While President Obama will be delivering the keynote address at the official unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Obama’s main presidential opponent, Rick Perry, will be attending a retreat where the co-host has claimed that MLK deserves little to no credit for the civil rights revolution in America.
Perry, the newly christened Republican Party presidential front-runner, will be attending a “Call to Action” retreat that will be hosted by San Antonio doctor, Jim Leininger, and his wife, Cecilia. Among the co-hosts of the Fredericksburg, Texas, event, will be David Barton, the founder of the evangelical Christian group WallBuilders.
Barton has said on more than one occasion that King does not deserve the credit he is getting for changes in civil rights law that took place in the 1950s and ’60s. Additionally, Barton and a group of millionaire Texas conservatives sought to revise the state’s textbooks that would reflect their notion that constitutional separation of church and state is a myth, and that students should be taught a version of American history that blends theology with themes of a constant clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims.
This is chilling when you think that Barton is the former head of the Texas Republican Party and aligns himself with a charming gentlemen, a Massachusetts preacher named Peter Marshall, who said that both the California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were God’s punishment for accepting homosexuality. These two characters had even more radical changes when they sat before the Texas Education Assembly, according to the Washington Monthly:
Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites — in his view, mostly white Republican men.
Oh, it doesn’t stop there. Barton’s views on race are confusing, if not contradictory. He tries to say that slavery was forced on America by the British, and that slavery was allowed by God because it was the wages of sin. He also believes that African Americans should petition for reparations from slavery, but only from the Democratic Party. According to the article, Barton did speak with groups associated with white supremacist group Christian Identity on two separate occasions.