I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories but. And it’s kind of a big but. We just finished watching my old DVD of King. Sort of the Cliff Notes version of MLK’s public career. The man was a son of a preacher. He was a preacher. He was surrounded by men of the cloth. And in the last five years of his life he started sounding a lot like a liberation theologian from
Latin America minus the “dialectical materialism” of
Hegel and the so called Marxists.
King was working from a Gospel perspective. Hell, in his last speech he came out and basically said if you’re going to say anything at my funeral say that I tried to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, care for the sick. That I tried to hold to non violence. Straight out of the Gospel according the Matthew.
Fast forward to 2013 and who do we see in the public eye? Hucksters for the prosperity gospel? So called churchmen whose interests seem confined to who marries who and what a woman does with her own body? Preachers whose only knowledge or interest in the prophets seems confined to prophecies about the messiah while ignoring the sometimes strident warning about what happens when we don’t care for the least among us. Shouting claims of persecution when the rest of us point out that if you’re worried about your kids praying maybe they should do it at home. With you leading the way. Or that there is nothing secular about the first four of the Ten Commandments.
Sometimes I think the story of Jesus goes straight from Christmas to Easter without taking stock of WHY so many in the local and imperial power structure thought it was a good idea to get an inconvenient prophet out of the way. As quickly, painfully and publicly as possible.
On to the conspiracy theory. If you don’t want the faith community messing with our still racist, extremely materialistic and shoot first and ask questions later society what options do you have. You can’t attack the churches directly. Not when you’re also pushing the mantra that the
U.S. was established as a Christian
You can haul out the Becks and the Limbaughs to tell us that there was never any such thing as a “social gospel.” You can reduce the message of the gospels to “Jesus died for MY sins.” And a very narrow list of sins it usually is. You can encourage ridicule by encouraging so called ministers to run who seem to think that support of hyper capitalism and individualism are the eleventh and twelfth commandments. Or that if you don't accept his definition who is accepted as a member of the body and who isn't.
And if you do find an inconvenient prophet on your hands you just might consult the playbook the CIA developed for
Vietnam and transplanted to Latin
America. If discrediting him (or her) doesn’t work? There’s always
a rifle, a bullet and a convenient patsy.