Martin Luther King Would Fuck Bush's Shit Up (2006 Edition):
Today isn't only Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, oh, no. This year, King's day falls on Religious Freedom Day. "What the fuck?" you may ask, and, indeed, you'd be correct. See, Religious Freedom Day was ostensibly established to celebrate the passage of Thomas Jefferson-authored Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786.
Jefferson's words are particularly poignant these days because Jefferson posited this: "that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint...That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical...that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right." It's a remarkable document, an amazing expression of the meaning of (and, indeed, the foundation of) the separation between church and state. Indeed, its celebration is rightly noted and all too forgotten, a none-too-prescient exultation of free will as a "natural right."
So, of course, the religious right has to fuck it mericilessly into a meaningless heap.
They're such skeevy bastards, the fundamentalist right, like cretinous little dirt eaters who covertly masturbate in the closets of their sisters, jackin' it like crazed lemurs all over Sis's school skirt and gigglin' about it later when she asks Mom where that stain came from. For them, Religious Freedom Day is just another opportunity to try to use freedom against itself and secret them some Jesus into the public schools.
Think that's an exaggeration? Here's some news from James Dobson's Focus on the (Financial Success of My) Family's Citizenlink: Luis Gonzales, a band teacher, wanted to celebrate Religious Freedom Day at his school. "For many years I have pondered the effect of my Christian walk on my students," he said. "I wanted to be able to give my students some concrete information so they, in turn, can make knowledgeable decisions on their beliefs and actions in the school setting." (What is a "Christian walk"? Is it like a sexy sashay? Or a goose step?)
The website for Religious Freedom Day handily offers oodles of RFD merchandise, as well as guidelines for how students can bring them some Jesus to school, like a teddy bear or an imaginary friend. Oh, how it oozes with sweet, viscous contempt for the act it purports to celebrate. It gives a handy paraphrase of the Statute, for those who can't follow all those conjunctive adverbs and subordinate clauses. And what a fine paraphrase it is. For instance, it takes this unclear Jeffersonian phrasing - "finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them" - and translates it into this: "Truth is a wonderful thing. Truth can defend itself if you just let it be told. People need to be free to talk about what they believe is the truth about God." And the truth shall set you free, no?
And what does this have to do with Martin Luther King and how and why he would fuck George W. Bush's shit up? Because King was like Thomas Jefferson (yeah, yeah, the Rude Pundit knows, but go with it) in his belief that religious worship is part and parcel of freedom. And that religion used oppressively is not genuine faith. Bush has to hide his true faith, except in very specific circumstances, for his Christianity is about condemnation, not celebration.
Check out King in a January 1965 interview with Alex Haley in Playboy:
"PLAYBOY: Can you recall any other mistakes you've made in leading the movement?
"MARTIN LUTHER KING: Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands -- and some even took stands against us.
"PLAYBOY: Their stated reason for refusing to help was that it was not the proper role of the church to 'intervene in secular affairs.' Do you disagree with this view?
"MARTIN LUTHER KING: Most emphatically. The essence of the Epistles of Paul is that Christians should rejoice at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believe. The projection of a social gospel, in my opinion, is the true witness of a Christian life. This is the meaning of the true ekklesia -- the inner, spiritual church. The church once changed society. It was then a thermostat of society. But today I feel that too much of the church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than molds popular opinion."
King tells Haley that it's specifically the "white church" that has failed: "As the Negro struggles against grave injustice, most white churchmen offer pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. As you say, they claim that the gospel of Christ should have no concern with social issues. Yet white churchgoers, who insist that they are Christians, practice segregation as rigidly in the house of God as they do in movie-houses. Too much of the white church is timid and ineffectual, and some of it is shrill in its defense of bigotry and prejudice. In most communities, the spirit of status quo is endorsed by the churches."
And if you wanna blather that "that-was-then-this-is-now" kind of nonsense, check out what King had to say about the Supreme Court outlawing school prayer: "I endorse it. I think it was correct. Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision. They have been motivated, I think, by little more than the wish to embarrass the Supreme Court." It's statements like this that make King such a shifting figure for the religious right - they wanna embrace him 'cause he talked about Christ, but they can't take his whole large frame in their bony white arms because he simply didn't believe in the same Jesus they do.
The entire interview is pretty amazing - and there's a few free lady nipples on the page for the so-inclined men and women in the house - with King giving his plans for massive government spending on programs for blacks and for the poor in general, as well as memories of the disgraceful Bull Connor and his hoses and dogs out in the days of Bombingham.
For Bush, religion is a language of trickery, a way of fooling people into believing that the evil that he does has some holy meaning. For Dobson, the attempt to center Jesus worship in the public arena is essentially a civil rights movement. When someone blows up Dobson's mansion and then tells him he can't vote, maybe we could talk.