One of the hallmarks of wingnut thinking is that they often make arguments that you simply can’t believe that they really believe. How can they not see the glaring false premises, we wonder. Here’s a perfect example from Bryan Fischer, claiming that Martin Luther King didn’t believe in separation of church and state. Why? Because he talked about God.
King launched the Montgomery bus boycott on that day, December 5, 1955.
Horror of horrors, his politically-charged was delivered not in an arena, not in a hotel conference room, not in a public plaza, but in a church. And a Baptist church at that, Montgomery’s Holt Baptist Church.
While talking about his distinctly political agenda – equal treatment under the law for all regardless of race – Dr. King could not stop talking about God, Jesus, and Christianity. If the ACLU weren’t such blatant hypocrites, they would have hauled Dr. King into court in the middle of his speech for violating their precious and completely mythical separation of church and state.
Seriously Bryan, you can’t see the difference here? By no one’s possible reckoning could a minister talking about God in a church violate the separation of church and state. You simply can’t be so stupid as to not see the difference; if you were, you wouldn’t be able to dress yourself or operate a car, for crying out loud. This is a studied, intentional cluelessness. He has to know he’s peddling bullshit; he also has to know that his followers will lap it up.
Bottom line: Martin Luther King did not believe for a single moment that there is some kind of separation between church and state. And neither should we.
In 1965, King was interviewed by Playboy and was asked about the Supreme Court’s then-recent rulings forbidding mandatory Bible reading and prayer in schools, rulings that Fischer and his anti-separationist authoritarians continue to rant about today. His reply:
“I endorse it. I think it was correct. Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision. They have been motivated, I think, by little more than the wish to embarrass the Supreme Court. When I saw Brother Wallace going up to Washington to testify against the decision at the congressional hearings, it only strengthened my conviction that the decision was right.”
Fischer’s only “evidence” that King did not support separation of church and state was that he talked about God a lot, something that is completely irrelevant to the question. Once again, the far right tries to invent a whole new Martin Luther King, one in their image. But history and reality just won’t budge.