Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Correction to Yesterday's Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Is Not Completely Accurate But Is Still as Scathing

     The quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. that I used in yesterday's post and that is being disseminated in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death is not completely accurate.  
     A Facebook user posted her own thoughts followed by King's quote.  Somewhere in the electronic game of "Telephone" that is social media, her original introductory sentence and the actual King quote were combined into a single quote.  Those little things called quotation marks make a huge difference.  (See Eats, Shoots & Leaves for more on the importance of proper punctuation.)

     The actual quote is from King's book Strength to Love, page 53.  It reads: 
     Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence.
     From Maschable.com:
     The Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.
     Even if the entire quote didn't come from King's lips, it doesn't devalue the meaning of what's being disseminated.  The unblemished King quote is stronger because it doesn't devalue the feelings of relief and redress belonging to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Also, the actual quote is  more universal and just as scathing of the condemnatory religious comments by Mike Huckabee, etc. and the actions of those who are boasting.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is frustrating to see how hateful some people can be towards others, and even more so when religion is thrown in the mix. But, this is my first time stumbling on your blog, I really don't understand how dissecting religious fanatics words implies that all those who are religious are hateful or fanatical. The very quote you used was by a Christian, and reflects the greatest biblical principle to love thy neighbor. It is unfortunate that the loudest people seem to be the one's who are most prone to corrupting God's word.

Heretic Tom said...

Anonymous, you misunderstand me. Dissecting religious fanatics shows how religious fanatics are hateful. It does not show that all religious people are hateful. I am smart enough to make this distinction between people; if my tone doesn't always reflect this, I apologize. Obviously, some religious people are good people or I wouldn't venerate Martin Luther King, Jr., or my parents and grandparents, or any number of my friends who are loving people.