Saturday, September 4, 2010

Black Liberation Theology

President Obama acknowledges that while living in Chicago he went to church almost every Sunday for twenty years to listen to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons. Rev. Wright has told us that he is an ardent admirer of James Cone, the man who claims to have founded Black Liberation Theology. We can assume, then, that President Obama was hearing, not infrequently, Black Liberation Theology preached from the pulpit at Trinity U.C.C. and that he found it congenial enough to continue to attend for two decades.

So what is Black Liberation Theology? Kyle-Anne Shiver at American Thinker breaks it down for us, but first she lays a little groundwork. Here's part of it:
Writing on "Faith," in The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama went to great lengths to explain that his own "conversion" was enabled not by an orthodox Christian awakening, but by the explicitly political nature of the Black Liberation Theology preached by Jeremiah Wright, Jr. And the thrust of Obama's entire chapter on faith in his own book was to show how his own liberation theology should not frighten secular progressives because it bore little to no resemblance to the religion of those Bible Belt "bitter clingers." As observant Americans know well, Barack Obama was so ardent a follower of Jeremiah Wright's brand of Christianity that he named his book after a Wright sermon, The Audacity of Hope.

While it is true that Barack Obama never (that I know of) used the explicit words "Black Liberation Theology" in his speeches or his books, everything about his claims to faith in his writing, his speeches, and his current actions as president is filled with the tenets of this fringe system of beliefs.
What are these beliefs that have shaped Mr. Obama's worldview? Shiver quotes from Cone's writings:
[From] Black Theology and Black Power: Whiteness, as revealed in the history of America, is the expression of what is wrong with man. It is a symbol of man's depravity. God cannot be white, even though white churches have portrayed him as white (p. 150). The coming of Christ means a denial of what we thought we were. It means destroying the white devil in us (p. 150). Negro hatred of white people is not pathological -- far from it. It is a healthy human reaction to oppression, insult, and terror. White people are often surprised at the Negro's hatred of them, but it should not be surprising (p. 14).
[From] God of the Oppressed: Black people must be aware of the extreme dangers of speaking too lightly of reconciliation with whites. Just because we work with them and sometimes worship alongside them should be no reason to claim that they are truly Christian and thus part of our struggle (p. 222).
[From] Speaking the Truth: Liberation is not simply a consequence of the experience of sanctification. Rather, sanctification is liberation. To be sanctified is to be liberated -- that is politically engaged in the struggle of freedom. When sanctification is defined as a commitment to the historical struggle for political liberation, then it is possible to connect it with socialism and Marxism, the reconstruction of society on the basis of freedom and justice for all (p. 33).
[From] A Black Theology of Liberation: What need have we for a white Jesus when we are not white but black? If Jesus Christ is white and not black, he is an oppressor, and we must kill him. The appearance of black theology means that the black community is now ready to do something about the white Jesus, so that he cannot get in the way of our revolution (p. 111).
One certainly shouldn't jump to the conclusion that the President of the United States shares all these odious views, but it certainly should give us pause that he would subject himself and his family to such vitriolic racism for twenty years. Why did he? What does he really believe? Would not the media be all over a Republican president who spent two decades of his life listening to a pastor who was a proponent of the KKK? Why are they so indifferent in this case? Perhaps they simply believe Mr. Obama's church attendance was insincere, a cynical ploy to enable him to network with community power-brokers.

Whatever the case, one thing this article helps us understand, although Shiver never mentions it - is why so many Americans question whether Mr. Obama really is a Christian. Black Liberation Theology is certainly unlike any form of Christianity with which most people are familiar. There's much, much more in her article. Give it a read.