I woke up this morning to some Tweets that left me wondering if the words of Martin Luther King mean anything today. The tweet that started it was from NBC's NFL analyst Tony Dungy, who has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for an anti-gay organization and has said he opposes equality for gay Americans. "Remembering Martin Luther King Jr." was the Tweet, which linked to a column in which he wrote:
As I have gotten older, I have only developed more admiration for Dr. King. He made a great personal sacrifice to champion the cause of many people who didn’t have the benefit of equal rights and protection.
Let's be clear. Dungy fights against the "equal rights and protection" of many people, yet says he admires King for fighting for the "equal rights and protection" of many people. What's the disconnect?
For Dungy, and sadly for many, King simply stood for racial equality. He didn't intend to bring about justice for gay people. When King talks about "all God's children," apparently Dungy thinks that gay people aren't God's children. Dungy talks about the scope of King's reach...
And it hit me very hard because I felt he had done so much–and not just for African Americans, but for our country as well.
Interesting that he would single out African-Americans but wouldn't mention other races or sexual orientations. Why? Again, to so many King simply stood for the freedom of one racial group, not all people. As Dungy talks about equality for the whole country, does he not believe gay people are part of this great country?
As his column goes on, he further reveals my conclusion:
Today, my wife Lauren and I have to remind our children of what it was like when Dr. King was alive and how he and others had to fight for things we now take for granted. Things like going to school in the neighborhood where they live, eating at any restaraunt [sic] they like, shopping at any store they happen to go into–these are things that never even cross their mind. So it comes as a shock to them when we tell them there was a time when that wasn’t the case and that people like Dr. King helped bring about change.
All of his examples reference the horrible struggle that many Black Americans faced in the 1960s (and sadly, some of whom still face it today). They also reflect a head-in-the-ground approach to equality: "If I've got equality, if I can coach in the NFL and get paid millions to talk on TV, then everybody's fine."
It's sad to me that someone who has openly fought against equality for so many Americans would invoke the name of Martin Luther King Jr. on this day of remembrance.