General Question

seVen's avatar

Why Obama uses Dr.Martin Luther King Jr's Dream?

Asked by seVen (3472points) August 29th, 2008 from iPhone

MLK would fight for everyones right to live, Obama is pro-abortion.

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39 Answers

blastfamy's avatar

Clearly, @seVen, has just described a politician (and B. Obama as well).

He was trying to get the sentiment of the I Have a Dream speech, and the respect of those who respected MLK. I don’t think he is trying to establish himself as the next MLK

Obviously, Obama and King are two very different people. Trust me, if this speech was supposed to be on the topic of abortion, than none of that would have been said.

gooch's avatar

In an attempt to get votes he attempts to create a delusion of being like Dr. King.

dalepetrie's avatar

Do you actually have proof that MLK was against abortion? I certainly can’t find any. And would MLK not have fought for the right of that mother to have a safe medical procedure rather than risk death by coathanger? You ascribe a current argument over Roe v. Wade to someone who was murdered before that decision was ever handed down. And you have a very interesting verbal slight of hand (would fight for everyone’s right to live), you essentially define in that sentence life as beginning with conception. I certainly don’t agree, and I can’t speak for whether MLK would have or not, as far as I know, he never addressed the issue head on.

MLK’s dream speech was that some day blacks could achieve everything whites could. Having a black nominee from a major political party goes an extremely long way towards achieving that dream, regardless of whether or not that particular black person agrees with everythink MLK did or not.

This is just more proof that when Republicans can’t debate the issues, they turn to misdirection.

gooch's avatar

@dalepetrie MLK’s daughter said he was against abortion on national TV this week. Also OBama is only black in skin color. Research his ethnic background.

Response moderated
SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Your question has two parts:

Why Obama uses Dr.Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream?
Because he is living that dream, right now, as a candidate for President of the USA. Eight years before MLK died, the country went into appleplexie over John F Kennedy being a candidate for president because he was catholic! When MLK had his dream—the chances of an African American Presidential candidate were slim to none. Racism is not gone by a long shot, but the dream is closer….

MLK would fight for everyones right to live, Obama is pro-abortion.
No one can say for sure what MLK’s stance would have been on abortion. Roe v Wade was not until 1973. And today everyone is conjuring up MLK on their side of issues, but we simply and purely don’t know.

seVen's avatar

MLK was a Baptist minister , Baptists are pro-life.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

seVen, yes he was a Baptist minister [and most Baptists are pro-life, not all]—-had he lived for 40 more years, we have no idea where these years may have taken him.

dalepetrie's avatar


Wow, what insightful political analysis.


Can you actually provide a link to anything showing that MLK’s daughter said on national TV (or anywhere else for that matter) that MLK was against abortion? Because what I find is that MLK’s NIECE is HERSELF against it.

And what about Obama’s ethnic background should I research exactly? I’m not sure I get your criticism here. I’ve actually read his books, have you?

St.George's avatar

@blastfamy – not cool

@gooch – Barak Obama not being black – You’re kidding right?

@seVen – He’s living MLK’s dream right now. He’s got the opportunity to be president, when MLK was alive, that would never have been possible. MLK wanted equality and freedom for all people, Obama believes in that potential.

@dalepetrie – well said

And lastly, this thread is ridiculous, but I couldn’t just not say anything. I support this candidate who right now is the only hope we have for change in this country. He’s a young, vibrant, intelligent man who can help move us out of the past and into the future.

jrpowell's avatar

@blastfamy :: You are stupid. Shove that Bible right back where it came from. Someones ass.

dalepetrie's avatar

Not to be a dick about it, but….

As I always like to give a factual analysis rather than resort to personality attacks, I have dug up this tidbit from a conservative columnist who explored the myths of MLK,

“While King died before the Roe vs. Wade decision, and, to the best of my knowledge, made no comments on abortion, he was an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood. He even won their Margaret Sanger Award in 1966 and had his wife give a speech entitled Family Planning – A Special and Urgent Concern which he wrote. In the speech, he did not compare the civil rights movement to the struggle of Christian Conservatives, but he did say “there is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts.””

