Chris Coons: Volunteer for Liberation Theology - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Chris Coons: Volunteer for Liberation Theology


Here we go again. 

Chris Coons, the freshly minted Democrat selected as Tea Party favorite and Republican nominee Christine O’Donnell’s opponent in the Delaware U.S. Senate race traveled to Africa in the 1980s — emerging as a committed leftist after volunteering for an organization supporting Black Liberation Theology.

The controversial religious philosophy espoused by radical left-wing activist James Cone and President Obama’s one-time spiritual mentor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Black Liberation Theology is an off-shoot of liberation theology, a Marxist-driven interpretation of Christianity.

And the liberal media — alarmed at O’Donnell’s success and busily running all manner off stories designed to portray her as a right-wing crazy — has suddenly gone missing on Coons. Silent on a stunning revelation that could prove uniquely fatal to Chris Coons’ Senate candidacy in the year of Tea Party rebellion against the Obama Administration’s agenda of wealth redistribution.

The Washington Post curiously says of Coons in their Coons profile only that he “spent time in South Africa and Kenya doing relief work.” The New York Times never mentions Coons’ work in Africa, choosing instead to describe him as an attorney and mentioning only his work with the homeless, the Investor Responsibility Center, and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Plus his educational background, a B.A. from Amherst, a law degree from Yale and a Master’s in Ethics from Yale Divinity School.

Yet nary a word from the Times about the now-New Castle County Executive spending time in South Africa or Kenya.

What’s striking amid all the probing of O’Donnell is what’s missing from both the Washington Post and the New York Times accounts of Coons, the Delaware Senate nominee Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid describes as “my pet.”

Coincidentally it is the same startling detail that is missing from Coons own website.

Instead Coons operatives supply one brief sentence on the Coons website about his time in Africa: “Chris also studied at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.”

That’s it.

But there is more to this story. Much more.

According to his biography as presented by the Washington Post, Coons wasn’t just in Kenya, he was also in South Africa. While it is plain from this May interview in Politico that his experiences in Kenya began turning Coons to the left, the South Africa connection claimed by the Post is never mentioned with respect to the origins of Coons suddenly well-hidden leftward leanings.

A hint — and perhaps more than a hint since the Coons campaign states flatly in the Politico article that Coons’ time in Africa turned him into a left-winger — comes in, of all places, Wikipedia. There, before he became famous overnight as O’Donnell’s opponent, it states flatly that after graduating from college in 1985 and working in Washington — where he wrote a book on South Africa — Coons’ time in Africa was spent doing more than simply attending the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Says Wikipedia, with a description that picks up from the Post:

He then worked as a volunteer for the South African Council of Churches and as a relief worker in Kenya…

All of which puts Coons in Africa in the mid-to-late 1980s, South Africa specifically, according to the Washington Post. And according to Politico, emerging as a leftist. But becoming a leftist after doing what? Says his pre-O’Donnell-generated fame Wikipedia entry, Coons was volunteering — and the word volunteering is important here — for the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

Which means that Coons decided he had some sort of obvious attraction to the work of SACC. That philosophical attraction for Coons was clearly powerful, as he effectively makes clear in Politico without mentioning South Africa. One doesn’t go all the way to Africa and South Africa specifically from Delaware or Washington just to volunteer for a group that believes something you don’t, regardless of the fact you are attending a school in the regional neighborhood.


SO WHAT WAS SACC up to in this period when Chris Coons crossed the Atlantic to South Africa and Kenya to “volunteer” and do “relief work”? What was SACC doing that Chris Coons seems not to want to discuss on his website? Or that leaves the Washington Post and the New York Times so incurious?

The name Frank Chikane becomes important. Chikane led protests against the apartheid regime in South Africa — and three cheers for that. Apartheid was a racist, despicable regime that was ultimately destroyed with the famous leadership of Nelson Mandela.

But there was something else going on in South Africa with those who believed in James Cone’s Black Liberation Theology that had nothing at all to do with an agenda of freedom for South African blacks. According to the website World Socialist Movement, that something else was “to transform black consciousness into class-consciousness.”

