Once again Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name has been spoken in vain by another politician who clearly knows nothing about the civil rights icon’s philosophies and activism.
Larry Stein, a county accessor in Oklahoma, apparently thought it would be a great idea to use MLK as a justification for resurfaced racist Facebook posts. In the since-deleted posts, Stein criticized protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and used an Islamophobic joke, according to the Hill.
In a 2014 post following the unrest in Ferguson, Stein wrote:
“There hasn’t been this great of a racial divide in America since the 1850’s,” said Stein. “Congrats to the thugs and animals in Ferguson.”
In another post, Stein joked:
“No shirt, no shoes, no service,” said Stein. “Which Islamic halal restaurant can I go to and demand they cook a pig for me?”
Stein went on to even claim that saying Islam as a religion of peace was the “biggest lie.”
Of course, once it was apparent that he would have to address his racist and Islamophobic beliefs, instead of apologizing and taking responsibility, Stein decided to defend his actions by invoking some of the most whitewashed MLK quotes he could think of.
“This type of lawless behavior is terrible and the same term would apply to everyone who is lawlessly rioting and destroying personal property, it’s the lack of character, just as Dr. King warned,” Stein recently wrote in a statement regarding his Ferguson comments. “If someone wants to deny my Free Speech rights guaranteed in the constitution, that is appalling. When can we expect Dr. King’s dream to become a reality, judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin?”
Making matters worse, the politician continued to justify his troublesome views by claiming his thoughts echo what has been said by radio personalities.
“National radio talk show hosts and many others used the same word to reference the lawless, Ferguson rioters and law breakers,” Stein said. “Great thinkers have written, ‘Without laws, men are just animals.’”
A local Muslim group, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) disagreed with Stein’s logic.
“It is irresponsible to abuse the freedom of speech in promoting rhetoric that would only cause hate,” Adam Soltani, executive director of CAIR, told KFOR on Thursday.
CAIR has been trying to have a meeting with the now disgraced official, but they claim they have been getting the runaround. Stein himself has told the media that he does not have time for a meeting with community members; it seems like Stein also does not have time to realize that MLK would have found him very problematic.