So, I looked up the speech that Dr. King wrote, and sure enough, there’s a link to it on the Planned Parenthood website, and in it he very clearly advocates for family planning, which doesn’t explicitly mean abortion rights, but I’ll let you judge for yourself;

Like I said, seVen’s original comment contains a lot of assumptions which a) can not be proven and b) are demonstrably at odds with what we actually can prove. If someone has any evidence for me to examine as to why Obama should not have referenced this speech, as Obama would say, “that’s a debate I’m more than happy to have.”

willbrawn's avatar

I believe he said that for votes. Obama was raised in a white home and I don’t believe knows what it means to be “black”. I think he just wants support and votes from the black community. I see people everyday that have no idea what his policies are and are just voting for him because of his skin color. And that is the wrong reason to vote In my opinion.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Willbrawn—-**And what does it mean to ‘be black?’ Please explain in detail.

dalepetrie's avatar


I think you miss the entire point of Obama’s candidacy by writing it off as just an exercise in reverse discrimination. It’s amazing to me that people can’t simply look at Obama’s platform, see what he stands for, see what he says he intends to do as President, and see that even if it isn’t the platform they would vote for, that his positions are ones held by a good share of the country.

I find it HIGHLY doubtful that you “see people everyday” who “are just voting for him because of his skin color”. As someone who supported Obama from day one, I have YET to meet a single person who has made such an ignorant statment. I have however heard more than one white person who normally votes Democrat say in the primaries that they didn’t support Obama because they didn’t think “America” was ready for a black President.

Yes, there are going to be people who vote for Obama because he’s black, as sure as there are going to be people who are going to vote against him because he’s black. There are people who are going to vote for him because he’s the Democrat, just as there are people who are going to vote for McCain because he’s the Republican. And yes, a woefully large percentage of the voting population does not make up their minds because of issues, but because of other things that really shouldn’t matter.

But remember that it cuts both ways, and indeed this year if anything it seems to cut in more the opposite direction that you are suggesting. Case in point, Bush won because he was the candidate most people would rather have a beer with. But you look at McCain and how he’s conducting his campaign, and issues are nowhere near the discussion. So far, I’ve heard from the McCain camp that we should vote for him because he’s a veteran, and because Obama is inexperienced, a celebrity without credentials, someone even Hillary Clinton (albeit when she was competing with him head to head for the job) criticized as too green. The right wing noise machine and the underground smear campaigns tell us Obama is a closet Muslim, he doesn’t wear his flag pin, his wife hates America, his preacher hates America, he doesn’t place his hand over his heart during the national anthem, his middle name is Hussein and his last name sounds like Osama. I suppose these are the right reasons in your estimation?

Your suggestion that Obama “just wants support and votes from the black community” is preposterous. He already has the support of the 91% of the black community which isn’t Republican, even if he did pander for votes the way McCain does when he launches into one of his feel good stories that don’t actually address the questions asked or tackle the issues at hand, there would be no purpose.

And the idea that ANYONE could walk around this country with black skin and not know what it means to be black is just plain stupid. Again, spoken like someone who hasn’t read either of Obama’s books. And to be 100% frank, if you want McCain to win, you’re best off taking McCain’s example and NOT focusing on the issues. Our country is in such dire straits that if everyone who voted had to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental issues at stake in this election, there would not even BE a red state. McCain knows that, which is why he has focused his campaign on attacking Obama rather than on telling us what HE thinks.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

@willbrawn: You clearly don’t know much about Barack Obama or his life.

delirium's avatar

dale: wonderfully said.

blastfamy's avatar

Let’s take the exact words of MLK, shall we?

“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now tell me where anybody can come off saying that Martin Luther King was for denying that right to life. You would classify a plant, bacteria, dung-beetle as a living thing, as it has living cells. Tell me what the difference is between living cells in a placenta and out of one? They are still living. Black cells, white cells: does it matter? Martin Luther King Believed in equality for all. I challenge you to go find a source to tell you otherwise. Instead of turning to misinformation yourself, how about you prove your point.

While it is true that Martin Luther King never lived through Roe – vs – Wade, his sentiments towards human right to life has never changed. Add to this his strong, demonstrated, Baptist convictions and there is no room to say that there is even a chance that MLK would be “pro-choice,” by todays standards.

