“How MLK’s faith influenced his public life”

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Religion poisons everything,” the late Christopher Hitchens used to say.  (Whatever else we disagree on, theists and atheists can surely agree that he no longer says that.)

 

Among the weirdest and most disingenuous performances in recent memory was Mr. Hitchens’s effort, in his bestselling book god is Not Great, to portray the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (along with the Lutheran anti-Nazi pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer) as an unbeliever.  (Mr. Hitchens also sought, with sheer brazen chutzpah, to depict Josef Stalin as a religious leader.)  With that sort of thing in mind, this article is worth a read on Martin Luther King Day:

 

http://blog.heritage.org/2014/01/20/mlks-faith-influenced-public-life/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

 

There is still very much to do, and it seems to me that many leaders of the Black community have lacked Martin Luther King’s moral courage and, consequently, have not addressed the vast problems facing those for whom Dr. King gave his life.

 

By sheer chance, I ran across a statistic this morning that makes the problems starkly evident.  Young black males — so it says (I’ve not verified it and I don’t know exactly how “young” is defined) — represent 1% of the American population, but commit 27% of America’s murders.

 

This is, I presume, connected with the well-chronicled collapse of the Black family in America.  But there’s nothing intrinsically “Black” about the matter.  For many years after the American Civll War, black families were more sturdy than White families.  It seems that other factors — almost certainly including misguided government social policies — have intervened in more recent decades.  But where are Dr. King’s successors on this pressing issue?

 

 

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  • kiwi57

    Well now Dan, I’m not sure you’re allowed to mention him. Dr Gina Colvin, whose refreshingly “liberal” intolerance for dissent seems to be based upon the assumption that she is the one and only authoritative “kiwi Mormon” voice to be found anywhere, assures us that we’ve got no right to like Dr King. Or Nelson Mandela.

    Or just about anyone else with a hereditary suntan.

    • DanielPeterson

      Well, I guess I’m just one o’ them uppity Mormons, and I expect that the Enlightened will need to come over and put me in my place.

      • MormonDem

        It’s so cute and playful how you think that predicting that someone will come along and (once again) note your ignorance on racial issues will somehow make you seem less ignorant on racial issues. And I will admit, too, that there is a certain charm and comfort in the shopworn routine of it. I’m just waiting on pins and needles to see which of your well-practiced but mutually contradictory rhetorical strategies you’ll take up in response: will you play to your fawning acolytes with some puerile sarcastic liberal-bogeyman-goading, or will you take a self-righteous turn to the solemn and serious?

        • DanielPeterson

          Wow. This harmless little entry seems to have been a red flag for certain jackasses out there!

          • MormonDem

            (A) it is! (Pay up fellas!)

            As for your astonishment at negative reactions to your “harmless little entry,” I will give you the benefit of the doubt: though your chronic tin ear and complete lack of self-awareness when it comes to racial issues are well established, I honestly can’t tell if you come by them through willful ignorance or through earnest obliviousness.

          • DanielPeterson

            Your racial hypersensitivity and preening moral superiority disqualify you from having a significant opinion on the topic, and certainly make you look ridiculous in presuming to judge another.

            Go away. You have nothing of value to offer.

          • MormonDem

            I wish the time stamps on these comments were rendered in smaller increments so that I could see the number of seconds between the time you told RG above “I would never suggest that you be silent. I lack the hubris, for one thing” and the moment you told me to “go away” and pronounced me “disqualified [from] having a significant opinion on the topic.”

          • MormonDem

            Of course “preening moral superiority” is what drew me to your post in the first place, and “hypersensitivity” is what keeps me here!

          • DanielPeterson

            I appreciate your candor, MoDem.

          • MormonDem

            You misunderstand my candor; I was talking about your initial preening moral superiority, as well as your near-fetishistic hypersensitivity about pushback.

          • DanielPeterson

            I didn’t misunderstand.

            Congratulations on your break here!

          • kiwi57

            MormonDem,

            Perhaps you think that Dan not providing you with a forum is somehow equivalent to “silencing” you.

            I don’t think any reasonable person agrees with you, but your ideological buddies might.

          • DanielPeterson

            You see irony where there is none, MoDem, just as you imagine racism where there is none. But at least the former is less noxious and slanderous.

            I have no obligation to provide a platform for you to baselessly insult and defame me. But, should I decide to bar your future attacks, I will still not have “silenced” you.

          • Brock Lesnar

            Dan,

            Don’t you think you’re being just a little too harsh on kiwi57?

          • DanielPeterson

            How, BL? Through permitting him to discredit himself by not recognizing my depravity and the sheer racist evil of my blog post, above?

  • Lucy Mcgee

    Hitchens wrote: “And he even phrased that appeal more courteously than, in my humble opinion, its targets deserved. In no real as opposed to nominal sense, then, was he a Christian.” He never called Dr. King an “unbeliever”. Dr. King’s beliefs, were not in alignment with the standard definition of a Christian as he did not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the Day of Judgement or the Second Coming.

    • DanielPeterson

      He was a very much a Christian, and would have bristled at your denial of his Christianity.

      I don’t agree with his theology, but I reject arrogant, presumptuous, and imperialistic attempts to expel him from Christendom.

      • Lucy Mcgee

        There was no denial of Dr. King’s Christianity in the comment. I was merely pointing out that Hitchens did not portray Dr. King as an unbeliever, as you had written. He portrayed him as someone who did not accept the belief in biblical punishments and the social intolerance it fostered. By Hitchen’s narrow definition of a Christian (as one who does believe in these punishments, written in the paragraphs before the sentence I quoted), he clearly did not feel that Dr. King fit this model given the progressive social gospel message he preached.

        • kiwi57

          Lucy Mcgee: “There was no denial of Dr. King’s Christianity in the comment.”
          There wasn’t?
          Here’s a sentence from the comment under discussion:

          “In no real as opposed to nominal sense, then, was he [i.e. MLK] a Christian.”

          And that isn’t a denial?

          You might not read it that way, but the normal approach — parsing the words in plain English — does indeed find a denial of Dr King’s Christianity.

          Incidentally, most Christians don’t believe in Old Testament “biblical punishments,” or at least that such are modernly applicable; thus, claiming that such beliefs are definitive of Christianity is so obviously polemical and dishonest that using that claim as a justification for Hitchens’ nonsense only manages to make him look worse.

          You should have quit while you were behind.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I wasn’t clear. I should have written that there was no denial of Dr. King’s Christianity in “my” comment, instead of “the” comment. I didn’t deny Dr. King’s Christianity. I was responding to Dr. Peterson claiming I did (read his first sentence).

            My intention was to show that HItchens didn’t portray Dr. King as an unbeliever given Hitches narrow definition of a Christian as being one who believes in biblical punishments.

          • kiwi57

            Thank you for the clarification.

            I will simply point out that if Hitchens really defined a Christian as “one who believes in biblical punishments,” presumably meaning Old Testament prescribed punishments such as stoning for adultery, then there have never been any Christians. Not even Jesus seems to qualify.

            Which makes for a pretty absurd (and hence useless) definition, wouldn’t you say?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Here’s what Hitchens wrote in “God Is Not Great”:

            “Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead. First presaged by the rantings of John the Baptist, the son of god is revealed as one who, if his milder words are not accepted straightaway, will condemn the inattentive to everlasting fire. This has provided texts for clerical sadists ever since, and features very lip-smackingly in the tirades of Islam. At no point did Dr. King—who was once photographed in a bookstore waiting calmly for a physician while the knife of a maniac was sticking straight out of his chest—even hint that those who injured and reviled him were to be threatened with any revenge or punishment, in this world or the next, save the consequences of their own brute selfishness and stupidity. And he even phrased that appeal more courteously than, in my humble opinion, its targets deserved. In no real as opposed to nominal sense, then, was he a Christian.”

