Myth # 2: King was an American patriot, who tried to getAmericans to live up to their founding ideals.
, Roger Cleggwrotethat "There may have been a brief moment when there existed something of a national consensus – a shared vision eloquently articulated in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "IHave a Dream" speech, with deep roots in the American Creed,distilled in our national motto,
E pluribus unum
. Most Americans stillshare it, but by no means all." Many other conservatives haveembraced this idea of an American Creed that built upon Jefferson andLincoln, and was then fulfilled by King and libertarians like ClintBolick and neocons like Bill Bennett.Despite his constant invocations of the Declaration of Independence,King did not have much pride in America’s founding. He believed"our nation was born in genocide," and claimed that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were meaningless for blacks becausethey were written by slave owners.
Myth # 3: King was a Christian activist whose struggle for civilrights is similar to the battles fought by the Christian Right today.
Ralph Reed claims that King’s "indispensable genius" provided "thevision and leadership that renewed and made crystal clear the vitalconnection between religion and politics." He proudly admitted thatthe Christian Coalition "adopted many elements of King’s style andtactics." The pro-life group, Operation Rescue, often compared their struggle against abortion to King’s struggle against segregation. In aspeech entitled
The Conservative Virtues of Dr. Martin Luther King
,Bill BennetdescribedKing, as "not primarily a social activist, he was primarily a minister of the Christian faith, whose faith informed anddirected his political beliefs."Both King’s public stands and personal behavior makes thecomparison between King and the Religious Right questionable.FBI surveillance showed that King had dozens of extramarital affairs.Although many of the pertinent records are sealed, several agents whowatched observed him engage in many questionable acts including buying prostitutes with SCLC money. Ralph Abernathy, who Kingcalled "the best friend I have in the world," substantiated many of these charges in his autobiography,
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down.
It is true that a man’s private life is mostly his business.However, most conservatives vehemently condemned Jesse Jacksonwhen news of his illegitimate son came out, and claimed he was unfitto be a minister.King also took stands that most in the Christian Right would disagreewith. When asked about the Supreme Court’s decision to ban school prayer, King responded,I endorse it. I think it was correct. Contrary to what many havePage 3 of 6Myths of Martin Luther King by Marcus Epstein1/17/2012http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/epstein9.html