This “I Have a Dream” speech was far more than an indictment of racial injustice in America. It was a vision about ending social injustice; the killing of living human cells is just as intolerable be it by a doctor, or a mob with a noose.

So yes, on the surface, “I have a dream” was reffering to the day that men
“will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”,
but his dream was so much more than that. MLK believed that life is sacred, and that no one should be denied that right.


@dalepetrie, sorry for calling you a dick. That was uncalled for. So was calling anything not ‘liberal’ a misinformation campaign [i’m not “republican,” it’s just that my view on this particular issue tends to be on the conservative side; please understand where I am coming from].

@johnpowell, take a good look at the above: where do you see the words God or Bible in anything regarding the definition of a human life? The correct answer is nowhere,
and while I am catholic, that doesn’t change the fact that God does not have to enter into a debate over where life begins.

All of this is to emphasize my above conjecture. B. Obama was acting the role of textbook politician: using the great words of someone else to bolster his own image. The fact that people associate “great black leader” with MLK was the hope of Obama, who wanted some of that to rub off on him.

I was pointing out the irony of the matter, that if the subject at hand were abortions, Obama would have no place quoting someone who is demonstrably against the notion of abortion.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, blastfamy, first off, I accept your apology for calling me a Dick, thanks for that.

As for your challenge to find a source to tell me otherwise, I already posted it. My link to the Planned Parenthood site. Not misinformation, black and white proof. But proof of what, that he was pro-choice? Like I said all along, he never specified, so anything we have is conjecture. All we can 100% undoubtedly point to is that his was a proponent of family planning. I have proven that.

But again, this is midirection to say that I’m indicating that MLK was for denying a right to life, or that anyone is classifying an embryo as something that is not living…it is living tissue. There are a lot of things that are “living”, it doesn’t put them in the same category is sentient life. The whole “where life begins” argument is not something we’re going to solve. I don’t believe “human life” begins at conception.

My belief is that up until 20 weeks, when the tissue in question is known as an “embryo”, it is not in the same category as sentient, independently living creatures. Science defines an embryo as essentially a “potential” human being, but one which could NOT survive outside the mother’s body. You take it out, it can’t survive, period, end of discussion in my opinion. A “fetus”, is defined as that same being after reaching 20 weeks, at which point “theoretically” it COULD survive outside the womb. Viability is in my opinion where the distinction lies. I can’t say that MLK would share that definition, but you can’t say that he would not. Saying that all men, even all people should have the same rights does not in any way, shape or form indicate what he might have believed in regards to what qualifies you to be a person.

So I reject, out of hat your statement that MLK was “demonstrably against the notion of abortion”. That is a baseless assumption colored by your own perception of the issue. And you seem to think that I am somehow arguing the opposite, I am not, I am arguing that anyone who says he was pro-choice or pro-life has no way of proving that. You can demonstrate that he felt all men should be treated equally, and that he was a Baptist. I can demonstrate that Planned Parenthood, a bastian of the pro-choice movement, hails him as a hero based on his clear support of its founder, her objectives and the notion of family planning. But neither of these points proves what he was, so to say that because of this assumption one way or the other, Obama should not have referenced his speech is ludicrous. You let your own opinions cloud what should be a completely logical explanation.

A black man was accepting the nomination for the Presidency of the US for the first time in history on the 45th anniversary of the date on which MLK said that he had a dream of equality for all men is not something that could have been ignored. Indeed, he didn’t even quote MLK, he didn’t pander…he acknowledged it with grace and did not dwell on it. Some would have expected Obama to make his speech ABOUT this. To not acknowledge it would have been a disgrace to anyone who believes in MLK’s dream, regardless of their skin color. I said before and I say again, attempts to change the conversation to an area where it don’t belong are in line with the way Republicans are mounting their campaign this year (and indeed how they usually mount their campaigns). That’s an indictment of Republicans and those who would use misdirection to avoid dealing with reality, it’s not an absolution for Dems who do the same. I don’t criticize without looking in the mirror, and that’s why I supported the candidacy of the person who made his campaign about the issues, and not the candidacy of the person who attacked her opponent mercilessly.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Delepetrie——applauding you. We don’t know folks, we just don’t know what MLK would say today…nor do we have definitive proof of what he thought of Pro-life-choice 40 years ago. It is conjecture. So now we can go on about our day…;-)

blastfamy's avatar

Yes, but what I can prove is conviction; that kind of thinking doesn’t go away, or bend in resolve. Read any biography of Martin Luther King jr. The conviction is there.