            I think one could argue that Hitchen’s viewed Dr. King as possessing a Unitarian leaning theology which (according to CARM) “denies the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personhood of the Holy Spirit, eternal punishment, and the vicarious atonement of Jesus. Unitarian universalists use many biblical concepts and terms but with non-biblical meanings. Unitarianism is not Christian.”

            Here is a paper discussing some of Dr. King’s views:
            http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2658033/posts

            An interesting paragraph from the paper:

            “King’s metaphysical and philosophical understanding of God and human nature did grow and develop while at Boston University, though his approach to the Christian doctrines remained constant. It should not be surprising then that while Dr. King served a Baptist church, his first
            choice of religion was Unitarian Christian (which later merged with Universalism).[xxxviii] Dr. King’s liberal faith resonated with the dynamic Unitarian Christian tradition because of his acknowledgment of the truth in all religions, his view of Jesus as an exemplary teacher,
            and his rejection of biblical literalism. Coretta Scott had been attending Unitarian churches for years before she met and married Martin, and they both attended Unitarian services while in Boston. He ultimately faced the reality that he would probably not be able to play a role in the civil rights movement in this tradition and thus he became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, shortly thereafter being elected to lead the Montgomery bus boycott.[xxxix]”

            What was also discussed is that Dr. King had little support from white churches and had many enemies, some of whom were Christians which included LDS Church leaders (as was pointed out by the grandson of Ezra Taft Benson). Whether they were angered over his anti-war stance, civil rights views, communist associations or his extremely liberal theology isn’t clear.

            I don’t agree with HItchen’s claim that Dr. King was not a Christian, but can understand why he might have written it, again, in the context of “punishments” not included in the very liberal nature of King’s theology.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “What was also discussed is that Dr. King had little support from white churches and had many enemies, some of whom were Christians which included LDS Church leaders (as was pointed out by the grandson of Ezra Taft Benson).”

            Point of order: to say that something was “pointed out” is to assert the making known of a neutral and uncontested fact. It is not accurate or honest to characterise Mister Steve Benson’s anti-Mormon agitations as him having “pointed out” something or other.

            But it is satisfyingly cunning to mention his family connections, as though that makes him an authority.

            FYI: it doesn’t.

            Whoever Dr King’s “enemies” were, LDS Church leaders, including Ezra Taft Benson, with whom Steve shares nothing more than a surname, were not among them.

            You really ought to stop being such a shameless shill for anti-Mormon propaganda, Mr Lucy.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            When one Google’s “Ezra Taft Benson’s public statements on the Civil Rights Movement”, and finds things like this:

            “LOGAN, UTAH-Former Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson charged Friday night that the civil-rights movement in the South had been formatted almost entirely by the Communists.’ Elder Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a public meeting here that the whole civil-rights movement was ‘phony.’” (Deseret News, Dec. 14, 1963),

            one might logically assume that Elder Benson wasn’t supportive of the movement, or its public face, Dr. King.

            What Steve Benson has done, is to aggregate public and private statements of Ezra Taft Benson.

            I was simply searching for possible racist views of Dr. King, given the history of the LDS Church on race. I’ve only once run across Steve Benson until this search. I’ve never commented about him, or used his arguments. If you believe me to be a shill for anti-Mormon propaganda then that’s fine by me. By the way, who do you think created all this “propaganda” in the first place….it couldn’t possibly be those horrible anti-Mormon apostates could it? Ever listen to Mr. Deity, the once Mormon comedian?

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “I was simply searching for possible racist views of Dr. King, given the history of the LDS Church on race.”

            So why didn’t you produce any?

            Weren’t there any to be found?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            You’re kidding, right?

          • kiwi57

            Nope. I’m not kidding at all.

            You see, contrary to what you appear to have expected, I actually read the quotes you produced. They offered no racially-based judgements, inferences, stereotypes, criticisms or other negative commentary on anyone.

            At all.

            Did you not notice that?

            Or are you one of those who simply assumes that, whenever a white man disagrees with a black man, no matter what the basis of the disagreement, it must necessarily be “racism?”

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Race Problems — As They Affect The Church, Address by Mark E. Petersen (Member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles) at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah,August 27, 1954.

            “The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines.

            It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe.

            They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth…

            We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not to be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject…

            “I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the negro is after.

            He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat.

            He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people.

            It isn’t that he just desires to go the same theater as the white people.

            From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the negro seeks absorbtion with the white race.

            He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage.

            That is his objective and we must face it.

            We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have.

            Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace.’…

            “Now let’s talk about segregation again for a few moments.

            Was segregation a wrong principle?

            when the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation…

            When he told Enoch not preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation.

            When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation…

            “Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa?

            Was it some man, or was it God?

            And when He placed them there, He segregated them…

            “The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence.

            At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the
            definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them
            as a curse

            – as a punishment and as a sign to all others.

            He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse.

            And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line.

            You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there….

            “Now we are generous with the negro.

            We are willing that the Negro have the highest education.

            I would be willing to let every Negro drive a cadillac if they could afford it.

            I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world.

            But let them enjoy these things among themselves.

            I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation?

            It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, ‘what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’

            Only here we have the reverse of the thing — what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.”

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “Race Problems — As They Affect The Church, Address by Mark E. Petersen (Member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles) at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah,August 27, 1954.”

            Ha ha! Gotcha!

            I absolutely knew you would produce that one. If I were a betting man, I would have put money on it.

            And you know why?

            For two reasons:

            1) That is an absolutely industry-standard, shrink-wrapped, off-the-shelf, boilerplate, pure-vanilla piece of anti-Mormon cherry-picking, so of course you are going to trot it out.

            2) An obscure talk by a junior apostle, delivered to a little group of teachers some sixty (60) years ago is absolutely the very best evidence anyone has to support the “Mormon racism” libel, so of course you HAD to fall back on it.

            Did I say it was obscure? Why yes, I did.

            Of course it is very well known in anti-Mormon circles, so those who glean their “information” from such sources are going to foolishly assume that it is somehow prominent.

            But most Church members have never heard of it.

            You see, it doesn’t inform any of our teaching.

            At all.

            So sorry to disappoint.

            Bye.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            The reason I offered it is that it was written by a prominent LDS Church Apostle (do they call themselves “junior”?) and is part of the public record. What were you expecting, something from the LDS Church vault where unpublished records, along with magic stones are stored?

            We know it was a written, presented, and saved document. Did anyone within the Church power hierarchy ever denounce the racist nature of the paper? Where would the apostle, who was a high ranking member of the Church for 40 years come up with such ideas? Was he alone in his racist beliefs?

            Tap dance as much as you want, since that’s truly all you can do with this. Racism existed within the Church and your clever little remarks in your numbers one and two are truly meaningless. There are pages and pages of racist statements to choose from. I picked this one because the topic was relevant to this thread.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “The reason I offered it is that it was written by a prominent LDS Church Apostle (do they call themselves ‘junior’?) and is part of the public record.”

            That, and the fact that it is a standard anti-Mormon chestnut.

            And yes, among the vast number of things you’ve never bothered to inform yourself upon, in your highly selective and so far unsuccessful attempt to “understand the subject,” is the fact that the Q12 does have members that are more senior and/or more junior than others.

            Lucy Mcgee: “What were you expecting, something from the LDS Church vault where unpublished records, along with magic stones are stored?”

            FYI: The people who are discussing Mormon things can be neatly divided into two non-intersecting sets.

            There are those who are making an actual good-faith effort to “understand the subject.”

            And then there are the triumphantly ignorant jerks who jeer about “magic stones” and other pejorative nonsense.

            There is absolutely no overlap between the two sets.

            Just so you know.

