Alveda King speaks at Glenn Beck’s 8/28 Rally

by V

Let me say that I respect the gist of Alveda King’s speech at Glenn Beck’s rally, which was held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. She (and her uncle, the Rev King Jr.) are both right when they say that a prejudice against any person is a prejudice against all people. That the “check” her uncle spoke of has not yet been made good.

We are closer to the dream than before, but we are not there yet.

However, I’m not sure where Alveda King comes from when she talks about the “womb wars.” I don’t believe that it tears at the fabric of our society. Our freedoms make us stronger. As women, we need to have control over our bodies. We should not be forced to carry a child that we do not want just because some people want to control our bodies for us. In the words of a good friend, we should not be forced to “give life support” to something we do not want to.

Forcing a woman to carry a baby to full term punishes her for having sex. Though I advocate contraception, I acknowledge that any birth control device has a fail rate. Lack of proper sex education exacerbates the fail rate. When those failures do happen, women should not be forced to be punished for the rest of our lives because of a missed pill or a slipped Nuva Ring.

Sex out of wedlock does not make a woman a slut. When policymakers insist banning abortions is a moral course of action, what they really mean to say is that women seeking to terminate a pregnancy should be forced to lie in a bed they’ve made.

Punishing a woman for having sex is a form of oppression. Abortion is not murder. A fetus has no awareness or sense of pain. The shape of the fetus does not grant it personhood. Science does not support the view that life begins at conception.

By criminalizing abortion on any level, we take a huge backward step. The best way to decrease abortion rates is to add more comprehensive age-appropriate sex education in schools and to allow legal access to contraception.  This will promote responsible sex.

Abortions are never made on a whim. They’re the result of painstaking decisions on the part of the women who have them. Though abortion is a protected right under federal law, nobody is forcing anyone to have one. There are other options, and those choices are there. Abortion is just one of many  of these, but we discount it at our own peril.

Ms King went on to discuss the idea of public prayer. The reason for banning prayer on public property isn’t to oppress Christians or any other religious people. It’s possible to pray in a place of worship, at home or on any private property. Nobody stops a student from praying in school before or after hours. What is not fair, however, is a student or a teacher leading a classroom or group of students in prayer. Why? Because, not everyone is religious and not everyone who is religious adheres to the same religion. Why should someone who is Wiccan be forced to pray to Jesus or be forced to have to worry that his or her child will be indoctrinated in school to some other religion that they do not approve of?

As for the workforce, not everyone wants to take time out to pray. Some are just are not religious.

The United States is such a diverse place. We have no official religion. We abide by certain rules because we realize no one wants to be forced to participate in prayer against their will.

Religious groups run their own universities and places of worship. There is no reason to force religion into schools or the workplace. A secular society oppresses no one.

Alveda King is entitled to her opinion, she is entitled speak about them at any length. Yet she misses the entire point of Dr. King’s dream. It’s good to stand up against oppression wherever you see it, against inequality and prejudice.

But as long as she advocates for limitations on personal and religious freedoms, she does not speak in the same spirit of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
Additional sources:
http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/birthcontrol/a/effectivenessbc.htm
http://www.contracept.org/teenrates.php

2 Comments to “Alveda King speaks at Glenn Beck’s 8/28 Rally”

  1. There does seem to be something inherently ironic, if not deplorable, about the niece of MLK working with a group that supports restrictions on freedom.

    There is debate over MLK’s views on abortion. I think he rallied against it as a tool used to keep black populations down. He was certainly pro-birth control.

    As for prayer in schools and workplaces, no one should be forced to participate or punished if they don’t. This applies primarily to public institutions, or anything receiving government funding. Private groups can make their own rules, but they should be up-front with their members, and provide an alternate for those who do not wish to participate. There is a growing sector of the population that considers itself religious but does not adhere to the guidelines of organized religion. Theoretically, on could be a Christian by accepting Christ, even if you don’t go to church or follow other church doctrines. These people may be as uncomfortable with group prayer in schools and offices as they are with organized prayer in churches. What are they to do?

    As you say, V, the views expressed by Alveda King, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Partiers at large to do conform with the spirit of MLK’s struggle. It is possible that he himself held views not entirely consistent with what we think of as the spirit of his work–this is because he was human, not a manufactured icon. No one buffed him until he was perfect. We should learn such things about our heroes, acknowledge their imperfections, and strive to go beyond, rather than hold them up as unattainably awesome.

    If MLK’s personal views were more like those of the Tea Partiers than we think they were, so be it. We are aspiring to the spirit of his words. And his message was one of nondiscrimination, and an end to oppression.

    • Very excellently put, D! 🙂 Alveda King strikes me as just a nut, though, or at least an attention/media whore. I don’t really think she cares too much about what MLK would think of her actions or speeches or what she stands for. I might be wrong, of course, but that’s how she strikes me. She has said during a NOM rally where she was giving a speech that she knows more about MLK’s dream and words and morals than his wife does (his widow has been very outspoken FOR gay rights), just simply because she holds DNA with MLK and his widow does not. That’s not very respectful and I would like to think that MLK would not be very happy about it if he were alive today and heard her say that. Why would you insult the widow of your uncle by implying that she’s insulting his memory by being pro-equality? Not to mention that just sharing DNA with someone doesn’t make you like that person. To me, this part of that speech alone was insulting to the memory of her uncle.

      This woman is at best a nut, if you ask me. Which is sad, all things considered. She is a woman with a voice and instead of using it to secure freedoms for people, she is using it to advocate oppression. I can only hope she doesn’t see it but that at some point she will and change her message, but I actually think she does see it now and just doesn’t care…she’s getting attention and media time.

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