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January 16, 2006

The MLK Chronicles, Part III

Martin Luther King's Opposition to Homosexuality
by Billy Rojas

A number of people who support Political Correctness views have made statements to the effect that Martin Luther King was silent on the issue of homosexuality but that his philosophy supports toleration of this condition. Actually, it is almost impossible to imagine an interpre- tation of King's views that is not further from the mark.

The fact is, of course, that King's widow, Coretta Scott King, has taken a stand in favor of "homosexual rights." And of all people who can be thought of as ostensibly understanding her late husband's outlook, who could possibly have a better idea ?

However, on analysis, what we have is another example of a phenomenon that first became well known when Jacquiline Kennedy created the myth of Camelot to commemorate JFK. Some years later it became obvious to just about everyone that this mythic portrait was largely fictional. As good as the Kennedy presidency could be, which was considerable, Jackie led a sometimes anguished life and, to say the least, her anguish increased in the years after JFK's assassination when his assembly line scale womanizing became public knowledge. Imagery of Camelot had the primary purpose, from Jackie's perspective, of sugar coating a bitter pill.

In Coretta's case what we find is a woman who seems to have created an independent role for herself as a leader in the African American community, who, in the process, has felt free to take stands that Martin never took and that he would have repudiated were he still alive. There is no other conclu- sion to reach once you know the facts. We have a strong, independent Coretta as the torch bearer for her deceased husband, more or less a worthy successor who expresses views that theoretically take us to where a "progressive" Martin would have gone in due course.The trouble is that this particular interpretation of King's life does damage to some of the things he most believed in and that are just about impossible to think he would ever have modified, no matter how long he might have lived.

Coretta insists that Martin would have supported homosexual rights. What are the facts ? She also says that Martin never opposed homosexuality. This claim is easy enough to refute and, since her view is untenable it makes her other claim virtually unbelievable.

Of course there is a large problem for anyone who wants to establish what it was that King thought of homosexuality. It does not take long during a Web search for an answer to find sites that state that King never said a word on the subject. This is more or less true. However, we need to begin with the obvious. Baptists, certainly in King's time, but this remains true to this era in history, have strong aversion to as much as using the word "homosexuality." This form of behavior is perceived as utterly reprehensible and dehumanizing. To spend the least time even talking about it is considered to be socially unacceptable in most cases. Therefore, if this unpleasant subject must be discussed it is best to refer to it indirectly.

For one, I sympathize with such an attitude. Why pollute your mind with ideas or imagery that is defiling to the spirit ? Who, in their right mind, would want to spend even one minute thinking about such diseased behavior and the mentality that goes along with it ?

However, this viewpoint has a great disadvantage. It makes it needlessly difficult to deal with the threat that homosexuality poses to us all in the form of a ceaseless assault on the family, on community values that have served us well for generations, and on such things as government policy decisions that have effects throughout the country.

King, moreover, was utterly focused on the Civil Rights cause. He was not about to divert his attention to other social issues, especially since in those years there wasn't the least clamor for pro-homosexual legislation or anything remotely similar. Essentially it was a non-issue. Nonetheless, there IS evidence.

First of all there is a statement by Rev Fred Shuttlesworth, a long time friend of Martin. "I've heard Dr. King speak out against homosexuality on many occasions." Shuttlesworth did not elaborate but it is not difficult to guess the context of some of these comments, church sermons. The one place where Baptists find it appropriate to discuss the issue is at worship services when a pastor reminds the congregation about Biblical condem- nations of sodomy -the word "homosexuality" was only coined in the late 19th century. And although "sodomy" can refer to other sexual sins, everyone knows that its primary meaning is homosexual conduct.

As a Baptist minister King would have, by necessity and conscience, have spoken out against homosexuality on any number of occasions, including times when he was a guest preacher and Shuttlesworth was in attendance.

The issue may also have come up from time to time as King visited America's cities, including San Francisco and New York. There would have been ample opportunity for Shuttlesworth to hear King condemn such sick sexuality. Which, not at all incidentally, was pretty much what would have been said by almost any responsible leader in those years. Even the ACLU, until the 1970s, was opposed to so-called "homosexual rights." As was the Unitarian Church, to mention another highly liberal group that, then, was anti-homosexual. It would have been extremely incongruous for King to have been supportive of homosexuals -and the word "gay" as a synonym was not in use in that era except secretly, among homosexuals.

In other words even a thorough search of book indeces for the word "gay" will turn up nothing. And the term "homosexual" will be equally unproductive for searching for reasons just explained. You can only find out what King thought if you understand what Baptists believe, which apparently NO people on the Left these days have any interest in doing.

At any rate, in time considerable pressures were brought to bear on Shuttlesworth to retract his statement. As far as much of the leadership of black America was concerned, such a view, held by King, made the Civil Rights cause in its 1990s manifestation, "look bad." And there is just about no doubt that Coretta sought to make life difficult for Shuttlesworth unless he changed his tune. All of these pressures had the desired effect. Shuttlesworth recanted.

