Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. needs to read more Coretta Scott King

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. is – was – a member of the NAACP who thinks he knows more about civil rights than the late widow of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King.

He doesn’t.

No one speaks to MLK’s legacy, and the African-American civil rights struggle, more than Coretta Scott King. And Coretta Scott King says that the gay civil rights movement and the black civil rights movement are part of the same movement.  Here are a few of Mrs. King’s words on gay and African-American civil rights:

“Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.”

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice,” she said. “But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'” “I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

She said the civil rights movement “thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.” Her husband’s struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement, she said.

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. disagrees with Mrs. King.  And that is his right. But it doesn’t make him right.

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. doesn’t have more moral authority on this issue than Coretta Scott King.

He doesn’t know this issue better than Coretta Scott King.

If you had to choose who’s a bigger civil rights icon, civil rights hero, civil rights expert – Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. or Coretta Scott King – there is no contest. Mrs. King wins, hands down.

So I respect the fact that Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. hates gay people, even if he’s unwittingly (or wittingly) following in the footsteps of white segregationists who hated, and still to this day hate, African-Americans like himself.

But as the saying goes, while the Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. is entitled to his own opinion, he’s not entitled to his own facts.  Here’s what the Rev. Keith Ratfliff Sr. had to say recently about our civil rights:

“The deviant behavior is not the same thing as being denied the right to vote because of the color of one’s skin,” he said to applause. “The deviant behavior is not the same thing as being denied where one may sit on a bus.”

Ratliff also said it was an insult for the gay community to try to align itself with the African-American struggle.

“Gay community: Stop hijacking the civil rights movement,” he said.

Deviant behavior? Southern racists used to accuse black men of being sexually deviant towards white women.  Perhaps Rev. Keith Ratfliff Sr. should re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  I can’t think of anything more deviant than the oppressed adopting the language of their oppressor.

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. also talks about how gays have not been denied the right to vote or the right to sit on a bus.

Yes we have. Gay and lesbian African-Americans were kicked off the same buses as everyone else.

And we have been denied the right to marry,

to hold a job,

to have a home,

to raise a child,

to live.

And since the Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. wants to play the distasteful “who suffered more” game – really, Rev. Ratliff, there is more than enough oppression to go around – gays were systemically exterminated by Adolf Hitler in the Nazi Holocaust.

Perhaps Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. could explain how being denied one’s very existence is less oppressive than being denied where one may sit on a bus.

Mrs. King had something to say, before she died, about bigotry in the black community:

“We have to launch a national campaign against homophobia in the black community.”

Someone is trying to hijack the civil rights movement, Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. But it isn’t the gay commnity.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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