One of the worst things about being a dead famous person is the general public's propensity to put words in your mouth to serve their own agendas. It happens all the time with Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and now, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a breathtaking bit of irony, the Coalition of African-American Pastors is set to honor Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore with the newly-created “Letter from a Birmingham Jail Courage Award.” From a press release we received this morning:
April 16, 2015 -Today,Rev. Williams Owens, President and Founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), announced that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore would receive their first ever “Letter from a Birmingham Jail Award” in recognition of Justice Moore’s principled stand in defense of traditional marriage.
The award ceremony will take place on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court, 300 Dexter Avenue on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 11:00 am.
This newly inaugurated “Letter from a Birmingham Jail Courage Award” is granted to honor someone whose dedication to justice and natural law has led to an outstanding act in defense of first principles. There is no one who stands out as more deserving of this recognition than Chief Justice Roy Moore.”
His memorandum on the question of conscience, Constitutionality, and state law is a shining example of the rigorous intellectual analysis that is both necessary and rare in the public square. As such, it deserves that we do what is in our power to help others understand how momentous this stand for principle was.
“Justice Moore is an example for all of us,” stated Rev. William Owens, President of CAAP. “By making a principled and persuasive stand for marriage, Justice Moore has singled himself out as someone who is ready to defend our most cherished values and help lead this new civil rights movement. By his words and actions, he has helped preserve marriage, the family, justice, and the spirit of democracy. This is what it means to be a ‘Letter from Birmingham a Jail Courage Award’ recipient. We hope that his example inspires others to take similar action to defend marriage in their own communities.”
You almost have to marvel at the choice to use MLK's beloved “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” to justify discrimination. Have they actually read it?
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider …
Marriage equality isn't an issue that Dr. King addressed, but his wife, Coretta Scott King did:
“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union,” she said. “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”
If they're planning to make this award an annual event, they better be careful who they award it to. I can see future recipients considering defamation of character lawsuits if they're lumped in with Judge Roy Moore and his brand of “rigorous intellectual analysis.”