King’s Media Makeover
The Left, uncomfortable with God talk, ignores MLK’s deep devotion to Christ.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


Lee Habeeb

Listen carefully to all the celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. this week. Listen very carefully. There is one aspect of King’s life that you won’t hear much about, no matter how hard you try: his devotion to his faith, his devotion to God, his devotion to Jesus Christ.

Listen carefully and you’ll hear endless mention of Doctor Martin Luther King — but little if any mention of the Reverend Martin Luther King.

Listen carefully to all of the video and audio clips, and you’ll hear some of the greatest rhetoric and some of the most passionate speeches of the 20th century. The sound bites and clips will stir your soul. But you won’t hear the references to God that so often filled his speeches, nor will you hear references to the book that most inspired him: the Bible.

You won’t hear references to God because the secular media dislike the Bible so much — and public affirmations of a belief in Christ — that they do everything in their power to redact them.

The Reverend Martin Luther King loved the Bible so much that he got an undergraduate degree in Bible studies. At modern universities, they call it a divinity degree. His Ph.D. was in theology. To King, the Bible wasn’t some strange old book that didn’t have relevance in the modern world. It was God’s word. It was a book that was — and always will be — relevant because it expresses eternal principles and eternal truths.

And you know how much the media hate talking about ideas like eternity. Or principle. Or that really awful word: truth.

In a version of his famous “A Knock at Midnight” speech, which you are unlikely to hear this week, King started with a quote from Luke 11:5–6:

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him”?

Why start a speech about the problems of the 20th century with a parable from an ancient text? King explained why:

Although this parable is concerned with the power of persistent prayer, it may also serve as a basis for our thought concerning many contemporary problems and the role of the church in grappling with them. It is midnight in the parable; it is also midnight in our world, and the darkness is so deep that we can hardly see which way to turn.

He goes on in this remarkable speech to talk about the marvels of science, but also its limits:

But alas! Science cannot now rescue us, for even the scientist is lost in the terrible midnight of our age.

Toward the middle of the speech, King condemns moral relativism:

Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes and the customs of a particular community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein’s theory of relativity, which properly described the physical universe, to the moral and ethical realm. . . . This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens.

Why don’t the media showcase this dimension of King? After all, his commitment to equality and his commitment to social justice were driven by the same spirit: the Holy Spirit.

Why don’t we see or hear the video clips of his religious speeches, even though they are easy to find, thanks to YouTube? Because secular liberals — and the mainstream media that are the megaphone for the secular Left — loves to secularize the sacred. They love to remove King’s source of inspiration — his love for God — and reduce it to something more earthly, such as his desire for social justice.