            Lucy Mcgee: “There are pages and pages of racist statements to choose from.”

            Yes, that’s the standard anti-Mormon claim.

            And yet after making that claim, they always produce exactly the same tiny (and utterly non-representative) set of cherry-picked quotes out of those “pages and pages.”

            And you are falling into the usual, timeworn pattern.

            Funny, that.

            Lucy Mcgee: “I picked this one because the topic was relevant to this thread.”

            No, you picked it because it’s what you could find in the only sources you are interested in looking at.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Hand-waving, side-stepping and tap dancing around questions is an interesting technique, which you fall back on frequently. Lets specifically discuss the speech within the document written by the high ranking apostle (although lesser) and the language it contains. We know he wrote it, we know it was made public, and we know he was a member of the Q12 for forty years.

            Where did the language come from?

            Was the language outside the thinking of the Church at that time?

            If it was, why wasn’t the “lesser” prophet admonished for his racist writing?

            Was he merely a wild card racist lesser apostle unregulated?

            The reason I’m an ignorant jerk is because you wanted to pick a fight. And you may or may not be correct that my last name is Fer, especially when you combine it with my online first name. How clever. Perhaps I’ll change it to that.

            Has science, in its entire history, ever shown that a piece of rock could aid in translation of language? Transmission electron microscopy has lead to volumes of data regarding properties of rocks and minerals, but I don’t believe language translation was among them.

            Timeworn pattens exist because people look at and think about information. What has been most interesting in my 20 month investigation of your faith is that the most ardent critics, who have built websites with volumes of information, are not outsiders, but were once true believing Mormons.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “Where did the language come from?

            Was the language outside the thinking of the Church at that time?

            If it was, why wasn’t the ‘lesser’ prophet admonished for his racist writing?

            Was he merely a wild card racist lesser apostle unregulated?”

            What a lot of haver.

            No, his views weren’t unique. As you would know, if you actually made an effort to “understand the subject,” the racial views of conservative Mormons in the 1950′s were virtually indistinguishable from those of most of their contemporaries.

            That is one (but by no means the only) reason why cherry-picking those sorts of dated statements, ripping them from their context, and presenting them to the world as uniquely and authoritatively Mormon views is such a grotesquely dishonest exercise.

            And being that it is what it is, I am confident that no person of good character would lower himself to such cynical demagoguery.

            Lucy Mcgee: “The reason I’m an ignorant jerk is because you wanted to pick a fight.”

            No, it’s because that’s your nature. The fact is that you offered a statement by Ezra Taft Benson in order to support a baseless accusation that LDS leaders were MLK’s “enemies.” You also referred to that statement as “racist.”

            Thus proving that you were the one trying to “pick a fight.”

            When I pointed out that the statement was not racist at all, you then pulled this one out. It has nothing at all to do with MLK, but you couldn’t bear the thought that your nasty anti-Mormon accusation wouldn’t stick, so you just had to find a way to support it, didn’t you?

            The irony being that anti-Mormonism is fundamentally no different than racism.

            Lucy Mcgee: “Transmission electron microscopy has lead to volumes of data regarding properties of rocks and minerals, but I don’t believe language translation was among them.”

            And if any Mormon source had ever claimed that the Seer Stones or the Urim and Thummim were used for that purpose because of their intrinsic properties, that sarcastic sneer might not be a complete straw man.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            P.S.

            Here’s another oldie but goodie: https://sites.google.com/site/heavenlybanner/crtool

            I thought about you calling me a shameless shill, then I looked up the word and wow, you think I’m that?

            You truly are omniscient, its a miracle! Perhaps you’d like to tell me what apostate “anti-Mormon” group has me in their grasp and under their spell, or could it be Old Scratch himself (I did once play Krampus) that has me?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            One last thing kiwi the omniscient. You called me a shill. Back up your words with evidence that Ezra Taft Benson was not an enemy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

            Read this from “Our Immediate Responsibility”. BYU Devotional, October 25, 1966. by Ezra Taft Benson

            So-called Civil Rights Movement

            One of the main thrusts of the Communist drive in America today is through the so-called civil rights movement. Now there is nothing wrong with civil rights – it’s what is being done in the name of civil right that is shocking.

            The man who is generally recognized as the leader of the so-called civil rights movement today in America is a man who has lectured at a Communist training school, who has solicited funds through communist
            sources, who hired a Communist as a top-level aide, who has affiliated with Communist fronts, who is often praised in the Communist press and who unquestionably parallels the Communist line. This same man advocatesthe braking of the law and has been described by J. Edgar Hoover as “the most notorious liar in the country.” (U.S. News and World Report, November 30, 1964.)

            Here’s the link: http://www.latterdayconservative.com/ezra-taft-benson/our-immediate-responsibility/

            If you want to use snark as you manage your way through a discussion then fine by me, but at least understand the subject. That would be a nice start.

          • kiwi57

            Once again Mr Lucy, whose last name may or may not be “Fer,” for someone who has merely a passing casual interest in Mormon matters, you seem to have a whole lot of industry-standard, shrink-wrapped, off-the-shelf anti-Mormon talking points at your fingertips, don’t you?

            My, my.

            Now: if saying uncomplimentary things about someone is all it takes to qualify as an “enemy,” then you have made yourself an “enemy” of not only me, but Dan as well.

            Funny, that.

            Come on Mr Lucy. If you’re going to slander dead Mormon leaders, then at least make the accusation fit the cherry-picked quotations. Haven’t you got any real evidence of enmity? Not even one contract out on his life?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I expected a reasonable response, you offer nothing of value but to deride. If that’s all you’ve got then fine, go for it. However, if you’re going to have an impact, at least offer up some evidence that I’m mistaken about Ezra Taft Benson. What do you have? And by the way, how are you doing on that data set I offered about the published “crap” of Dr. Rodney Stark? Made any progress?

            An enemy can be political, racial or otherwise. You decide. I’ll stick with my observation after reading numerous published works of Ezra Taft Benson, and adding to that Steve Benson’s accumulated quotes. This seems to be a real problem for you.

            I grew up in a small Wyoming town in the 60′s. I grew up in a racist culture. It’s not hard to imagine that Utah Mormons were not exactly dedicated to civil rights at that time.

            Our cat is Lucy Mcgee. I chose the it for fun. My last name is not “Fer”. Your powers are obviously failing you.

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy,

            You shrieked:

            “Back up your words with evidence that Ezra Taft Benson was not an enemy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

            I don’t have to. As everyone knows, it is the accuser who bears the entire burden of proof.

            So prove that he was.

            What harm did Elder Benson ever try to do to Dr King?
            What’s that? None?

            Case closed.

            Something else everyone knows — everyone who has made any effort at all to (ahem) “understand the subject,” that is — Elder Benson was more than a little bit exercised about the “Red peril” in his day.

            Not the Black peril. The Red peril.

            Interestingly, it is now known that the agency once known as the KGB did indeed have the American Civil Rights movement thoroughly penetrated. They saw it as a means of destabilising America, which was then “the main enemy.”

            And do you know what was their term of art for people they saw as useful?

            They called them “Progressive elements.”

            Funny, that.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “The man who is generally recognized as the leader of the so-called civil rights movement today in America is a man who has lectured at a Communist training school, who has solicited funds through communist
            sources, who hired a Communist as a top-level aide, who has affiliated with Communist fronts, who is often praised in the Communist press and who unquestionably parallels the Communist line. This same man advocatesthe braking of the law and has been described by J. Edgar Hoover as “the most notorious liar in the country.””

            Quaere: This quote contains no names. What makes you think it’s talking about MLK?

          • Lucy Mcgee
          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy,

            Sometimes you make it just too easy. You’ve just documented one of ETB’s claims about MLK.

