King Sighs

After the 2016 State of the Union bash, attendee Kim Davis talked about being mashed. She said that bigots that call themselves Christians “are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally, with [President Obama’s] agenda.”

The Kentucky clerk was jailed for defying a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Supporters claim she’s a martyr and distort the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to justify their acts.

Todd Starnes said:

Perhaps one day, students of history will read not only letters from a Birmingham jail, but letters from a Kentucky jail.

In defense of Davis, Matt Barber quoted a portion of King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail:

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

King also wrote:

An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself.

King stated that, “as a minister of the gospel,” he was “disappointed with the Church”:

I had the strange feeling when I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery several years ago that we would have the support of the white Church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be some of our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

Like Davis, King’s lawbreaking was motivated by deeply held religious convictions. Davis appears to practice a type of Christianity unlike King’s, however.

While people with beliefs actually contrary to King’s view him as a role model, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the movement to make a national holiday honoring King began just days after his assassination in 1968 but didn’t succeed until 1983 and the first observance of the holiday didn’t happen until 1986. In 1999, New Hampshire became the last to enact a state holiday. In 2000, South Carolina established Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday, the final state to do so. The entire process took 32 years.