This is just my third blog and today is “Martin Luther King Day” and I thought since Bayard was such good friends with such a great civil libertarian that it would only be appropriate to do a light refection on Dr. Kings protest of govrernment laws.
Most people who will be doing these blogs today will be talking about the great works Dr. King did back in the day. Personally I think, if a person really wants to honor him a better way to do it would be by “speaking up” for something he would have spoke up for today.
A lot of people believe that if he was still young and here today, he would be standing with the gay community in their fight for marriage equality. Now me I’m Libertarian and I definitely support marriage for all, but I’m not 100% Dr. King would have, because he basically stood up against unjust laws that affected him and those in his community. His good friend and co-community worker Bayard might have, because it was publicly known that he was gay and lived with his partner. What I do think Dr. King would be speaking up and out against however are these crazy “non-smoking” laws we have in Michigan because he definitely was a smoker.
.I’m not a smoker, I have never been a smoker nor have I ever had a desire to, but my mother, father, sisters and brother. friends, even had a pastor who smoked. I never had a problem with it. What did bother me however was to see something that had been legal for years all of a sudden just banned from all public places here in Michigan.
It started way back when they started saying “smoking was hazardous to your heath”, then they started having “smoking sections” in restaurants. It reminded me so much of the “the whites” and “colored only ” water fountains.
I will never forget riding downtown one day and the first time I saw nearly 100 executives standing outside in the winter in front of an office complex smoking and I thought how unfair. These people work for this company and have brought the city and this company millions of dollars, and now where smokers could once smoke inside, now they have to do it outside in the cold. What’s worst was, just to get inside of the building you had to walk through a crowd of people who normally wouldn’t be there but are now only there because they smoked but have been forced outside. How tacky.
Some of that I got, because these were private owned company’s and I believe every company should have the right to determine what they want and don’t want to have in the company’s they started. Then they made the law to ban smoking from ALL PUBLIC PLACES forcing all business owners who don’t agree, to participate. I’ve only been to a bar 2 or 3 times in my entire life and I when I learned smoking was banned in bars I thought … that’s taking it too far. It was one of the few places that were left that people could smoke in. Now thousands of Bars in Michigan are struggling to stay open because the law is forcing folks to stop smoking or just stay at home.
Most people would say …”well what can you do …its the law?”. Well …all that segregation that went on back then in Dr. Kings day was the law too, but they fought it. The difference is Dr. King fought for the rights that minorities never had. Smoking is a right that a minority of people had … that’s being taken away. Right now, there’s just no smoking in public places and trust me the ultimate goal is force people to stop smoking all together.
We know smoking is hazardous for your health and we that believe also know according to scripture that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor 6:19). The question is, shouldn’t the right be reserve for the Holy Spirit within to lead and guide us individually as to what should or should not be put in our individual bodies OR are legislators who make laws more qualified to do it, than He. I think not. It says “let everyman be fully persuaded by his own mind” (Rom 14:5) , not by the government .And as far as “second hand smoke” , my grandmother is 96 years old, been around smokers all of her life and never complained and is as healthy as you can expect any 96 year old to be as well of tons of the elderly. May be the second hand smoke just hasn’t taken its toll on them yet.
The “no smoking laws” to me are the most ridiculous laws that are on the books. What’s next … banning restaurants that sell fried chicken. Laws that take away personal freedoms and choices that don’t harm others, should be stopped in the same way that segregation laws were stopped back then.
Dr. King was a smoker and while I’m sure smoking wasn’t any where near the top of his list of laws that should be protested, I believe because he enjoyed the freedom he had to do it, he would have stood up against the Michigan “no smoking” law today. He may not have marched for it or even went as public as back then but I believe he would have at least protested in some way by saying something, if not for himself, at least in behalf of the businesses who’ve been forced into it who don’t believe they should have to support it . Actually I’m kind of surprised that more of the thousands of businesses’ who these laws have hurt are not speaking more. Maybe its because they’re too busy trying to run their businesses or looking for ways to supplement their incomes. At any rate to have this right taken away from them is unjust.
Those laws take away personal freedoms. Dr King protested senseless laws and if we want to honor his memory on his day one of the ways people could do it is by speaking out against senseless laws like this that hurt so many today.