Martin Luther King Jr. 

I really like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
I know we’re taught to like him all throughout public school, but he’s one of those people who I imagine I’d still like even if the curriculum didn’t overflow with praise.

And I get weirdly nostalgic around his holiday because the world is so full of people who try to imitate him instead of realizing that his greatness relied chiefly upon him imitating Christ. To explain, for most of my life I’ve been a student of history and I believe that too often we study acts that make a character in isolation from what forms that character in the first place. For example, Martin Luther King was a minister which means he was familiar with ideas of heaven and the Christian teaching of loving thy neighbor because all are equal in the eyes of God. He was also a Baptist, which I know means he read his Bible. And in the Bible Jesus literally overcomes the world not by dominating it as he could have done, but by choosing heaven over it every single moment of His life even unto death.

I bring this up not because I have some overarching narrative agenda that I’m trying to brainwash you with, but because so many movements that attempt to imitate Martin Luther King Jr. come up woefully short and I would argue that the main reason for that is the misunderstanding of Dr. King himself. Because I would also argue that Dr. King didn’t set out to simply win political rights from a government or garner the adulation of the world. I truly think that he believed that when he died and went to heaven and saw a white person standing next to him he would not be looking not at his superior but at his brother. I believe he recognized this mysterious Divine reality and held on to this truth in his heart throughout his life, and that it was this vision that motivated him.

And I think Dr. King was so determined because he knew that the only thing that can truly overcome the world is the only thing that can truly overcome the nature of man, love. Perfect love. Love in the face of hatred. Love in the face of adversity. Love that provides dignity in scenes that are undignified and makes all mankind brothers and sisters.  And it was Dr. King’s witness to that love that is at the heart of the true Civil Rights Movement, and all civil rights movements throughout history. Because the world does not grant civil rights. The world deals in power, wealth, domination, and servitude. It is love that grants peace, freedom, and the universal brotherhood that comes from being not just citizens of earth, but citizens of heaven. And it is the world’s recognition of that immutable reality that truly changes it for the better, because it is in that act of concession that the world becomes a little more like the heavens, and when we see that happen we remember who we are.

And modern protestors, if they even deserve that title, want the glory without the guts. They take the shell of what is good, while missing the center. They self-importantly champion those the world loves and oppress those whom the world hates. They champion feelings over reason, relativism over absolute truth, and spirituality over religion. They champion not universal love and brotherhood, but a sterile equality, simplifying Dr. King’s message that God creates us equal and His love renders us brothers and sisters to instead say just that Dr. King had a dream that all people should have equal rights under the law, and this does the man a gross disservice. It maximizes a part of his mission at the expense of the whole and turns him from a champion of the heavens to a champion of the times, from a victor who overcame the power of the world to a victim who successfully managed to get a little power back from the system.

And I think he deserves to be remembered not for what he gained, but for the inspiring example of love that he so freely and equally gave away.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Equality for all (except you)

Hello again peasants! (I had a history professor who used to begin every class that way. I miss him and his frequent Monty Python references.)

I’ve been blogging for a short time now and while I’m still a very small deal (if I’m any kind of deal in the first place) I do get a lot of interaction from this website- so thanks for making that possible with your readership! I genuinely do appreciate it. I still find it incredibly humbling, even after these many months. I kind of can’t comprehend that as many people would read my stuff as they have, so thanks again- really.

Anyway, today I wanted to pay tribute to a comment that someone posted to my article that I just can’t get over. It was in response to Bad Feminism and the comment was this: “The ‘political movement’ you’re referring to is called equality.” The person’s misunderstanding of my article fascinated me because the entire misinterpretation hinged on our differing opinions as to the definition of the word equality. And while this commentator tried to enlighten me to his definition as you saw above, he missed the point of my article expressly because he did not catch the distinction in our definitions.

To elaborate, we were discussing feminism and we disagreed about the nature of the feminist movement. The commentator sees feminism as a political movement for equality between men and women that makes fantastic strides for my gender whereas I see feminism as an evolving cultural movement with its roots in political equality that undermines authentic feminity.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, his views can best be summarized by the graphic below:

ge

And my views are closer in line with this artsy internet graphic:

What he did not understand/care to realize was that I’m not against giving women the right to vote or giving them equal pay or giving them access to an education because I think each person is born with an inherent, God-given worth that far transcends politics and makes no distinctions.

However, I find it offensive that a woman’s worth is now subject to judgment by worldly standards of power, the types of power which have traditionally been held by men. By that I mean I can’t help but notice that a woman’s societal worth is measured in terms whether or not she is as successful as a man in doing whatever a man does.  It places women at a disadvantage right from the start because it automatically assumes that men are inherently superior to women and that women “bridge that gap” by successfully imitating men and/or surpassing men entirely in any arena where competition is plausible. That is why my masters degree in elementary education was once laughed off by a feminist speaker at a lecture I attended, because women have always been good at the whole “children thing,” and if I wanted to truly assert my intellectual prowess I ought to do something more, in a word, masculine like business, science, or politics (although she didn’t say masculine, I believe her word was empowering). What she essentially meant was that her view of women was to see them as unequal and inadequate men, and her solution to this was to encourage women to behave like better men than men. Therefore, her insult to my studies was to be viewed as a compliment in this bizarre light, because she essentially believed that I had the power within me to transcend my lowly womanhood (of children and childbearing) and succeed in the world of men, thereby validating us all.

