By Walter B. Hoye, II
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King Jr., (I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition.)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15th, 1929 — April 4th, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1957 he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1963 he led the March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through nonviolent civil disobedience. On April 4th, 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1977 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1986 the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday and in 2004 Dr. King received the Congressional Gold Medal.
When we think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we often forget he was a Pro-Life Republican (1) and a Conservative Southern Baptist Preacher (2). As we honor his legacy, let us hear from Dr. King, the Pastor, in his own words, regarding: Parenting, Premarital Sex, Homosexuality and Abortion.
Below are some excerpts from Dr. King’s 1957-1958 monthly advice column for Ebony Magazine: (3)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Parenting
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” — Deuteronom 6:6-9 (New King James Version)
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6 (New King James Version)
QUESTION: I was in a home the other day where a three year old child read the riot act to his mother. The mother took it with a sheepish smile. This, I am told, is permissiveness. It seems to me that what modern children need is a large dose of parental permissiveness applied to their backsides. Do you agree?
MLK: It is quite true that many modern parents go too far in allowing their children to express themselves with hardly a modicum of discipline. … This almost “lunatic fringe” of modern child care has been responsible for most strange and fantastic methods of child rearing in many American homes. … The child must realize that there are rules of the game which he did not make and that he cannot break with impunity.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Premarital Sex
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” — 1st Corinthians 6:18-20 (New King James Version)
QUESTION: I was raised in a Christian environment. My father placed great stress on premarital virginity. I am 29. Of late, I have begun to doubt the validity of his teaching. … Is he right?
MLK: I think you should hold firm to the principle of premarital virginity. The problems created by premarital sex relationships are far greater than the problems created by premarital virginity. The suspicion, fears, and guilt feelings generated by premarital sex relations are contributing factors to the present breakdown of the family. Real men still respect purity and virginity within women. If a man breaks a relationship with you because you would not allow him to participate in the sexual act, you can be assured that he did not love you from the beginning.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Homosexuality
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” — Leviticus 18:22 (New King James Version)
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” — 1st Corinthians 6:9-11 (New King James Version)
QUESTION: My problem is different from the ones most people have. I am a boy, but I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?
MLK: Your problem is not at all an uncommon one. However, it does require careful attention. The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired. … You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Abortion
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” — Jeremiah 1:5 (New King James Version)
“The Negro cannot win … if he is willing to sell the future of his children for his personal and immediate comfort and safety.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (“The Living King”, Ebony, Vol. 41, No. 3, January 1986, Page 63.)
QUESTION: About two years ago, I was going with a young lady who became pregnant. I refused to marry her. As a result, I was directly responsible for a crime. It was not until a month later that I realized the awful thing I had done. I begged her to forgive me, to come back, but she has not answered my letters. The thing stays on my mind. What can I do? I have prayed for forgiveness.
MLK: You have made a mistake. … One can never rectify a mistake until he admits that a mistake has been made. Now that you have prayed for forgiveness and acknowledged your mistake, you must turn your vision to the future. … Now that you have repented, don’t concentrate on what you failed to do in the past, but what you are determined to do in the future.
We Will Not Forget
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., (“Strength to Love,” Published in 1963.)
As constant as the northern star, Dr. King’s life and legacy point us towards righteousness. We will not forget the biblical values he stood for, fought for and died for. As he stood in the gap between promise and reality, fighting for life and liberty, today the Black Pro-Life Coalition (4) too stands in the gap between life and death, fighting for the life and liberty of pre-born children, fighting to end abortion by restoring a Culture of Life and the Foundation of Family in the Black community.
Personally, From Me To You
“When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here?, 1967.
My MLK Favorite Quote: “Ultimately, a genuine leader is not a succor for consensus but a molder of consensus. And on some positions cowardice ask the question is it safe? Expediency asks the question is it politics? Vanity asks the question is it popular? The conscience asks the question is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politics nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from his Grosse Pointe High School speech (5) made twenty-four minutes from my home in Detroit, Michigan at 8:00 P.M. (EDT) on Thursday, March 14th, 1968. Three weeks later King would be gunned down while relaxing on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel.
Dr. King, personally, I have benefited from your work, I have been moved by your words, I have been strengthened by your death, I am in your debt of love, (6) I will never quit, “I ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round,” (7) I will believe in the impossible, I “realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” I see the value of “redemptive suffering” and I embrace the principles of nonviolent direct action, (8) I will “trust in the LORD with all [my] heart; and lean not to my own understanding.” (9) I know “from whence cometh my help.” (10) I will “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” (11) I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, I will speak for those who have no voice, I will “keep [myself] unspotted from the world,” (12) and I will never, ever forget.
Brothers, we really need to talk.
01. “MLK Was a Republican”, Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tells how her uncle and family were and still are republicans
02. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
03. Sharman, J. Michael, Editorial Columnist for the Culpeper Star-Exponent
04. National Black Pro-Life Coalition
05. Grosse Pointe Historical Society, Dr. Martin Luther King, Grosse Pointe High School Speech
06. Romans 13:8, King James Version
07. This was an important song during The Civil Rights Movement in the Southern U.S.A. during the 1950’s and 1960’s
08. The King Center’s Glossary of Nonviolence
09. Proverbs 3:5,6, King James Version
10. Psalm 121:1,2, King James Version
11. James 1:27, King James Version