Martin Luther King, Part III, or The Human Comedy

Not Martin Luther King


An interesting perspective on the contemporary image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..


I was exceptionally busy over the weekend and on Monday and heard little if any news or anything else on either radio or television.  And I fell l behind on my newspapers.  So I don’t know whether Mr. Habeeb’s prediction was fulfilled.  But I expect that it was.


And incidentally, while I’m at it:  My two prior posts regarding MLK — here and here — have, as I’ve indicated, earned me accusations of being  on the same wavelength as the Ku Klux Klan, of having lived a “little” and useless life, of sympathizing with segregation and slavery, of “racism” and dishonesty and foolishness and “sophistry,” of being “arrogant,” and so forth.  And that’s just a sampling from among the comments on my own blog.


My depravity is also being discussed in other places — and very probably also in a number of venues of which I’m unaware — but here’s a (to me) especially amusing specimen:


One current thread on a largely atheist apostate Mormon message board that’s mostly devoted to sneering at Mormons, mocking Mormonism, and defaming me in particular, focuses on my “racist blog post.” It’s full of the by-now usual mischaracterizations of what I wrote, accompanied by lamentations about my “stunning ignorance,” my looking like “a total jerk,” my being a “jackass,” my seeming sympathy for slavery and opposition to the American Civil War, and my disgusting physical appearance.  One participant in the discussion summarizes my position by pointing out that I “want the ‘whites only’ signs back up.”


Finally, though, sitting back with the quiet satisfaction of knowing that they’ve put adequate moral distance between themselves and (ugh!) me, this group of earnest moral philosophers reflects for just a moment on what it is that drives me to be so . . . well, so egregiously awful in so remarkably many ways.  Observes one:  “If DCP (at least the DCP that is endlessly presented to the public) could see things through the eyes of others, and while doing so consider the possibility that differences from his own viewpoint are not necessarily the result of stupidity, malice or ignorance. I don’t think he could continue to hold the belief system he does.”


You really can’t make this sort of stuff up.


“For what do we live,” remarks Mr. Bennett in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”



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  • Lucy Mcgee

    People read your work and are moved and touched by it. Your detractors read what you write which means they are interested in what you have to say even though attacking your writing has become sport. By the way, how many other BYU professors have blogs where they are willing to openly respond to criticism and defend themselves in an often hostile public exchange? I think that what you do takes courage and patience and commitment even though I don’t often agree with your world view ( I do enjoy your writings on the arts and travel).

    • Gerry Ensley


      I was reminded of your (and FARM’s) great humor and wit while reading my newly acquired (cheap, paperback) copy of Matthew A. Paulson’s BREAKING THE MORMON CODE. Is “sarcasm” evil? I’ve always enjoyed it, even when I was its butt.

      Take solace, my friend. Notice the general Pagan “ridicule” of fourth century “Christian” doctrinal “synods” which never could finally agree. Politics, not pedagogy, was plainly at the helm. “Sarcasm?” laments Paulson. See the latest (22 January 2013) Wikipedia on ARIANISM – - (properly) ridiculing the very doctrines Paulson now holds dear.

      “The debates among these groups resulted in numerous synods, among them the Council of Sardica in 343, the Council of Sirmium in 358 and the double Council of Rimini and Seleucia in 359, and no fewer than fourteen further creed formulas between 340 and 360, leading the pagan observer Ammianus Marcellinus to comment sarcastically: “The highways were covered with galloping bishops.” None of these attempts were acceptable to the defenders of Nicene orthodoxy: writing about the latter councils, Saint Jerome remarked that the world “awoke with a groan to find itself Arian.”

      Paulson apparently forgets that Arians were also Christians. If Arians are (believing) Christians (despite their later-determined “heretical” mis-emphases), how can (believing) Mormons be non-Christian?

      Gerry L. Ensley

      • danpeterson

        Thanks for your pleasant note. I appreciate it.

  • Erich Zann

    Wait, Dr. Peterson. You don’t want “whites only” signs to make a comeback? I guess I’ve been wasting my time here. Your sizable Klan following will be disappointed.

  • danpeterson

    Thanks, Lucy and Erich.

  • Scott Lloyd

    The fact that those defamers lob their attacks under cover of anonymity marks them not only as pathological purveyors of hate but craven cowards as well.

    • danpeterson

      I can’t say that I disagree.

      I have no problem with anonymity (or pseudonymity) on message boards. But when a significant portion of a poster’s efforts (or of a board’s content) consists of the continual defamation of specific, named individuals, it definitely smacks of cowardice.

  • Darren


    I love your work. When searching for answers on a given topic I enthusiastically pull up web hits to your articles.

