Jan 192013 6 Responses

Preacher King and the Separation of Church and State

Why does America have a national holiday to recognize the contributions of its greatest preacher? Shouldn’t we be concerned about the blurring of lines between church and state? Shouldn’t the ACLU be warning us? Shouldn’t the atheist be protesting?

Martin Luther King, Jr was a preacher. The face of the American equal rights movement was not a politician, but a preacher whose call to action was born from the Christian understanding that there is a Creator whose moral laws echo in the heart of humanity.

King preached America toward equality. A half-century later, America shows its gratitude by celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

As a Christian, I’m happy to celebrate this day, but

  • Why isn’t there an uproar from those who believe that values are personal choices which should have no say in American politics?
  • Isn’t it hypocrisy for a person to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr while at the same time trying to push the Christian voice out of the national conversation?

The reason there is no outcry at the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr Day is because deep within the consciousness of humanity we know that every person is created equal. We know Preacher King was right. While there has always been and will always be dissenters, the vast majority of people believe: a) that humanity is unique above all creation; and b) that all people are created equal.

The struggle for those outside the Christian faith is in explaining why this is true. Apart from God, how are these truths explained?

If we remove Preacher King’s Creator from his argument, his propositions no longer stand. Without God we are left with two choices. Either:

A) Humanity is not special among creation so I am no more valuable than my dog.


B) All people are not created equal so value is determined by what I can contribute to society (i.e. the rich are more important than the poor or the able are more important than the disabled). (See: Children, Disability, and Abortion)

The reason there is no outcry over the blurring of separation of church and state regarding Martin Luther King, Jr is because to support his argument we need God. He knew this need. He knew it was the only logical argument to make. He preached truth and the truth set us free.

I celebrate Preacher King because I believe Preacher King. We have a Creator. We are created in His image. Humanity stands distinct, above creation. And all of humanity is created equal.

If you don’t believe in a Creator, why do you believe in equality among people? If you believe in equality among people, why isn’t there equality across all species?


6 Responses to Preacher King and the Separation of Church and State
  1. Chris Reply

    >>Why isn’t there an uproar from those who believe that values are personal choices which should have no say in American politics?

    Who is saying this, exactly? And why are you *wanting* there to be an uproar? It sounds like you are trying to pick a fight.

    >>Isn’t it hypocrisy for a person to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr while at the same time trying to push the Christian voice out of the national conversation?

    No, he was not celebrated necessarily for his “Christian values,” but for leading the civil rights movement and becoming a martyr for that cause.

    >>If we remove Preacher King’s Creator from his argument, his propositions no longer stand. Without God we are left with two choices. Either:

    Nope, false dichotomy. Besides, plenty of Christians have used their faith and their interpretation of the Bible to justify inequality, and thus we have had slavery, genocide, and oppression of others. One’s belief in god does not necessarily equate to a belief in human equality. Historically, the opposite has often been the case. Heck, even the Jews considered themselves god’s chosen people, and were commanded by their god to annihilate all other people groups in the Promised Land.

    King isn’t honored with a national holiday because he held to a personal belief in god, but because he was a leader of a peaceful movement that sought to end institutional racism in his beloved country. And that institutional racism was a direct result of American slavery, which was more often than not justified by the Bible. In truth, people use the bible, or any holy text, to justify their behavior, whether good or bad, and interpretations change with the times, not the other way around. Here is a good article on the subject: http://bigthink.com/daylight-atheism/the-mystical-dogma-of-human-equality

    A key quote from the article, which I think answers your last few questions: “Most people, when asked why slavery was wrong, would say that slaves were human beings with the same intellectual capacity, the same desires and dreams as everyone else. In other words, abolition came about for secular reasons based on human welfare.”

    • Kevin Reply

      To claim slavery was ended because of a secular movement ignores much of history.

      Here is what I struggle to understand and where you can help me:

      From your point of view, how do you argue equality?

      I know how to argue it from a theistic perspective. That’s not to say everyone who believes in God has always practiced it, but I understand where the point comes from. What I don’t understand is how an atheist can make that point.


  2. […] is another gift Christianity can bring to the world. This may be why it took a preacher to create ... kevinathompson.com/white-man-knows-racism
  3. DD_smith Reply

    The answer is :
    A) a human is no more valuable than a dog. That does not devalue the human, it just brings all creatures to the same value. You are simply preaching yet another form of bigotry by proclaiming the superiority of your group. What has the human ever done that was “good”? I would suggest that humanity is an ugly scar on the face of what is otherwise paradise…. That being Earth. If you believe paradise is elsewhere, then may you get to yours quickly and begin your permanent vacation while those of us who value all life equally do what we can to return it to serenity.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      DD, thanks for the read. Sorry we disagree. I would love to see if you truly live out your ideology in your life. If every creature is equal, be careful about swatting that fly.

  4. Jimmy Ipock Reply

    This sounds like the moral argument just reformatted. There are fantastic and reasonable explanations from science that explain this very well. Once you try to offer something supernatural as a explanation then you’re only adding unneeded complexity to the question.

    Where did this God get his morals? We shouldn’t offer answers to questions when the answer being proposed doesn’t even have good evidence to support it.

    Are bonobo apes more important to other bonobo apes than humans being? You better believe it.

    The bible was used by some to justify and support slavery. The bible was also pretty clear in condoning slavery. Clearly, most human beings hold other human beings at a higher level than the bible or “god” does. The “God” of the bible cared more about people not mixing different types of fiber together than people owning other people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.