In August, Rod 2.0 reported the Rev. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and a well-fundamentalist minister and anti-gay activist, was being considered to lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by her father more than five decades ago. On Friday King was named the first woman to lead the SCLC in its 52 year history.
King is a minister at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, headed by obsessively homophobic Bishop Eddie Long. The two organized a 2004 march against same-sex marriage in Atlanta that attracted thousands. Writing at The Daily Voice, Earl Ofari Hutchinson says Bernice King must renounce her anti-gay bigotry and lead the SCLC in a new direction.
That bigotry was on shameful and insulting display in December 2004 when she and thousands of marchers stood at the gravesite of her father, Martin Luther King, Jr., and denounced gay marriage. The implication was that King might well have stood with her and them in their protest against gay rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. King's fight against bigotry and discrimination, all bigotry and discrimination, was relentless and uncompromising. If anything that day, King would have been across the street from his gravesite with the hundred or so other counter-demonstrators. They loudly shouted that what Bernice and the marchers were doing at her father's gravesite and in his name, was a travesty and a disgrace. King sullied her father's name to show her enmity to gay marriage. She also sullied her mother's too. A few years before Bernice's gravesite antic, Coretta Scott King issued a public statement forcefully denouncing anti-gay bigotry and made it perfectly clear that her husband would be a champion of gay rights if he were alive.
On its website SCLC clearly says "its mission is to challenge all people of good will, of every persuasion, who believe in the principles espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. to join us." Presumably that's the mission of its new president. She can prove it is by publicly renouncing her anti-gay bigotry.
The SCLC recently made headlines when its national leadership attempted to oust the Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Los Angeles chapter, over his support of same-sex marriage and efforts to fight Prop 8. Thankfully that motion didn't prevail.
Despite its much-storied history, the SCLC is barely a blip on the current civil rights radar. If Bernice King does not renounce her bigotry and move the SCLC into a progressive direction, the organization will become even more irrelevant.
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