            Which means he was telling the truth, doesn’t it?

            Remember that you are the one trying to leverage those remarks into support for the accusation that ETB was MLK’s “enemy.”

            Are you now saying that the truth was MLK’s enemy?

            Incidentally, while “the most notorious liar in the country” seems a bit of hyperbole, the fact remains that, unless you can show that MLK didn’t make the claim attributed to him — and the only apparent controversy about that is whether the claim was true — then it really does seem that he told a fib, didn’t he?

            And not only a fib, but an appeal to prejudice. What would you say if a white contemporary of Dr King had said something equivalent to, “You can’t trust the people in that office because they are all black?”

            Wouldn’t you unhesitatingly label such a remark as “racist?”

            What would you do if it had been a Mormon who said such a thing? How much would you pay for a genuinely racist remark from a Mormon, so that you could throw it in my face?

            However, the person who made the actual remark was neither white nor Mormon, and the targets thereof were not black.

            But isn’t it still a racist remark?

            Or is it somehow different when a beloved Civil Rights icon makes it?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Quaere: This quote contains no names. What makes you think it’s talking about MLK?

            You asked a question and I answered it.

            The rest is hyperbole.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “The rest is hyperbole.”

            Now who’s just hand-waving?

            Fact: you offered ETB’s statement as if it proved that he was MLK’s enemy.

            Fact: that statement consists of assertions that were true, or at least have not been disputed by you, and one of which you have obligingly supported with documentation.
            Fact: you have failed to even attempt to deal with this.

            Conclusion: you would rather gnaw your own arm off than admit that one of your anti-Mormon accusations has failed.

            Because that’s what happened, Mr Lucy.

            It failed. Comprehensively.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Fact: your church has a racist history.
            Fact: writings by your apostles shows this clearly.
            Fact: you’re a serial denier.
            Fact: I’m done with you on this.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “Fact: your church has a racist history.”

            Truth: That’s a popular anti-Mormon slogan. Those who are genuinely interested in the truth find it to be rather more nuanced than that.

            Lucy Mcgee: “Fact: writings by your apostles shows this clearly.”

            Truth: There are some such writings that can be cherry-picked to support that accusation. Most cannot.

            Lucy Mcgee: “Fact: you’re a serial denier.”

            Truth: It’s true that I consistently deny falsehoods and malicious accusations.

            Lucy Mcgee: “Fact: I’m done with you on this.”

            Truth: You’re the one on the attack, but you imagine you’ve got something to be indignant about.

            How arrogant are you really?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            By the way, I offered you some data sets from Dr. Rodney Stark’s book. You were quite interested in chiming in and denying my assumptions, but failed to reply to the evidence I offered that Stark manipulated data. Is that how you roll? It’s easy to write stuff, attack without data, and disappear. Then call me a shill.

            In fact, I’ve seen no backing of your musings/attacks on those who dare to question your Church. Here’s my take kiwi57. You don’t appreciate apostates tearing down your belief system, especially secular humans who could be considered by some faithful to be sent by Satan himself. Instead of calling people shills, why not thoughtfully engage, offering data which amplifies your argument?

            Today, I listened to an interview between Dan Wortherspoon, Brian Dalton and Charles Harrell on Mormon Stories. I’m fairly addicted to the push/pull of faith vs. secular belief systems as articulated by those who made a transition away from faith. This will be an important topic for years. http://mormonstories.org/383-mr-deitys-brian-dalton-discusses-book-of-mormon-racism-with-dan-wotherspoon-and-charles-harrell/

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “By the way, I offered you some data sets from Dr. Rodney Stark’s book.”

            But Mr Lucy: Stark is an “eminent [social] scientist.” Isn’t it an article of your faith that we are supposed to merely acquiesce to his opinion?

            Lucy Mcgee: “Today, I listened to an interview between Dan Wortherspoon, Brian Dalton and Charles Harrell on Mormon Stories.”

            A word to the wise, Mr Lucy: if your indignation at being seen as a shill for anti-Mormon propaganda is so great, perhaps you ought not to so eagerly provide support for it by spruiking for the so-called “Mormon Stories.”

            Lucy Mcgee: “This will be an important topic for years.”

            Really? It will be?

            How do you know that?

            Are you truly that, um, “omniscient?”

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I really enjoy Mormon Stories. And because you are truly a magical thinker, you must certainly know that there is a large anti-Mormon apostate underground, supporting Mormon Stories under the direction of, well, you must know who.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “I really enjoy Mormon Stories.”

            Given its hostility to the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ, that’s hardly surprising.

            Lucy Mcgee: “And because you are truly a magical thinker”

            And this from the fellow who, of all people, accuses me, of all people, of claiming to be “omniscient.”

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I think omniscience and magical thinking go very well together. Young children sometimes display such behavior….thinking they know everything and at the same time living in a fantasy.

          • kiwi57

            Lucy Mcgee: “I think omniscience and magical thinking go very well together.”

            In which case your (failed) attempts at mind-reading mark you out as a “magical thinker” par excellence.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I wonder why Dr. Peterson would agree to sit down and be interviewed on Mormon Stories, given its hostility to the truth claims of the Church?

      • gilbert gripe

        Maybe a larger quotation would help:

        Christian reformism arose originally from the ability of
        its advocates to contrast the Old Testament with the New. The
        cobbled-together ancient Jewish books had an ill-tempered and implacable
        and bloody and provincial god, who was probably more frightening when
        he was in a good mood (the classic attribute of the dictator). Whereas
        the cobbled-together books of the last two thousand years contained
        handholds for the hopeful, and references to meekness, forgiveness,
        lambs and sheep, and so forth. This distinction is more apparent than
        real, since it is only in the reported observations of Jesus that we
        find any mention of hell and eternal punishment. The god of Moses would
        brusquely call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer
        massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over
        his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered
        to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of
        Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing
        the dead. First presaged by the rantings of John the Baptist, the son
        of god is revealed as one who, if his milder words are not accepted
        straightaway, will condemn the inattentive to everlasting fire. This had
        provided texts for clerical sadists ever since, and features very
        lip-smackingly in the tirades of Islam. At no point did Dr. King—who was
        once photagraphed in a bookstore waiting calmly for a physician while
        the knife of a maniac was sticking straight out of his chest—even hint
        that those who injured and reviled him were to be threatened with any
        revenge or punishment, in this world or the next, save the consequences
        of their own brute selfishness and stupidity. And he even phrased that
        appeal more courteously than, in my humble opinion, its targets
        deserved. In no real as opposed to nominal sense, then, was he a
        Christian.

        [God Is Not Great, pp. 175-176]

        Having read the book I was so confused by Dan Peterson’s statement I had to look it up.

  • Hellmut Lotz

    “But where are Dr. King’s successors on this pressing issue?”

    I am afraid that is a misconception on your part, Dr. Petersen. If you watch Jesse Jackson’s speeches on Youtube, you will find many of sermons and speeches about family values. It’s a standard topic of African American preaching.

    • DanielPeterson

      Jesse Jackson is better than many on this front. But many, such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, are terrible on it. And I’m far and away not the only person who is critical of the “civil-rights” establishment in this regard. Even Bill Cosby has been.

      • Hellmut Lotz

        There is certainly a lot one might criticize Al Sharpton for. But failing to speak out for family values is not among them. Here is a quote for illustration to which I can add many others because family values are one of his favorite topics:

        “And we come with strong family values. Family values is not just those with two-car garages and a retirement plan. Retirement plans are good. But family values also are those who had to make nothing stretch into something happening, who had to make ends meet.

        “I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table.

        “But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is
        about not where you start, but where you’re going. That’s family values.”

        Source: Text of Al Sharpton’s Address to the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2004

        I appreciate your concerns, Mr. Petersen, but contrary to your claims family values are a mainstay in African American churches, which continue to provide many important civil rights leaders.

