The Democratic dogfight for the presidential nomination is a gift that keeps on giving. Without it, we would never witness the liberal mainstream media divided between the Obama and Clinton camps. Thus we see — with the rest of the nation for a change — things out in the open which would have been buried had it been otherwise. And so on Tuesday morning, all three cable news networks showed the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club speech on “the black religious experience,” live and in its glorious entirety.
Listening to Wright’s unapologetic, egotistic, racist rantings, one is tempted to believe that he is working for the Clinton or McCain campaign, but I couldn’t shake the old saying that even the devil quotes scripture. If you have not had the chance to view it, I encourage you to stop right now and take the time to read or watch the entire speech. Nearly every word of his separatist manifesto is dripping with supercilious disdain, especially for those of “European heritage”; a term he uses repeatedly in a sardonic and derisive manner.
The main thrust of his talk centered on the differences between “European” and black Christian worship; particularly what he calls the “prophetic theology of the black church,” or black liberation theology. He explained that liberation theology was first propagated in Latin America and was adopted in the 1960s by Dr. James Cone, whom he identifies as a good friend, citing his “inimitable and incomparable contributions he has made and continues to make in the field of theology.” What are these “incomparable contributions?” Here’s one from Cone’s book, A Black Theology of Liberation:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community….Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.
He continued by explaining the theories of Dr. William Augustus Jones; that the way we perceive God (theology) affects the way we see ourselves (anthropology) and therefore the way we order our lives (sociology). Ergo, “If I see God as male, if I see God as white male, if I see God as superior, as God over us and not Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’, if I see God as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, sexist, or misogynist, then I see humans through that lens….And I order my society where I can worship God on Sunday morning wearing a black clergy robe and kill others on Sunday evening wearing a white Klan robe.”
Might this kind of thinking have colored Barack Obama’s views on rural whites who “cling” to religion and guns out of bitterness? Wright’s influence can also be perceived in another of Obama’s odd religious statements. Wright has said of 9/11, “You cannot do terrorism to others and have it not come back to you.” He purports that this view is based on the Bible’s Golden Rule; kind of like Obama’s quizzical citation of the Sermon on the Mount to justify the gay lifestyle.
But Biblical clarity doesn’t seem to matter to Wright, who said, “[T]he Christianity of the slaveholder is not the Christianity of the slave.” Now, this would have come as a great surprise to St. Paul who said, “For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3: 26-29)
Make no mistake about it, this speech has really painted Barack Obama into a corner. In it, Wright used the term “black church” no less than 25 times, making it very clear that should Obama wish to repudiate him, he must take on the entire black church; or at least the one he attended for 20 years. Indeed, Obama has said that “I can no more disown [Wright] than I can disown the black community.”
So either Barack Obama subscribes to what he heard at Wright’s church for 20 years, or he is, like so many politicians, a religious fraud. But even should Obama go on to disavow every word Wright has ever spoken in public or private, he cannot erase the fact that he is a member of a church that specifically espouses> black liberation theology, as most helpfully described by Jeremiah Wright.
What will Barack Obama do? Rev. Wright himself gave us a clue on Tuesday when he said about Obama’s repudiation of him: “We both know that if Obama had not said what he said, he would never get elected.”
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