Fake Martin Luther King Jr. Post Goes Viral On Facebook

Facebook was set afire with a variation on a quote of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that seemed perfectly applicable to the present moment, even though it was inaccurate.

Ding, dong, Osama Bin Laden is gone, and everyone has an opinion about his death — even the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The popular social networking site Facebook was set afire with a variation of a quote of the civil rights leader that seemed perfectly applicable to the present moment and the lie spread ad infinitum:

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The (mis-) quote attributed to the late great civil rights leader seemed to relay how no one should celebrate the death of another human being. Although Bin Laden might have deserved to be punished for his heinous acts, in the face of someone’s death, no one should ever rejoice.

Reportedly, the partial misquote was traced back to Jessica Dovey, who wrote on her Facebook page, the first part of the statement, then followed the sentiment with Dr. King’s language, which she placed in quotations. One of Dovey’s Facebook friends instantly became enamored with the quote and decided to pass it on. The statement went viral from there.

The quote’s biggest push came from entertainer Penn Jillette, who decided to Tweet the alleged quote to his 1.6 million followers. He later corrected it.

Apparently, the first part of the quote does have some of Dr. King’s language, but it’s not exact, according to what Steve Klein, a spokesperson for The King Center in Atlanta, told The Atlanta Jounal-Constitution.

Readers, do you think the misquoting will put a damper on the continued virality of this message reposting?

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.