Martin sounded no different than a conservative Christian preacher does now," she commented. “He was pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and based his views on the unchanging Word of the Bible. Today, Planned Parenthood would condemn Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the 'religious right’.”
King reported that one of her uncle’s columns concerned a young man who had impregnated his girlfriend and refused to marry her, resulting in a “crime,” a euphemism for abortion. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised the man that he had made a “mistake.”
He also urged another reader to abstain from premarital sex, saying that such activity was contributing to “the present breakdown of the family.”
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of peace, justice, and most of all a man of God," Alveda King continued, suggesting that he would be working today to secure justice for those in the womb endangered by abortion.
In Hillside, Illinois more than 40 African-American religious and political leaders gathered on Jan. 17 at Freedom Baptist Church to lament the misrepresentation of King’s legacy. During the Illinois House debate on the issue of civil unions for homosexuals, two backers of the proposal compared same-sex “marriage” to interracial marriage.
Comparisons between homosexual rights and civil rights have become increasingly common in recent decades. In its own Martin Luther King Day message, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s executive director Rea Carey also invoked the leader.
“We believe that were he alive today, Dr. King would be standing with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as we too reach for equality,” she said.
However, the press conference of African-American leaders in Illinois challenged this view. Its announcement denied that opposition to discrimination based on “immutable, non-behavioral, morally neutral condition like race” was equivalent to an effort to “normalize and institutionalize deviant sexual relations.”
David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, was of a similar view.
“Skin color is not analogous to behavior,” he said.
“Homosexual activists and their allies are advancing their subversive moral and political goals by hijacking the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy,” the Institute said in a press release. It said attempts to associate “philosophical conservatives” with racism and bigotry constituted intimidation.
“We shouldn't allow the exploitation of the legacy of Dr. King to be exploited for the destructive purposes of the movement to normalize homosexuality and demonize traditional moral beliefs.”
A similar press conference was scheduled to take place in East St. Louis.