There is a "slight problem" for Coretta and various other high profile African Americans in her circle, however. Explicitly, and in print, Martin made it clear that he thought that homosexuality is a mental illness that is a serious wrong for anyone who takes part in such behavior. Neither Coretta nor anyone else can wish this away nor, for that matter, deny the value of all the other evidence that is relevant to the case. Shuttlesworth was right the first time. His retraction under duress was untruthful. There is no other way to say it.

For a time in the late 1950s King wrote a column that apparently was intended for publication in a religious newsletter or magazine. This column was called "Advice for Living" and several editions are printed in King's collected papers. One issue in particular is germane here, dated January 1958. It is in this column that King makes his views about homosexuality as clear as anyone might want -without ever once using the word "homosexual" -or even a euphemism.

The format of the column was Question and Answer. A young man had written to King, apparently someone in his teens. The writer said that he had a serious problem. He was not attracted to girls; instead he was attracted sexually to boys. He knew this was wrong and asked for help.

King expressed the view that the young man's feelings were probably acquired culturally -through others who he associated with, apparently- and also through some kind of traumatic experience he had early in his childhood. That is, King was analyzing the problem more-or-less in psychoanalytic terms.

But, said King, there is real hope. Admitting that these feelings are wrong is the first step and perhaps the most important step in the process of overcoming this affliction. Being honest with one's self, in other words, is a crucial part of making oneself psychologically healthy again -or even really healthy for the first time.

Things should not stop there, however. The young man needs help that he cannot give to himself. So King recommended that he "see a good psychiatrist." This recommendation, needless to say, presupposes that the young man is suffering from a psychological disorder. I am not sure what could possibly be clearer. King thought that homosexuality was a mental illness and something that needed to be ended as soon as feasible.

Against the view that since King was alive when he was, he "could not have known better," the implication being that since his time psychology professionals have learned new truths about same sex sexuality that renders all previous views obsolete. However, this outlook reflects nothing so much as ignorance of the facts -plus a tacit admission that someone, whomever takes this position, has been duped by homosexual advocacy groups.

14 comments:

Joe Brummer said...

Are you actual saying that this women doesn't know what her husband thinks? Are you actually implying that she cannot say what she knows to be true about her husbands thoughts on a subject? Then how can sit and preach in the sanctity of marriage when you do not believe a wife knows her husband?

DL Foster said...

The author, Billy Rojas is not available for comment on this article. Although I do agree with his views of Coretta Scott King.

There is no evidence whatsoever to back up her claims of MLK support for homosexuality. Is Mrs. King fabricating her paraphases and interpretations of private conversations with her husband regarding homosexuality? It is possible. The question is why?
Secondly, careful examination of Mrs. King's words in relation to what MLK said reveal that she has superimposed her own cultural beliefs onto his legacy. To date, she has not provided one single direct quote from MLK which would substantiate her claims about his alleged beleifs on homosexuality.

Furthermore, there is no evidence in existence that Dr. King ever gave his private or public affirmation of homosexuality. If there is such tangible evidence youre welcome to present it.
Coretta Scott King can only be believed to the extent of where her words regarding Dr. King's beliefs on homosexuality can be corroborated. Whether she was/is a good wife and loved her husband isnt being questioned. This article is [now] unrelated to any sanctity of marriage concerns considering Dr. King is deceased.

a.davis said...

You refer back to something that King wrote in 58'' which totally overlooks the fact that his views could have changed from that time up until the time that he was assasinated. He steadfastly defended Bayard Rustin who was one of his leading generals who stood alongside him in the Civil Rights Movement.If he thougt it to be such an illness don't you think it strange that he would have shared the type of friendship/relationship with Rustin that he did?

a.davis said...

Oh and one thing for anyone who might not know who Bayard Rustin was, he was a very important,influential behind the scenes leader in the Civil Rights Movement who also happened to be homosexual.

Joe Brummer said...

Well, Dl,
I have read through your site now, and read your posts about Dr. King. He believed in many things but he really believed in non-violent resistance. He believed in not fighting your fellow man. He believed that non violence meant that you didn't just agree to not hit someone, you agree not hate them. Your site and its message about homosexuality goes against everything Dr. King said about non-violent reistance. So it isn't very fitting for you to discuss him in the way you have, to paint him as a man that would stand the intolerance of others no matter what the reason.

I will leave you with Dr. King's words:

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

DL Foster said...

He steadfastly defended Bayard Rustin who was one of his leading generals who stood alongside him in the Civil Rights Movement.If he thougt it to be such an illness don't you think it strange that he would have shared the type of friendship/relationship with Rustin that he did?

could you please share those quotes from Dr King? And yes I am well aware of who Rustin was and what he did.

DL Foster said...