I prefer the direct approach of entirely rejecting that view for the utterly infuriating nonsense that it is because not only is her conclusion drawn from dubious logic, it is bad theology (might I recommend Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body because he explains it better than I could ever hope to). And I have always viewed men and women as complementary halves to a beautiful whole picture rather than two separate whole pictures competing for the same position of prestige on the wall.

Moreover, the true definition of equality is hard to measure because it is, in essence, the measure of two things being equal, and beyond mere mathematics this can be a hard concept to quantify. So best of luck to my opponent in this debate because I am inclined to believe he will never achieve the equality he strives for because life is not static and equality is. And if we insist on politicizing something so abstract, then with every change that life inevitably brings, the moment that one gender is perceived to have an advantage over the other the messy process of state mandated equality will begin again. The protests will ensue, demands of the injured party will be given, and the whole cycle of negotiations and political rhetoric and social media outrage will carry on for an indefinite amount of time as each side grows more acrimonious. And the more I see the ideal of equality unfold the more I see it play into a culture of victimhood where the disadvantaged seek not equality but a sort of revenge against those who once had an advantage, which is also not equality, merely a reversal.

I know my opponent may have the best of intentions when he espouses ideals of equality for all, but I still can’t help but wonder what continuing down this path will truly accomplish. Because I could tell from his condescension that he had already written me off as an opponent to his cause and was more interested in demonizing my dissent by highlighting my ignorance (the only conceivable explanation for my dissent in his mind) than he was in listening to me, and that is the tragedy of modern politics and of most modern debates.

And with these observations in mind, it is easy for me to discern that I will always prefer the path of Christian love of God and neighbor to the path of retribution because purely human justice has its limitations, and I pledge my life not to human ideals of justice but to Divine mercy.

I Protest Your Protest

So just to set the record straight, I don’t find college students or their recent campus demonstrations offensive. I find them slightly frustrating, but that is not the definition of offensive and this distinction is very important.

A television show depicting an abortion to the tune of Silent Night a month before a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of their Savior is offensive. Having people disagree with you or encountering a group of people with whom you disagree is not offensive, it’s part of life.

With this clarification made, let’s proceed.

After writing the article I miss debate I read another really great article from a man who also misses debate and went a bit deeper than I did in discussing American political life as a whole with special attention to what is happening on college campuses. And I wanted to look past the raw emotionalism and narratives of oppression and talk about the implications of this recent social shift.

Everywhere I turn I see the trend of demonizing dissent. The idea that it is dissent and disagreement alone that are responsible for the violence in the world, that the problem is not the behavior of the individual or a collective group, but the freedom of thought in the first place. In other words, now it is not enough to respect opinions that differ from your own. ptNow you have to conform, you have to agree with the larger narrative put forth by the media, the state, and the cultural elite who encompass the public sphere. In fact, the mob style justice and puritanical call for discipleship to these worldly dogmas of tolerance, equality, moral relativism, and a secular social code rather like the manual used at the beginning of the Lego Movie really get to me because, not only are these protests waged by college students around the country, they stifle true democracy. What they are instead promoting is a tyranny disguised as a democracy that is nonetheless audacious enough to claim it is a better version of that which it seeks to imitate. 

And not a single student raised their voice to question the sweeping entrance of this imposter. Perhaps that is truly the problem of Yale, that rather than declare this movement an enemy of liberty and reason they believed the movement to be part of a cause so infallible that they deemed reason no longer necessary in the first place, rendering debate a moot point. They substituted reason with representations of their movement and because the representations were pleasing to them they looked no further, coaxed into believing the lie that because there is no truth there is virtue in passionate commitment to whatever is true for them. They welcomed this new train of “thought” with open arms and diminished the light of liberty with the hostility of a passionate mob inflamed against all those dare defy the mighty cause they have taken upon themselves to join in representing.  

And this is progressThis is the visionary and sweeping change we’ve all been longing for? What exactly are we progressing towards?

I’m not sure I want to be around to see it because freedom is unwelcome in this new environment that seeks not a Christian love of God and truth, but a conformity to a new secular authority represented by the state. And if this is allowed to happen the first to be targeted will be anything deemed as opposition to this movement, which will include one of the things I love most, the thing that gives me both the tools of reason and the mercy required for love, the freedom of religion. And I cannot ignore my firm belief that whatever good this progressive agenda promises as the end result of their efforts there will be no true victory for anyone.