Legacy Theft

Richard Hoste:

I would bet that if [Martin Luther King, Jr.] were alive today he would see affirmative action, other black supremacist legislation and big government in general as just reparations, as blacks in general tend to. But what the man’s true ideology was is irrelevant.

Latin American socialists claim Jesus as one of their own, as do American Christian fundamentalists.  His teachings have been used to justify everything from anarcho-capitalism to communism.  What creed would the Savior believe in if he were resurrected today? The point is it doesn’t matter what Jesus would think about progressive taxation from a political perspective, but what you can convince people he would want.

Hoste has identified an important point: there’s a difference between a person and his actions or ideas, and certainly in the way his legacy is employed.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was not perfect, but it’s OK.

For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. is undisputably an important historical figure for what he represents… but the man was a minister that cheated on his wife. Beyond this, he was a blatant plagiarist. These despicable behaviors could arguably disqualify MLK’s legitimacy as a leader of any community, and certainly as a heralded historical martyr… but no one seriously expects to see the MLK discredited. Indeed, far too much is invested in his maintenance on a pedestal for that to change.

As an alternative to attempting to ignore history, it’s time to recognize that the MLK did some bad bad things, but that it simply doesn’t matter. To recognize his indiscretions isn’t to somehow discredit his ideas or his dreams. We have a dream because he had a dream. It isn’t his dream anymore. It’s ours. Martin Luther King Jr. is dead, so he doesn’t get to have anymore dreams, and people who would co-opt his legacy to lend legitimacy for their own dreams are being dishonest.

What Would Jesus Do?

The same is the case with Jesus, I’m afraid. More than with the MLK, there are people who do things “in the name of Christ” whose actions, were it not for that desperate grasp at legitimacy, are totally unacceptable. Even if a person is doing something motivated by good, a third party would do well to keep in mind that when a person invokes the name Jesus Christ, he is saying something about himself, and is saying nothing at all about Jesus Christ or what he would want or do.

META: The road to hell, founding fathers’ intentions, living document, natural law, bible as fiction, the Book of Eli, Richard Hoste is an idiot, etc.

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