        • kiwi57

          Thank you. This is an actual discussion of the topic.

          You provided an example of a Black leader who is addressing the issue. Dan responded by acknowledging that your example was a valid one, but provided a counter-example of his own.

          You then replied with evidence relating to Dan’s counter-example.

          And this is the only substantive discussion on the topic to be found anywhere on this page.

          Everyone else has merely expressed their disgust and disapproval that Dan would have the temerity to express an opinion on this topic. At all.

          • Hellmut Lotz

            Thank you for the compliment, Mr. or Mrs. Kiwi. My contribution is nothing special. On the contrary, I suspect that Dr. Petersen’s critics are irritated because he could have determined these facts easily for himself.

          • DanielPeterson

            “Facts”?

        • kiwi57

          Incidentally, merely mentioning the phrase “family values” doesn’t necessarily entail actually caring about them. Dan, of course, can speak for himself, but I don’t see that that quote goes to his particular concerns. For example, the breakdown in traditional family structures in many minority groups in the developed world is often traced to well-meaning government interventions that privilege or subsidise single parenthood, especially among young teenage girls. Has Mr Sharpton addressed that issue?

          • Hellmut Lotz

            Sure, Sharpton contradicts the conventional perception of family values, if you will. Unfortunately, the term family values has degenerated into code to dominate outsiders and other cultures. Sharpton’s point to the contrary is actually particularly valuable.

            The nuclear family is not the only successful way to have a family. If we talked about World War II widows who were single mothers, the same way we talk about African American single mothers, it would be clear what is wrong and offensive about Dr. Petersen’s claims.

            Family values are important. They are no license to berate African Americans and civil rights leaders on Martin Luther King Day.

          • DanielPeterson

            You’re really, really having to reach in order to demonize me on this one, Hellmut Lotz.

            Apparently, not even the tiniest deviations from liberal orthodoxy are to be tolerated. To allow them to slip by would be a sign of weakness, I suppose.

          • Hellmut Lotz

            I am actually a conservative, Dr. Petersen. Like Edmund Burke, I think that adhering to the facts is important. As a conservative, I find your unfounded accusations of civil rights leaders troubling. Why did you not google Al Sharpton’s speeches before you launched those accusations?

            Have you read the research on crime and race? Are you aware of the empirical studies?

            Who are those disciples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who fail to “press family values”? Whose speeches have you listened to? When was the last time, you have been in an African American church?

            Nobody is demonizing you. I do expect of you, however, to consider the relevant empirical facts more carefully. Likewise, the logical implications of your argument would benefit from more critical engagement as well.

          • DanielPeterson

            You seem not have noticed the fact that I’m not even remotely impressed by the example supplied from Al Sharpton.

            Notice this: You can redefine conservatism, I suppose, and use an eccentric redefinition of “family values.” But don’t expect that your rhetorical ploys will go unnoticed, and don’t expect me to treat your position as, by default and on the basis of your bare assertion, factually true and ethically superior.

          • Hellmut Lotz

            Now we are at the root of your argument. You are frustrated that civil rights leaders do not agree with you.

            That is hardly surprising. You have never supported the civil rights movement and you do not support it on Martin Luther King Day.

          • DanielPeterson

            HL: “Now we are at the root of your argument. You are frustrated that civil rights leaders do not agree with you.”

            No. I simply disagree with them. And I simply said so. I’ve expressed no real frustration. The frustration, anger, and hostility have been coming in repeated comments here from you and a couple of like-minded critics.

            HL: “That is hardly surprising.”

            It’s hardly TRUE.

            HL: “You have never supported the civil rights movement and you do not support it on Martin Luther King Day.”

            How in the world can you deduce that from this post or from anything else I’ve ever posted?

            Amateur psychologizing is silly enough, but your attempt to invent a biography for me out of thin air and your fantasies is perfectly ludicrous.

          • DanielPeterson

            Precisely, Kiwi57.

  • RG

    Dan, on the off chance you care about the way in which the Mormon (intellectual) community will be perceived by your actions, I ask that you refrain from posting about MLK.

    • DanielPeterson

      RG, on the off chance that you care about being perceived as a hypersensitive and politically correct ideologue with totalitarian tendencies, I would suggest that you reconsider the wisdom of trying to silence others.

      You cannot reasonably view my entry about as either racist or critical of Martin Luther King. But you can, I’ll admit, do it UNreasonably.

      • RG

        I’m not trying to silence you, Dan. That would entail petitioning Patheos or some other power-that-be to remove your posts. I’m asking that you be more self-selective in what you write given the way it reflects on the rest of us.
        This isn’t a question of _my_ interpretation, it’s a question of how reasonable others _could_ read your post.

        Take this phrase, for instance: There is still very much to do, and it seems to me that many leaders of the Black community have lacked Martin Luther King’s moral courage and, consequently, have not addressed the vast problems facing those for whom Dr. King gave his life.

        Why isn’t it reasonable to read this as, “Dan is saying that many leaders of the Black community lack moral courage?”

        • DanielPeterson

          That’s precisely what I mean to say.

          Look. I find a number of your views objectionable, but I would never suggest that you be silent. I lack the hubris, for one thing.

          • RG

            Can you see why some reasonable person _could_ take that as racist?
            Unfortunately my suggestion is based on having gone the rounds on this last year, only to see that not much has changed in a year.

          • kiwi57

            What “reasonable person” did you have in mind, RG?

            To say that many of a certain leadership group lack moral courage on a certain issue does not imply that this is a characteristic of all of that leadership group, much less of the entire population cohort they represent.

            There is a difference between reasonable people and those diligently looking for excuses to take offence. Dan will never please the latter group, who after all don’t want to be pleased, and they cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called “reasonable.”

          • RG

            No doubt there are people that will assume the worst of Dan no matter what he writes. But surely there are people who are far less acquainted with Dan, let’s say someone who heard about a Mormon scholar of Islam, someone curious to see what kind of work such a scholar might have to offer; and then they come to his blog and read something like this. Is it unreasonable for this person to at least think it’s possible that Dan is racist?

            Or let’s take a LDS who might have read something written by Dan. Perhaps they read his article on Asherah. They have a positive impression of him, and want to know more. Is it possible that such a person will read something like this blog post and think it’s possible that Dan is racist?

            Speaking more specifically to the point about leaders in the Black community lacking moral courage, what if I were to say that leaders in the Mormon community lack the moral courage to do X (where X could be “stand up for the traditional definition of family” or “admit that the priesthood ban was a mistake”)? This might reveal one or more things about me:

            A) I’m ignorant of Mormon culture since these are both complex issues.

            B) I have certain biases about Mormon culture likely shaped by my ignorance.

            C) I have a nuanced argument that might substantiate these points (although this would be severe blow to the Mormon community). This would require clear definitions of terms such as “Mormon community,” “lacking,” and “moral courage.” Given our discussion last year (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2013/01/a-hasty-note-on-martin-luther-king-day.html) I don’t think Dan can substantiate such an argument.

          • kiwi57

            RG: “Is it unreasonable for this person to at least think it’s possible that Dan is racist?”

            “Possible?” Certainly; many things are possible. Does this post provide reasonable support for such a conclusion, even tentatively?

            Given that it explicitly says that the problem is not exclusively “Black,” that Black families have been strong in the past, and that the sources of the problem are found in government policies; and given that the moral courage of the leaders in question is being rather explicitly contrasted with that of a black man; then no, I hardly think so.

