by Heather Martin
Kevin Annett’s followers call him “a modern-day Martin Luther King Jr.” I imagine that they liken him to the preacher because of his personality?.. His sense of justice? His ability to deliver a good speech? For whatever reason, Kevin invokes King on a regular basis when it suits him in order to capitalize on whatever collective sadness we have that one of the worlds great peacemakers is gone from this world. While King was before my time, I am probably one of the few people my age (no I won’t tell you that) that has read and listened to his “I have a dream” speech in it’s entirety. If you have a dry eye after that, well, then you’re not human.
Publicly, King was a saintly man… privately, he was human, and riddled with controversies that often spilled from his private to his public life. When I explained to Kevin why we were holding off on showing Unrepentant at our film festival, his reply was:
Even if those smears on me were true, which they’re not, to not screen my film because I don’t pass some kind of morality qualification test would be like never discussing civil rights or racism in america because Martin Luther King used to frequent prostitutes.
Snopes.com, by the way has debunked the prostitute allegation, but that doesn’t stop people like Kevin from using the slander to make a point. True, King wasn’t perfect, and neither is Kevin Annett, despite what he’d have us believe. Pretty much everything I’ve read that was written by Kevin or about Kevin (by his supporters) paints him in the most glorious and self-righteous light. It’s a habit that King never practiced, to his credit.
Kevin’s biggest critic’s hover over those pesky allegations of slander and libel against people who at one time had befriended, supported and financed Kevin. I’m fairly certain King never did such things to his friends or even perfect strangers.
And there is the issue of Kevin’s Marxist beliefs where he often fondly quotes Karl Marx when opining about the injustices imposed on him by Church and Capitalist State.
Interestingly, Martin Luther King Jr. was under investigation for being a member of the Communist Party, which the FBI failed to acquire evidence of. In those days, Communism was a serious threat to ‘democracy’ and everyone who was in the public eye was under suspicion. Today, however, Canadians are free to associate themselves with Socialist or Communist parties without anyone batting an eye. Regardless of the decade, Communism/Socialism is still a threat.
Fellow bloggers like Greg Renouf, openly call Kevin a Marxist-Socialist; a term that Kevin flatly denies despite his public appearances with and (support from) prominent Socialists and Labor groups and his open admiration of Marx.
I don’t know enough about Communism/Socialism and it’s pitfalls, but I will defer to King, who asked the most important question of our time (and a question I ask of Kevin); Can a Christian Be a Socialist?
King had this to say:
“…no Christian can be a communist because communism leaves out God. It regards religion psychologically as wishful thinking, regards religion intellectually as the product of fear and ignorance. And it regards religion historically as an instrument serving the ends of exploiters. This is what communism teaches about religion. And so, in a real sense, we disagree with this because we believe that history is moved not by economic forces but by spiritual forces. [Congregation: ] (Amen, Yeah) We believe that there is a God (Pray on) in this universe (Yes sir, Yes), a God who loves his children, and a God who works through history for the salvation of man. (Pray on) Consequently, we can’t accept communism at that point.
A second reason that we can’t accept communism is that its methods are opposed to Christianity. (Pray on) Since for the communist there is no divine government or no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles. So force, violence, murder, and lying are all justifiable means to bring about the millennial end. Lenin, the man who was something of the technician of communism, putting the philosophy of Karl Marx into practical action, said on one occasion, “We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, and lawbreaking, withholding and concealing truth.”6 That the followers of Lenin have been willing to act upon these instructions is a matter of history. For communism the end justifies the means.
I suspect that Kevin is neither a Christian, nor a student of Martin Luther King Jr. because he would have incorporated King’s philosophy regarding the Church:
Oh, we have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds, and this is the tragedy facing us today. We must admit that the church has often lagged behind, that the church has too often been an institution seeming to crystallize the patterns of the status quo. Oh, we’ve identified the name of Christ with so many evil things. I heard Mr. Barnett saying the other day that he had to do what he was doing because of the righteousness that had been handed down from God through Jesus Christ. I said to myself, “Isn’t it tragic that we will take the name of Christ, identify it with so many evils of history. Oh, how we’ve lost Christ.” You remember the words of Shakespeare’s Othello. As he stood there before the villain Iago, cried out, “Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing, ’twas mine, ’tis his, has been the slave of thousands. But he who filches from me my good name robs me of that which might enrich him but makes me poor indeed.”16 (Yes) This is what we’ve done to Christ. (Yes) We robbed him of his good name. (Yeah) And we’ve identified that name with segregation. We’ve identified that name with exploitation and with oppression and with so many of the evils of history.
What King preached was the notion of a ‘social gospel’ that held churches accountable to their flock and it is a notion that Kevin (while he recognized the same evils in the Church as King did) missed the perfect opportunity to affect change from within. Who better than a member of the clergy to (as Ghandi put it) be the change he wanted to see in the world. It would have been a reformation that would lead to accountability by the Church and healing of the victims. However, King remarks that those who’ve followed Marx, often looked out (lost their way) and failed to come back in. I fear that Kevin has looked out for so long that he has decided to stay.