Would Martin Luther King Jr. have fought for same-sex marriage rights?

Although the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is well known for his leadership in the civil rights movement, an upcoming book is set to make the controversial claim that he would have been an advocate for gay marriage. Those shocking claims, however, squarely contradict what King's own daughter has said about him in the past, and even King's own words, which have described homosexuality as a "problem."

Published 19 January 2012  |  
The ongoing debate was recently sparked by Michael Long, author of the upcoming book Keeping It Straight? Martin Luther King, Jr., Homosexuality, and Gay Rights, who feels the civil rights leader would have sided with those advocating for gay marriage. However, most do not believe King would have petitioned for homosexual marriage.

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, told The Christian Post that in studying King's speeches, he could not conceive the civil rights leader heading a gay rights movement.

"King was a man sent by God to do His will and there is no way that you can have that type of relationship with God and accept wrong as right," Peterson told CP. "In the scriptures it says that homosexuality is an abomination against God."

However, the author of the controversial new book, Long, has decided to assert that King would have been a gay activist.

"Dr. King never publicly welcomed gays at the front gate of his beloved community. But he did leave behind a key for them – his belief that each person is sacred, free and equal to all to others," Long said, attempting to infer that universal freedom and equality would equate to an acceptance of homosexuality.

In a CNN report, the author recently highlighted a 1958 letter published in Ebony magazine. In the letter, King responded to an anonymous boy who was confused about his homosexuality.

"I am a boy," the anonymous person wrote. "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?"

King, responded to the boy by calling his feelings toward the same gender a "problem," but stating that he could find a "solution."

"The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired," King responded in the 1958 column. "You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it."

However, despite King's clear reference to homosexuality as a "problem" and something "culturally acquired," others still choose to believe that King would have supported gay activists in today's era simply because he loved all people. The Rev. C.T. Vivian has expressed the belief that King would have had sympathy for the gay cause. Vivian, who worked with King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the late civil rights leader loved all people of God.

"Martin was a theologian," Vivian said in a CNN report. "Martin starts with the fact that God loves everybody, and all men and all women were created by God. He based his whole philosophy on God's love for all people."

However, most others do not come to the conclusion that just because King believed in God's love towards all people, that this would mean he would have supported gay activist agendas, such as the push to redefine marriage to include homosexuals. The generally held conservative Christian viewpoint is that God's love is indeed for everybody, but that homosexuality is described in the Bible as a sin, and that God's universal love would not equate to the acceptance of sinful actions, such as homosexual acts. King's own daughter has openly taken a strong stance against gay activism. In 2005, the Rev. Bernice King led a march to her father's grave, asking for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Bernice, who once attended Bishop Eddie Long's church, announced that she would begin her own ministry after a homosexual scandal developed in Long's congregation.

"I'm going to launch a ministry. I'm not calling it a church right now," she said during an interview with Atlanta radio station Praise 102.5 last year. "What God is showing me doesn't look like what people are accustomed to."

At a conference in New Zealand, Bernice spoke about her father's position on homosexuality saying, "I know deep down in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions."

Although the Rev. Peterson did not know King in the same way Bernice did, he acknowledged that the civil rights leader would most likely disapprove of the acts homosexuals were committing.

"Nothing indicates that he would think homosexuality is from God, normal and something that we should take on as right," Peterson told CP. "He wouldn't tell us to hate homosexuals, but to show them how to overcome sin."

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