          • RG

            Here’s how I believe a reasonable person (as I’ve laid it out in my previous comment) could reasonably take this post:

            Hitchens tried to portray MLK as an unbeliever in religion, but he is wrong. There is still much that needs to be improved with regards to the situation of Black people in America. Unfortunately many of the leaders of the Black community lack moral courage so the problems persist. Did you know that young black males disproportionately account for murders committed in this country? Well, this is connected to the collapse of the Black family, which of course is not intrinsically about being Black since earlier in American history Black families were more sturdy than White families. No doubt other factors have contributed, such as misguided government policies; but where are MLK’s successors?

            If this is a reasonable reading, it doesn’t elide the problems I raise in my previous post. The focus is still on the lack of leaders who lack moral courage (even if the government may have contributed to the collapse of the Black family).

          • DanielPeterson

            That’s a reasonable reading. But it can’t reasonably be taken as racist.

          • DanielPeterson

            No, I can’t see why any reasonable person would take what I said above as racist.

            Anybody who does so has thereby demonstrated that he or she is, at least on this matter, not reasonable.

        • MormonDem

          Aside from the fact that it always looks bad and draws bad attention for Mormons, particularly Mormons who were adults prior to 1978, to scold black people on racial issues.

          • kiwi57

            Thank you, MormonDem, for so succinctly putting the “politically correct” position as to why Mormons have no right to hold opinions on certain subjects.

            I’ve articulated it in similar terms, only to be told that it was a straw man and a caricature.

          • DanielPeterson

            I scolded nobody on racial issues. I voiced concerns about a problem that strongly affects the black community.

            Your determination to treat blacks as fragile infants who must always be praised and addressed with baby talk, coos, and avuncular tickles under the chinny-chin-chin, but never with frank honesty, isn’t one that I share.

            And your tendency to insinuating that those who disagree with you on this are racists is flatly evil.

        • kiwi57

          RG: “I’m asking that you be more self-selective in what you write given the way it reflects on the rest of us.”

          And who is “us?”

          • RG

            Narrowly speaking, anyone who might participate in something like the following:
            http://mormonscholarstestify.org/
            http://www.mormonscholars.net/
            http://www.smpt.org/

          • kiwi57

            Thank you, and in which of these venues might we find your contributions?

          • RG

            I am a contributor, have contributed, or have been invited to contribute to at least two of these venues.

            If this is a test of my mo-cred, I’ve published with Deseret Book. Is that sufficient?

          • DanielPeterson

            Your tendency to think (and to condemn) in terms not of individuals but of groups groups — curiously, a quintessential characteristic of racism — is exposed in your notion that I somehow represent all Mormon intellectuals, who will be judged by my opinions on a blog, as well (of course) as in your reading of a criticism of a subset (“many”) of a subset (“leaders”) of a subset (recent) of blacks as a racist attack on blacks generally.

            Even if you think me factually wrong in my criticism, the reckless and irresponsible ease with which you baselessly deploy one of the most damaging accusations in modern American rhetoric (that of racism) is breathtaking.

          • RG

            I’m a bit confused here. I never said that you were representative of all Mormon intellectuals. My point is simply that the things you say have implications for those with whom you are associated. I might recognize our differences, but I wouldn’t expect say a professor of Buddhist history not to think that the president of the SMPT doesn’t reflect many of the values of its members.

            I also didn’t accuse you of racism. I’m accusing you of opening yourself to the charge of racism that might be made by a reasonable reader because of your choice of words.

            Let me lay this out as clearly as I can by making two points:

            1) A reasonable reader, as defined above, could read your your statement about many leaders of the Black community lacking moral courage as a statement made in ignorance because of assumptions you have about this community, which you coincidentally comprise on the basis of race. Now, I don’t see this as much different than the example I provide of Mormonism. Both examples are rooted in ignorance and bias. The difference, of course, is the physical marker of Black with regard to the “Black community.”

            If I said that leaders in the Mormon community lack the moral courage to do X, is there any possible variable that you would replace X with to make my statement not based on ignorance or bias?

            2) From my perspective you shouldn’t post on MLK anymore for a number of reasons:

            A) Even if I’m wrong about everything else, this is really the trump card. Your fiasco last year with the lynching photo (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2013/05/mormon-apologist-uses-photo-of-the-dead-bodies-of-lynched-blacks-as-a-gag-prop/) demonstrates your ignorance of a central part of our racist past. Even if you innocently chose the photo (which I believe you did), you should refrain from posting on race-related issues as a sign of your contrition in light of your poor judgment. This indiscretion should make you _extremely_ tentative to ever post on anything race-related again.

            B) Your MLK post from last year demonstrated your inability actually sustain an argument about matters relating to Civil Rights; and your post this year doesn’t seem to move things forward.

          • DanielPeterson

            SMPT thrives and relies upon a wide range of opinions, from orthodox Mormon through Evangelical and Catholic to atheist, vigorously and openly advocated.

            The technical term for such a situation is “intellectual diversity.”

            Your attempt to blackmail me because I’m the current president of SMPT is, thus, exceptionally inappropriate.

            There is nothing in my blog post above that a reasonable person can reasonably construe as racist, and your attempt to bully me into a vow of perpetual silence (and into acquiescence to your views) is shameful.

          • RG

            Again, it’s not that I don’t recognize intellectual diversity, it’s whether or not others will recognize such diversity. Otherwise, you haven’t responded to anything I said in my last comment. Please engage the argument.

          • DanielPeterson

            I see nothing particularly worthy of engagement. I see nothing intellectually serious to engage.

            Will some unreasonable people choose to see just about anything I write as racist if I mention a black person without praising him or her to the limit of my lung capacity?

            Yes. Almost certainly so.

            And there’s essentially nothing that I can do about it, except to take the vow of perpetual silence that you so graciously proffer me.

            It’s impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.

            But I refuse to take your vow.

          • RG

            I’m not asking you to refrain from putting up posts about MLK (or race) because some people will inevitably read you as racist. I’m asking you to refrain for three very good reasons, none of which you’ve really tried to address.

          • DanielPeterson

            I can’t address your “three very good reasons” if you won’t share them.

          • RG

            Here’s what I said. You can find the three reasons listed as 1), 2A), and 2B).

            I also didn’t accuse you of racism. I’m accusing you of opening yourself to the charge of racism that might be made by a reasonable reader because of your choice of words.

            Let me lay this out as clearly as I can by making two points:

            1) A reasonable reader, as defined above, could read your your statement about many leaders of the Black community lacking moral courage as a statement made in ignorance because of assumptions you have about this community, which you coincidentally comprise on the basis of race. Now, I don’t see this as much different than the example I provide of Mormonism. Both examples are rooted in ignorance and bias. The difference, of course, is the physical marker of Black with regard to the “Black community.”

            If I said that leaders in the Mormon community lack the moral courage to do X, is there any possible variable that you would replace X with to make my statement not based on ignorance or bias?

            2) From my perspective you shouldn’t post on MLK anymore for a number of reasons:

            A) Even if I’m wrong about everything else, this is really the trump card. Your fiasco last year with the lynching photo (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/c… demonstrates your ignorance of a central part of our racist past. Even if you innocently chose the photo (which I believe you did), you should refrain from posting on race-related issues as a sign of your contrition in light of your poor judgment. This indiscretion should make you _extremely_ tentative to ever post on anything race-related again.

            B) Your MLK post from last year demonstrated your inability to actually sustain an argument about matters relating to Civil Rights; and your post this year doesn’t seem to move things forward.

          • DanielPeterson

            All three contentions — they don’t rise (let’s be honest) to the level of actual arguments — are without merit.

            Don’t you have anything more useful and productive to do?