Well, Dl,
I have read through your site now, and read your posts about Dr. King. He believed in many things but he really believed in non-violent resistance. He believed in not fighting your fellow man. He believed that non violence meant that you didn't just agree to not hit someone, you agree not hate them. Your site and its message about homosexuality goes against everything Dr. King said about non-violent reistance. So it isn't very fitting for you to discuss him in the way you have, to paint him as a man that would stand the intolerance of others no matter what the reason.
I will leave you with Dr. King's words: Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the second time, the posts are by Billy Rojas who gave me permission to post them here. They are not mine. Are you really reading? I explained that in part one.
Now, Malcolm X did believe in fighting. He felt that you don't give your enemy the opportunity to beat you down with a fight. Malcolm is just as revered in the black community as Martin is. I assume your mini lecture is to tell me that I am wrong for going on the offense regarding what I believe. Doesnt that stifle free speech?
You mischaracterize Dr. King's principles. He was not a passive man. Passive people dont stand up to guns, dogs, whips, lynchings, hate and demoralization. In order to win, you fight. No war has ever been won without a fight. You would have to redefine those terms in order to justify what you are suggesting. Hate is for people who want are trying to maintain an illicit power structure.

Let me ask you what your harrassment of Stephen Bennett qualifies as?

Joe Brummer said...

Stephen Bennett is not being harrassed by me, I am merely doing exactly what you just said, I am on the offense, I am speaking the truth. I am not letting a man spread lies and mistruths about me or gays and lesbians. I am doing exactly what you just promoted. I will repeat your words for you and now you should apply then to Stephen Bennett:

He felt that you don't give your enemy the opportunity to beat you down with a fight.

DL Foster said...

Stephen Bennett is not being harrassed by me, I am merely doing exactly what you just said, I am on the offense, I am speaking the truth. I am not letting a man spread lies and mistruths about me or gays and lesbians. I am doing exactly what you just promoted. I will repeat your words for you and now you should apply then to Stephen Bennett:


Wow, you changed your tune real quick. On that, we are on equal ground. May the better and truer motivation win. Cudos to you. I wish more gay activists would admit that instead of trying to position themselves as victims.

But why did you feel the need to characterize our work hateful if now by your own admission, are doing the same thing? Wouldnt that make you equally hateful, angry and full of lies too?

Personally, I have no problem with you being on the offense of defense, or no fence it won't change what I do. But when you come onto my blog and summarily declare it hate, then you will have a problem with me.

As I have have explained or attempted to explain to gay activists who feel they can denigrate me here, you will meet swift and strong resistance. I've already visited your "other" blog and read the stuff you posted about me. My suggestion is that if you want to keep commenting here, restrict your comments to what I have posted.

And yes, you are harrassing Stephen Bennett. Your blog has his name all over it, especially since there's no record that Bennett has ever mentioned your name publicly. Does he know you? If so, how? Did you call him or email him? What you are doing is either harrasment or obsession. Both are indicators of bad character.

Joe Brummer said...

You seem to be in attack mode DL, and I don't negotiate with people in attack mode. If you are intersted in a discussion, I am willing to have one, but I will not be bullied into a corner by accusations or insults and you have accomplished both. If you wish to continue a dialog then I am willing but you will need to sound more willing to discuss the issue rather than insult me.

I will leave the next move to you.

a.davis said...

It is well known that Bayard Rustin was a close King associate and ally. Dr. King stood by Rustin when he was convicted of morals charges in 1953,he also stood by him when Adam Clayton Powell publicly threatened to accuse Dr. King of having an affair with Rustin if he didn't call off demonstrations planned for the 1960 Democratic convention.In 1956 when other black ministers referred to Rustin and homosexuals as unsavory and evil it was Dr. King who invited Rustin to come to Montgomery as an adviser.He even went before that same board ( even though they turned him down) and demanded that they hire Rustin as coordinator and publicist for the organization.Even when attacks against Rustin increased and there was tremendous pressure on Dr. King to get rid of him, he didn't do it.On the eve of the 63" ,March on Washington,Strom Thurmond went as far as going to the floor of the Senate to denounce Rustin as being a sexual pervert and even the Kennedys were demanding that Dr. King publicly break with Rustin but he didn't do it. So if he really shared such views about homosexuality as you say, don't you find it odd that he would risk so much to work with as well as defend someone like that.

DL Foster said...

You will need to sound more willing to discuss the issue rather than insult me.

Im sorry...and you are who?discuss what?...and why? You decided to post negatives about me on your website all the while admitting you didnt know anything about me and then have the hot nerve to come here and talk about be willing to discuss? You got your priorities...and me mixed up. Back to Dr. King.

DL Foster said...

a davis, there's no documentation to this. You need to do a little more homework. There is no documentation whatsoever to prove that Dr. King --even with Rustin as a friend-- ever defended or affirmed homosexuality.
What you are attempting to superimpose on Dr king is that beacause of his allowance of Rustin to WORK with the civil rights movement, it was an automatic approval of Rustin's homosexuality. No so. It is possible and quite plausible that King was accepted Rustin's talent while rejecting his lifestyle. There is a good reason for that.

a.davis said...

And with all due respect DL, there is no documentation to support that he opposed it either.What you put forth is mere speculation and conjecture.