    I just self deleted a vulgar remark aimed at your detractors. Not that they don’t deserve a bit of vulgar degredation, I just question the morality in giving it to them. So let’s just keep this post saying that your works are marvelous and you have most definitely opened my eyes in unique ways, especially to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

    • danpeterson


  • Rozann

    I read a book a long time ago about personal safety, and living without fear; and the author contended that to get rid of a stalker you had to completely ignore them, not acknowledge them in any way, shape or form. Why don’t you ignore your critics so they don’t get any pleasure or encouragement from your response or refutation. Quit rewarding them! Act as if they are not there. They are of no consequence and eventually will get their due. In the mean time, don’t waste your precious time and intellect on them. Those of us who really like you will continue to enjoy your offerings.

  • MajMarine

    I agree with Rozann. I am reminded of Lincoln’s quote (I know you know it), which I think applies quite well–

    “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how — the very best I can. And I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

    You can debate with your detractors till the cows come home. You will never convince them of anything nor correct any misconceptions/falsehoods (ok, lies) that they perpetuate about you. Let them go, and stay focused on what you are good at. I, for one, enjoy your insights in theology, culture, etc. Ignore the haters.

    • danpeterson

      Well, thank you to both you and Rozann.

      I’ve just about lost my patience, I confess, with the folks here who still want to insist that I’m a racist, that I was implicitly attacking MLK, that I’m sympathetic to slavery and segregation and the Klan, etc. Plainly, they’re going to believe what they want to believe over my denials, which they apparently consider lies.

      Sadly, though, I don’t believe that my critics will lose interest if I don’t respond. I used to try to persuade some of them, over on a certain message board, that they were wrong about me, but it was completely futile. So, assured by several that, if I simply stopped interacting with them, I left that board. Life is much better for me now, but they continue to launch defamatory threads about me just about as frequently as they ever did. (Typically several times a week.) Whether I reply to them or not makes no significant difference.

      Sometimes, though, I feel that I do have to reply. They regularly accuse me of specific actions that, if I had truly done them, would be plainly unethical and, in a few cases, arguably illegal. I feel an obligation to publicly contradict their claims in such cases. These things live on forever, so far as we can predict, on the Internet. And they’re instantly global. I can’t let them go uncontradicted. I have to say something for the public record.

      That said, I ignore the vast majority of the slanderous material on the web that I know about — and I’m sure that I’m aware of only a small proportion of what’s out there.

      Thank you, though, for your kind wishes.

      • Darren

        Personally I say take your removal from the anti-mormon boards one step further. Don’t go there and read what they say about you. Personally I cannot allow my life to be consumed by responding to false accusations against me. Granted I’m saying this from the vantage that I am not personally attacked by others obssessed with my downfall. I say this in large part based upno my observation of national talk show hosts. There’s the grand poopah, Rush, as well as the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, hugh Hewitt, and others. If they were consumed by the vitriol and vile accusations against them, their lives would literally be consumed in their response to their critics. But instead they choose to select their responses and based upon the amount of criticisms leveled against them, the number of theri responses pale in comparison to the number of accusations. I think they let the criticism come to them and it’s usually the really big grave criticisms which do and get a response. But they nevertheless carry on in their success. So I’d say that you perhaps can do likewise and don’t even entertain the anti boards.

        I’ll go ahead and say unequivically that your detractors are pure scum. I could care less if they read this and post it and rant against me, they’re still scum. Their being scum, their existence as pure scum, is an inalienable fact. No matter what they say or rant against me or my proclamation against them, they’re still scum. Let them rant. Their rants can only exist in the sphere of existence defined by the limitations of their blogs. Outside their own blogs their arguments hold no water. You, Dan, have plenty of friends and folks out here in the real world of existence that would gladly come to your aid. I’ve seen it done here and on another website. In fact, if your defenders feel any bit as I do, it’s an honor to come to your defense. Like me, many others deeply appraciate your works and admire your insights. In fact I’m on day three reading your article on “Ye Are Gods”. It’s a marvel and I’m very much absorbing the details you put into that article.

        My no nonsense position and replies may be based in large part from my personality and from the many times I’ve blogged on political sites as well as absorbing no nonsense response from bloggers I’ve come to admire, but I do so with the intent to be a humble servant to all. There’s nobody I would not come to aid so far as my means permit. I do not care how much they detract from me or berate me, I’m their servant. As one who desires to serve I find absolutely no desire to seek out the negative things anyone says about me. Yes, of course there are times when you may need to find out something that can be damaging if the accusations are not derailed but I think you can do far more derailing just by being a good person and by carrying on in your own good works. Nothing will guarantee others ceasing from attacking you but what you’re in control of entirely is your reaction to their attacks. just seek the kingdom of God first and approach them in love, kindess, meekness, faith, and keep your eye to God’s glory. Do as much and I think you’ll find miracles in your life and relationship with your detractors.

        You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you and your family and God speed as you carry on good and virtuous things.

        • danpeterson

          Thanks for a very kind note.

          Believe me, I respond to only a minuscule proportion of the charges made against me.

          I do, I admit, find it interesting to watch how very badly some people can behave on such message boards without any apparent self-awareness.