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Martin Luther King III Defends Glenn Beck’s Right to Hold Rally; Then Seems to Put Beck In His Place

Reported by Guest Blogger - August 27, 2010 -

By Aunty Em

With all the media abuzz about Glen Beck’s upcoming weekend “Restoring Honor” rally in the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech—aka “I Have A Nightmare” rally to many African-Americans concerned about dishonoring Martin Luther Kink Jr.’s legacy—it was a surprise to read in the Washington Post earlier this week (08-25-10) a defense of Beck’s right to hold the rally by his eldest son.

Martin Luther King III writes in an OpEd piece called Still striving for MLK's dream in the 21st century:

My father championed free speech. He would be the first to say that those participating in Beck's rally have the right to express their views. But his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination, whether directed at race, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or political beliefs. He envisioned a world where all people would recognize one another as sisters and brothers in the human family. Throughout his life he advocated compassion for the poor, nonviolence, respect for the dignity of all people and peace for humanity.

However, it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to realize the rest of the essay appears to speak directly to Glenn Beck, without mentioning his name:

He [King] did, however, wholeheartedly embrace the "social gospel." His spiritual and intellectual mentors included the great theologians of the social gospel Walter Rauschenbush and Howard Thurman. He said that any religion that is not concerned about the poor and disadvantaged, "the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them[,] is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial." In his "Dream" speech, my father paraphrased the prophet Amos, saying, "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

Ben Dimiero at Media Matters puts a finer focus on the differences between MLK’s vision and Glenn Beck’s myopia. In a long report titled Martin Luther King Would Have Been on Glenn Beck's Chalkboard, Dimiero compares and contrasts King’s words with what Beck claims is the King legacy in America:

Beck's discussions of [his own] rally's supposedly crucial role in American history have included frequent invocations of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular. According to Beck, the rally will "reclaim the civil rights movement" because "Martin Luther King's dream" has "been distorted" and "massively perverted" by progressives. In attacking the people he claims are "perverting" King's legacy (i.e. progressives), Beck has suggested that he and his followers are the "inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement." In Beck's words, they will "take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place."

Beck is completely rewriting history.

King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported "social justice"; called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work"; and stated that we must address whether we need to "restructure the whole of American society" -- all ideas that Beck has vilified.

Beck accuses progressives of trying to rewrite history and implores his followers to read original sources, but a review of King's own words clearly shows that Beck's insistence that he and his followers are the custodians of King's dream and legacy is nothing more than a lie.

This is a very long essay with many quotes from Martin Luther King, the respected leader of the ‘60’s Civil Rights Movement, set up against the words of Glenn Beck, who still holds the title of 2009’s Misinformer of the Year. It’s well worth reading the whole thing.

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