          • RG

            Dan, you have real enemies. I’ve read the things they’ve written about you. Much of it is truly nasty. I am not your enemy. But, let me suggest that you are complicit in creating some of your enemies. You post things on a public message board, you belittle those that question you, and you refuse to actually engage in substantive discussion. People spite you because you spite them. People try to silence you because you avoid actually discussing the issue at hand, but then go on to keep advocating the sames views as if unware of legitimate challenges. See, this is the point in the discussion where a reasonable person would explain his or her position in light of the challenges raised or would admit that he or she was wrong. You are being unreasonable, and I sympathize with all those harmed by it.

          • DanielPeterson

            You make ridiculous accusations and demand that I spend time interacting with them.

            Case in point: You imply that my posts here “harm” people.

            This is absurd. I’m posting on a blog, not dropping thermonuclear bombs, poisoning city water supplies, destroying life-sustaining crops, or molesting children.

            If even the microscopic deviation from Your Opinions represented by my genial and positive post above about Martin Luther King (on Martin Luther King Day) is enough to drive you this wild, and to motivate you to post critical comments one after another after another, to be so remarkably obsessive, to stimulate you to try to shut me up, you really need to get a grip.

            Seriously. Rethink your priorities.

            You keep demanding that I interact with your depictions of what “reasonable people” might say about my comments on MLK. But I reject your assumption that any reasonable people would view them the way you suggest. Ergo, I find nothing in your assertions to discuss. They’re flatly absurd.

          • kiwi57

            RG,

            So unlike MormonDem, who seems to be arguing from a position of (Mormon) White Guilt, you seem to be saying that having ever at any time opened the door to accusations, however weakly based, of “racism,” should be sufficient to persuade Dan to never again write anything at all that criticises any person who isn’t the same colour as him. Because no “reasonable” reader could possibly consider such a criticism on its merits, but would immediately leap to the conclusion that such a criticism could only be “racist.” Is that right?

            In that case, relying upon your own argument, do we understand that you will never again post anything at all relating to Mormon things?

          • RG

            Kiwi,

            See my three points. These are three, somewhat separate, reasons Dan should not have made this post. I’m happy to discuss them each on their own terms. We started with #1 earlier; perhaps we should finish it before moving to #2A.

            1) A reasonable reader, as defined above, could read your your statement about many leaders of the Black community lacking moral courage as a statement made in ignorance because of assumptions you have about this community, which you coincidentally comprise on the basis of race. Now, I don’t see this as much different than the example I provide of Mormonism. Both examples are rooted in ignorance and bias. The difference, of course, is the physical marker of Black with regard to the “Black community.”

            If I said that leaders in the Mormon community lack the moral courage to do X, is there any possible variable that you would replace X with to render my statement not based on ignorance or bias?
            Said differently, what might we replace X with to make the statement correct?

          • Daved6

            RG,
            Tedious quibbling about your perceptions of Dan is tiring, is it not? It would be less embarrassing for you, I would think, to drop the perceptions you have of Dan and not try to read things into his blog posts in order to attack the man.
            I guess this quibbling is long over in this thread, but I assume it’ll continue somewhere. Too bad. It’s a shame.

          • RG

            Daved6,

            The real shame is that no one can actually respond to my question about moral courage.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’ve responded to it. I’ve said that I regard it as silly and misconceived.

            You just want a different answer.

          • RG

            Dan and Daved6,
            We can sit here till we’re blue in the face making assumptions about each other’s motives, or we can address what’s actually been written. I’ve copied my comment from the other thread that Dan has not responded to. If neither of you will respond to it, at least make an argument about _why_ it’s silly and misconceived.
            Dan, I can see why you would want to stay clear of any accusation of racism. And for the sake of the discussion, let me reiterate that I do not think you are racist. While we all bring our biases to bear in the act of reading, let me explain why I think a reasonable reader could come to the conclusion that your post is based on bias toward or ignorance of a particular community, not because of slopping reading, personal dislike, etc. that you lay out; but rather because of what you say. Note that I’ve backed down from using the term “racism” in regard to the reasonable reader. Here’s my explanation:

            I do not think that a reasonable person could say that many leaders of the Mormon community lack moral courage. A reasonable person might disagree with aspects of the Mormon community, say our insistence that the Word of Wisdom leads to health; but I don’t see how this disagreement would lead to the conclusion that many leaders of the Mormon community lack the moral courage to advocate for a glass of wine after dinner, for instance. As such, I could see how you would disagree with the ways in which individuals such as Al Sharpton would advocate for things, or even disagree about the very things they advocate for. I wouldn’t say that Al Sharpton lacks moral courage though (of course you don’t specificy this, so I’m not sure he would make your list, but if not perhaps you could name names).

            Going back to the Mormon example, if someone were to claim that many leaders of the Mormon community lack moral courage, I would wonder why this person would hold such an opinion. The only things I can think of are the likelihoods that such an opinion is rooted in ignorance of and/or bias toward the Mormon community. My sense is that the same thing holds for the Black community. Now, there are many reasons someone may be bias or ignorant, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is a bad person; just that their opinions are rooted in ill-formed or problematic assumptions.

            In my opinion, making such a claim about the Black community or the Mormon community reveals ignorance of or bias toward those communities; and there often is a double standard where making these kinds of statements about Mormons is tolerated but making these statements about the Black community is not. I would say, though, that both statements are likely to be equally disturbing, and neither should be a part of reasonable discourse.

          • Daved6

            “We can sit here till we’re blue in the face making assumptions about each other’s motives, or we can address what’s actually been written. I’ve copied my comment from the other thread that Dan has not responded to. If neither of you will respond to it, at least make an argument about _why_ it’s silly and misconceived.”
            Again, I’m not sure what you are talking about. Referencing your “comment from the other thread” isn’t exactly letting me know what it is you want to discuss.
            As for the rest of your post, I don’t have much of a clue what you are talking about. Al Sharpton? I have no issue with him–and honestly don’t know much about him. Do many black leaders of the black community lack the same amount or type of moral courage as MLK? I don’t know. Probably most people, generally, lack such a degree or type of courage. I don’t find it particularly offensive to say as much. Of course if I were to read into Dan’s words the idea that you continue to read into them– saying leaders of the black community don’t have moral courage period. well then we may have a different thing to discuss. But reading such into his words isn’t doing this discussion any favors. It’s absurd and divisive. Not much more to discuss other than to point out your error and your continued effort to attack him based on a straw man.
            As I said, previously, seems like a waste to me.

          • RG

            Daved6,

            You’ve gotten into this conversation without reading the whole thread. Here are the relevant parts:

            RG: Why isn’t it reasonable to read this as, “Dan is saying that many leaders of the Black community lack moral courage?”

            DCP: That’s precisely what I mean to say.

            Later…

            RG: Here’s how I believe a reasonable person (as I’ve laid it out in my previous comment) could reasonably take this post:

            Hitchens tried to portray MLK as an unbeliever in religion, but he is wrong. There is still much that needs to be improved with regards to the situation of Black people in America. Unfortunately many of the leaders of the Black community lack moral courage so the problems persist. Did you know that young black males disproportionately account for murders committed in this country? Well, this is connected to the collapse of the Black family, which of course is not intrinsically about being Black since earlier in American history Black families were more sturdy than White families. No doubt other factors have contributed, such as misguided government policies; but where are MLK’s successors?

            If this is a reasonable reading, it doesn’t elide the problems I raise in my previous post. The focus is still on the lack of leaders who [have] moral courage (even if the government may have contributed to the collapse of the Black family).

            DCP: That’s a reasonable reading. But it can’t reasonably be taken as racist.

            …..

            Now, the comment you responded to is a comment I left in a later thread Dan started about racism. My point is quite simple, what if someone said that many leaders of the Mormon community lacked moral courage? IMO, such a statement could only be rooted in ignorance and bias. The same holds for making such a statement about the Black community.

