Throckmorton on Peroutka’s Bizarre Distortion of MLK Jr.

I’ve noted before the absolutely bizarre claim by Christian Reconstructionist Michael Peroutka that Martin Luther King was not an advocate of civil rights, particularly of anti-discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act. Warren Throckmorton is spending this whole week posting information about MLK that disproves that utterly ludicrous claim. He quotes this from Jake MacAuley, who used to be Robin to Bradlee Dean’s Batman and is now with Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution:

It appears to me that this concept of “civil rights” was a gross distortion of his work. This bastardized version of truth would actually only serve to compound power into the already corrupted task master, the human heart, or more specifically stated the human occupied civil government institutions.

At one time in our history, we looked to God’s Word to determine what was right and wrong. This was a fixed and certain standard.

Having jettisoned this fixed, objective standard, government tramples our God-given rights and now pretends to issue what it calls “civil rights”.

But “civil rights” are make-believe. Real rights come from the Creator.

In Ferguson, Missouri we have witnessed the folly and the futility of make-believe “civil rights”.

And he quotes an essay by a Calvinist theologian that is published on the Institute on the Constitution website, which says that anti-discrimination laws are un-Biblical:

But the moral crux of the problem of discrimination is the discrimination against unalterable characteristics. Is it moral to discriminate against unalterable characteristics regarding which a man is helpless? Here is where the race problem becomes so sensitive. A man with a white skin cannot do anything about it; a man with a black skin cannot do anything about it. Why discriminate against (choose against) a man for that for which he has no remedy, for an unalterable trait that is unattractive to you and maybe others? Here is where cruel injustice appears immorally to intrude itself into the situation. But is it injustice?

If the writer has made an earnest effort to carry a tune and keep time (which he has) but is unable (which happens to be the fact), is an injustice done h i [him] because he is “discriminated” against by a choral society which discriminates against a trait he had which is unalterable for h i [him]? Of course not. Justice does not consist in denying reality or the facts of life; injustice is not identical with recognizing reality (that I cannot sing).

And so we hold – in the name of happiness, and in the name of liberty, and in the name of the right to discriminate – that there is no more “injustice” in discriminating against an unalterable trait than against an alterable trait; neither is an injustice. For us, every discrimination is valid except a discrimination involving injustice.

So in order to argue that MLK was on their side, they have to argue that MLK opposed anti-discrimination legislation, a position so inane that no one could possibly entertain it with a straight face. Take this passage from the famous I Have a Dream speech:

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”.

And of course, MLK was a huge advocate of the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The famous image of LBJ signing that act into law, of course, has MLK standing right behind him:

Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_July_2,_1964

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  • jws1

    Conservatives know that they were, and are, the villians in the drama of the civil rights movement. They don’t possess the integrity to admit that, much less change for the better, so they lie about the past – their role, the roles of adversaries. Conservatives tend to be intellectually lazy and it’s just easier to lie, lie loudly, lie often, and claim victimhood when said lies are challenged, exposed.

  • matty1
  • Trebuchet

    @2: Cue the Obama-blaming in 3…2…1…

  • starskeptic

    “At one time in our history, we looked to God’s Word to determine what was right and wrong. This was a fixed and certain standard.”

    I’ll concede one thing – it was fixed…

  • dmcclean

    “At one time in our history, we looked to God’s Word to determine what was right and wrong. This was a fixed and certain standard.”

    If you make this claim, you really need to pick a year and a place where this supposedly happened, so that we know precisely which outrageously immoral counterexamples to point you too, because the list is just too damn long otherwise.

  • dmcclean

    Starskeptic, it was only fixed if you fix one exact moment in time, over the sweep of time people have claimed that every damn thing imaginable was the “fixed and certain” will of god.

  • grumpyoldfart

    When I was a kid back in the 1950s we used to laugh at the way the Communists changed their history all the time; airbrushing famous characters into and out of photographs. We also used to laugh at how dumb the Russian people must have been, to fall for all those tricks. And now, here’s 21st century America, at exactly the same level of self-delusion.

    I think you need another “Sputnik Moment” (but I doubt your Christian politicians will ever agree to upgrading your education system).

  • John Pieret

    At one time in our history, we looked to God’s Word to determine what was right and wrong. This was a fixed and certain standard.

    No doubt Peroutka is thinking of his beloved Confederacy, slavery and all, as that time in our history.

  • starskeptic

    dmcclean #6

    Fixed as in “the fix was in” for Xtians…

  • bmiller

    Reconstructionist “thinkers” rely 100% on “magical words” that they (vaguely) define to mean only what they (vaguely) think they mean. An “Institute on the Constitution” uses two magical words-“Institute,” which implies research and serious thought about a topic (LOL) and “Constitution” which as noted above must mean (it is uinclear) the Confederate constitution or maybe the town charter of one of the more dour witch-burning puritan communes??

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    I wonder how long it will be before they decide King was a white guy with a really good tan.

  • lorn

    One of my pet peeves is the claim that God establishes rights. As far as anyone can tell while human argue, fight and war over rights, God has never raised a finger in any rights issue. It is always human beings that establish and enforce, with violence if need be, all rights.