Can I say with dead certainty that Martin Luther King was pro life? No.
Likewise, nobody can say he was a pro-choice.

The fact still remains, however, that abortion is an issue of extremes. Either you are for it, or against it. MLK is no exception; therefore, he must have had an opinion on this. Abortion, according to Wikipedia, has been around since before Christ. I’m sure Martin Luther King had heard of it.

From the planned parenthood speech:
“There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child.”

Planned parenthood, in the case of the article, was not about abortions; it was more about not overpopulating ghettos with people who were not “wanted” due to the pre-existing condition of overcrowding. Regardless, we see King describe this situation as “tragic,” because the child is a “blessing.” By extension of the child being a blessing, so, too, is the event leading up to the child: the pregnancy. King believed, in the child being carried to term. He was simply pointing out here that it was unfortunate that people be born into situations where they are not “wanted” due to socioeconomic issues in the family.

Given the rigorous proof about his convictions (see any MLK bio.) concerning any person’s right to life, I cannot see him as a swing vote to break his convictions.

Can it be said with absolute certainty that MLK was for a pro-life cause? No. I never met the guy.

Can a jury with absolute certainty (knowing for sure), convict a man for murder? No. The act of murder can be proven, however, beyond all reasonable doubt.

Given that there is no real evidence to say that MLK did not believe in the sanctity of life, I do believe it can be said beyond all reasonable doubt that MLK believed in Pro-Life ideals. The only reason he wasn’t directly addressing them is because he had a bit more pressing an issue to deal with.

The only reason why I am still pressing this, is because it validates the question at hand.

augustlan's avatar

Isn’t it a little absurd to call anyone “pro-abortion” (as the asker has done with Obama)? I think we can all agree that we’d rather there not be a need for abortion in the first place. The correct term is pro-choice, not pro-abortion.

dalepetrie's avatar

“Given that there is no real evidence to say that MLK did not believe in the sanctity of life, I do believe it can be said beyond all reasonable doubt that MLK believed in Pro-Life ideals”

OK, how about this sentence.

“Given that there is no real evidence to say that MLK did not believe in a woman’s right to choose what to do with her reproductive organs, I do believe it can be said beyond all reasonable doubt that MLK believed in pro-choice ideals.

Both statements are ludicrous. This is trying to prove your opinion by elimination. You say that because there’s no evidence to support the opposite of my claim, my claim must be true.

blastfamy's avatar

@augustian, I ask you, what the difference is?

If you are not pro-Life (anti-abortion), then
you have to be the opposite – pro-“choice,” which really means having the choice to have the abortion, which means that you believe that abortion is ok. When you boil it down, its either pro/anti abortion.

@dalepetrie, not exactly. You say “elimination” as if this were a multiple choice standardized test. When in fact, MLK went on to say that he believed that the child was a “blessing” (see above post).

The guiding principle is:
Abortion is a binary issue. You cannot be halfway down the middle. You either are for or against it. Plain and simple.

MLK walked the straight and narrow path of preserving the value of life in all aspects. This is to include, the the value of the unborn. It is MLK’s demonstrated position that the child and life are inherently valuable. This is proof, where there is none to the contrary, that MLK by very nature took to the pro-life side.

Consider the murder trial, where the defendant must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt whether or not he killed a man. This, too, is binary: either he did or did not kill.
Proof beyond all reasonable doubt, not omniscient understanding, is enough to convict. If the defendant never testifies to say whether or not he did it, and there is nothing else to say that he did not do it, yet DNA evidence is produced to the idea that he did it, what is the jury to think? They have no choice but to come back with a guilty verdict.