          • Daved6

            RG,
            I’m questioning my sanity by continuing this, but whatever.
            Taking Dan’s comments. So let’s say MLK represents the top of the moral courage barometer. Many black leaders aren’t filling the barometer. neither is many other people, but we’ll forget that. That would suggest some black leaders do fill that barometer. And yet that is in your view reasonably viewed as a racist thought. Why? Beat me. You won’t reasonably answer that for some reason. Truth is most people in the world no matter their race probably don’t reach the level of moral courage MLK had.
            As for whether LDS leaders lack moral courage? Some probably do. Some probably do’t quite reach the level that MLK reached. We might even reasonably say many do not reach that heigt. that’s, of course, an unreasonable and blatant change of subject. There is no one to one comparison here at all.

          • RG

            Daved6,

            First, I’d like to note that I’ve never said Dan is racist. As I mentioned on another thread, I think Dan does some great things for the LDS community. This discussion is about whether or not Dan exercises poor judgment in discussing issues related to race. I, personally, think he should not post on issues related to race for reasons I’ve mentioned up-thread. As far as the issue of moral courage is concerned, my point is that a reasonable reader could read his post and see it as rooted in ignorance and bias (which may or may not be racist).

            Let me put it this way:

            Say you’ve heard good things about someone’s work on Buddhism. You look the person up, and he happens to be a professor at an evangelical college. While looking the person up, you also come across his blog. You visit the blog and see that he’s done a post on Joseph Smith’s birthday. One of the things he says is “many leaders of the Mormon community lack the moral courage of Joseph Smith.” You stop and think to yourself, “What might he mean?” Knowing that evangelicals and Mormons have a tenuous history, you realize that this _could_ be a statement rooted in ignorance and/or bias, so you ask, “Do you mean that many leaders of the Mormon community lack moral courage?” He replies, “Indeed I do.”

            Now, would you honestly walk away from this interaction thinking, “Well, he must mean that most people in the world lack Joseph Smith’s courage. It’s nothing personal”?

          • Daved6

            RG, to be fair you’d have to give me far more information about what this pretended Evangelical professor said for me to even fairly comment.

          • RG

            Here’s what he said:

            Joseph Smith was a seriously flawed man. The plagiarism in the Book of Mormon, the polygamous relationships, the blurring of church and state in Nauvoo — these were and are unfortunate. In this respect, he reminds me of the Jaredite king Morianton, in the Book of Mormon: ”And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms” (Ether 10:11).

            That said, he was also a man of remarkable bravery, and he paid for it with his life at the hands of a much lesser human beings. And he was stunningly eloquent, delivering powerful, biblically-cadenced speeches that moved millions, and that still move me.

            There is still very much that needs to be done in the Mormon community, and it seems to me that many leaders of the Mormon community have lacked Joseph Smith’s moral courage and, consequently, have not addressed the vast problems facing those for whom Smith gave his life.

            By sheer chance, I ran across a statistic this morning that makes the problems starkly evident. Mormons have a higer rate of depression than other American communities.

            This is, I presume, connected with the well-chronicaled collapse of the family in America. But there’s nothing intrinsically “Mormon” about the matter. For many years after the Mormons were expelled, Mormon families were more sturdy than other American families. It seems that other factors — almost certainly including misguided government social policies — have intervened in more recent decades. But where are Joseph Smith’s successors on this pressing issue?

          • Daved6

            If the evidence bore out his claims, then I”d probably say, “he seems to have a point”, and move on, without questioning whether he has some terrible resentment towards Mormons.
            If not, then I’d probably still not see any particular bigotry here nor would I see reason to think people could reasonably conclude bigotry.

          • RG

            Daved6,
            So you see nothing in this hypothetical professor’s comments that leads you to believe that he is ignorant of or bias toward the LDS community? If not, then on what grounds is this professor mistaken (assuming that you believe he is mistaken)?
            And how do you define biogtry?

          • Daved6

            Dictionary.com puts it this way: “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.” Seems to fit how I view the word. You?
            I already answered your first question. As to your second, I thought this was a hypothetical. Are you this evangelical professor? Are you quoting someone else now? I don’t see the point of arguing with a made up person.
            I’ve clearly explained I don’t see how one can reasonably conclude racism based on Dan’s comments.

          • RG

            That definition of bigotry is a bit strong for my tastes, but I wasn’t the one who introduced the term. Given that definition I do not think Dan is a bigot nor that a reasonable person acould conclude bigotry based on his comments.

            I am not that evangelical professor. I’ve simply quoted what Dan’s said about MLK and changed a few of the words: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2013/01/a-hasty-note-on-martin-luther-king-day.html

            If you read the rest of this thread you’d see that I stated earlier that I’m a fully active member of the Church, and a part of the LDS intellectual community.

            You actually _haven’t_ explained how a reasonable person could not reasonably conclude ignorance of or bias toward the LDS community in the example I just provided. You simply said if you thought the person was wrong you wouldn’t conclude the person was a bigot. Given your definition of bigotry, I agree. But assuming the hypothetical professor is in fact wrong, how likely is it that his opinions are rooted in ignorance or bias? See, if you’re going to say that it isn’t rooted in ignorance or bias, you need to provide an alternative source for his opinion.
            For me, this is actually quite simple. If someone made the above remarks about the Mormon community, I would think he were misinformed with regrads to the community. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that perhaps he simply based his opinion on bad information, or that maybe he hasn’t clearly conveyed what he was trying to say. If I ask whether he means to say that many leaders of the Mormon community lack moral courage, and he responds with, “Indeed I do,” it would then strenghthen the likelihood that such an opinion is rooted in ignorance and/or bias. Ignorance isn’t a grand evil, we’re all ignorant of some things. The problem is when we put our ignorance on display, seeming to be unaware of such ignorance. Now, I think this is a reasonable reading of the Mormon example above, as well as a reasonable reading of Dan’s post. If you do not think it is a reasonable reading, then you need to show _why_ it is not reasonable. Simply stating that you disagree does not prove anything.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m astonished at RG’s obsessiveness here.

            Just for the record: Whether the Book of Mormon “plagiarizes” from the Bible is, at best, disputable, and it carries (and reflects) fundamental theological and historical presuppositions. By contrast, MLK’s dissertation plagiarism is, so far as I know, undisputed among those (including a faculty committee at the university that granted him his Ph.D.) who have given the evidence any real attention.

            RG is, to say the least of it, wrong to insinuate that I’m making a partisan accusation against Rev. King.

          • RG

            Indeed, that is an inaccurate comparison as you note.
            Are you saying, though, that your comment about moral courage is a partisan accusation?

          • DanielPeterson

            No, I’m not.

            Give it a rest, RG.

          • Daved6

            Don’t be too proud. Its not really as if no one can actually respond. Its more along the lines of everyone (well, excepting those who think it honorable to follow each word by folks like Dan in hopes to twist his comments into something evil) thinks your criticisms and questions present absurdities. On your take nearly everything can be twisted into something that will reasonably offend someone. None of us should be doing anything, except attacking other individuals whom we don’t like for perceived slights. Seems like a waste to me.
            But have fun with it I suppose, if that’s what gets you rolling out of bed each day. I wish ya the best no matter your negative inclinations.

          • RG

            Daved6, any thoughts on my comment above?

          • Daved6

            You’ve been far to ambiguous about what it is you think I ought to respond to. But, if you care enough to clarify, I’ll consider what it is you feel is so important to discuss on this.
            How’s that sound, fair?

  • Formidable

    Until now, I had yet to meet anyone who would reject MLK for his faults, but completely and blindly support Joseph Smith despite his.

    Racist much?

    • DanielPeterson

      Are you free to disclose the name of the person you’re addressing, Miss F?

      I think you imagine that you’re addressing me, but, since I neither reject MLK nor “blindly support” Joseph Smith, it’s undeniably obvious that you’re mistaken.

      Silly much?


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