Not to reduce this to a trial over beliefs, but MLK had motive, and demonstrated behavior to say that he valued the human life. He even said that the child is a “blessing.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what conclusion is there, except that Mr. King is guilty as charged of being a pro-lifer?

delirium's avatar

Pro-abortion is like saying that i’m pro-amputation. I believe in a right to choose, that is all.

blastfamy's avatar

@delirium, except that in the hand of amputation, you have a living thing that has no way of functioning on its own, whereas in the hand of abortion you have a living thing that is a whole person/living thing with the potential capacity to function on its own – that you are quite literally stealing from it!

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I think our trenches are sufficiently dug-in now. I too am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I do not belief that mass of developing cells is life for months. So let’s go on with our day jobs, shall we?

delirium's avatar

It can function on its own in the same way that a blob of cells can. Every part of you is constantly growing.

I am pro-cutting your nails. I must be the devil.

Also, the way that a fetus acts on the body is the exact same way that a parasite does. It is quite literally stealing from the person it is inside with no consideration to that person’s health.

blastfamy's avatar

@delirium, ah yes the fetus is still dependent on the mother for sustained growth. We are talking about the functioning human body, right? not some mass of dead fingernail tissue (all of the hard stuff is dead, by the way).

Does that not strike you as a little irresponsible, though, to create a life (by means of pleasure seeking, or whatever) and not be willing to take responsibility? I mean, yes, it is sucking the very virility right out of you, but it is still a human life that has every right to be alive and kicking as you do.

dalepetrie's avatar

a “child” is a blessing. But it’s a leap of faith to state that MLK considered and embryo to be a child. As for no middle ground, there are those who don’t see a moral objection to delivering an infant in the third trimester alive and able to breathe on its own and terminating its life. I don’t agree with that. But I’m for a woman being able to decide to terminate her pregnancy in the first 20 weeks, because I don’t consider an embryo to be a child. I agree with MLK on all the areas you point out. Anything he actually said about living human beings, I am behind, I have the same respect for ALL of mankind that he stated to have. It doesn’t however mean that I or he has to define humanity as existing at the moment of zygote.

dalepetrie's avatar

“Does that not strike you as a little irresponsible, though, to create a life (by means of pleasure seeking, or whatever) and not be willing to take responsibility?”

That implies an intent that does not always exist. If you have no intention of taking that responsibility, or even the capability of taking that responsibility, isn’t it inherently irresponsible to assume that responsibility anyway?

This is such a complex and nuanced issue. You and I don’t agree on it. We don’t agree on when life begins. We can agree on the sanctity of human life, but don’t agree on the definition, therefore we will never agree on this issue. And therefore we can not divine the belief of someone who has been dead for 40 years if they never took a stand on their definition.

I’m not going to argue right or wrong, all I’m arguing is, you can’t ascribe your views to MLK, there is no logical way you can get from point A to point B.

delirium's avatar

I’m not talking about ‘cutting your nails’ as in removing the dead bits. I’m talking about the whole shebang where a person has their cuticles removed and so on and so forth.

I’m not going to argue whether abortion is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. But I will argue that you have no right to demand certain things of my (or anyone elses) body.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Dalepetrie, it is irresponsible to have sex, create a life, and not take care of it. Sure. But if we force a person to have a baby—who are we punishing?

Did you read that other thread where I told how two of the kids in my neighborhood, didn’t make it out? They were not wanted and they died horrible deaths.

dalepetrie's avatar

I agree completely SeekerSeeking. And I don’t see a lot of anti-abortion activists offering up their bodies as incubators for the unwanted embryos. I do think I saw that other thread, yes…hard to say because unfortunately that’s not all that uncommon of a story these days.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Thanks Dale, and that was only 2 of the 9——I’m lucky I made it out. And I can still remember deciding if I’d stay ‘closed,’ [which was safe] or try and open up. And the opening was scary, painful, and full of therapy. Thanks

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m glad you made it out too!

nayeight's avatar

Geez, it took me forever just to read this…and now I’m too tired to even give a helpful response. Eh, there’s always tomorrow.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

susanc's avatar

Good. Let’s stop here.

You are all wonderful.

Though some of you are wrong.

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