According to Who’s Who’s Southern Africa, Chikane joined something called the Institute for Contextual Theology, quickly becoming its director and later a “Co-ordinator” of the ICT. And what is that? The ICT is a Christian think-tank inside — yes — the South African Council of Churches. The same SACC that Frank Chikane would serve as General Secretary from the late-1980s until the mid-1990s.

The very same SACC for which Chris Coons crossed an ocean to volunteer. And what does the ICT promote? 

Yes indeed. Liberation theology. The Marxism-as-Christianity umbrella philosophy beneath which is grouped the racial particulars of Cone’s Black Liberation Theology.

In fact, the ICT was philosophically aligned with what was known in the day in South Africa as the Black Consciousness Movement. According to the World Socialist Movement website, the “writings and activities of James Cone…played a role in the BCM’s formation.” And what did the BCM believe? Say the folks at the World Socialist Movement, the BCM believed in

…state participation in industry and commerce… and an even larger role for the state in planning and control.

The websiteAfrican Christianity: A History of the Christian Church in Africa” says of the organization Coons sought out:

Probably the key institutional voice of the Contextualizing theologians was the South African Council of Churches.

The “Contextualizing theologians” were the believers in James Cones’ Black Liberation Theology.

Again according to the African Christianity website, Frank Chikane and other leaders in the liberation theology movement:

….were all united in the conviction that Christianity and the Gospel message had a edge of justice, liberation, and a preferential option for the poor. Many of them operated in a global theological context that included the Latin American theologies of Liberation, and all of them were firmly convinced that the Gospel is political.

Translation: this is the language of the socialism-as-religion push seen behind “social justice” in America and liberation theology in Latin America and elsewhere, in this case Africa. It is the language of Black Liberation Theology.

James Cone’s influence on the leadership of SACC was discussed in “James Cone’s Legacy in Africa: Confession as Political Praxis in the Kairos Document,” a paper written by O.U. Kalu, a Research Associate at the University of Pretoria, when he studied at the McCormick Theological Seminary in — yes — Chicago, Illinois. (A .pdf of the paper is available here.)

McCormick, where Cone’s South African admirer Kalu apparently wrote his paper, has played delighted host to — yes — the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Indeed, not only has McCormick hosted Wright from its podium, it has been advertising a book that includes a Wright sermon in a book Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750-present. And, small world, the Seminary has recently been advertising a September 16th book signing — mere days ago — for Preaching with Sacred Fire. Where? Wait for it.

The Trinity UCC Church in Chicago.

Trinity UCC. Famously the home church to the now retired Reverend Wright and his parishioner of twenty years, President Barack Obama. Wright, by the way, is also lauded in the paper written to celebrate James Cone’s legacy in Africa.

So, let’s stay focused on Chris Coons.

The Kairos Document mentioned in the title of this paper? This was influenced by James Cone? What was it and what did it say — and what in the world does this have to do with Chris Coons, Christine O’Donnell’s new opponent for the United States Senate seat from Delaware?

The Kairos Document was issued by a group of black South African theologians in 1985 — the year Chris Coons graduated from Amherst. It opposed apartheid — again, all to the good. But the Kairos Document, which is said to have been mostly drafted by Frank Chikane in his role at the Institute for Contextual Theology, was much more than that. It was a fierce advocate of James Cone’s Black Liberation Theology.

The Kairos Document specifically separated the problem of apartheid from socialism. Opposing the first, it supported the second. It read:

It would be quite wrong to see the present conflict as simply a racial war….The situation we are dealing with here is one of oppression. The conflict is between an oppressor and the oppressed. The conflict between two irreconcilable causes or interests in which the one is just and the other is unjust.”

So if socialism and liberation theology were “just,” what was “unjust”? Said Kairos: “any kind of domination and exploitation by a capitalist minority.”

Thus, by the time Chris Coons thought it an excellent idea to volunteer for the South African Council of Churches — and headed to Africa to do just that — the group’s pro-Marxist, pro-socialist, anti-capitalist views were well on display.

NOW LET US TURN to the estimable Sean Hannity.

In his book from earlier this summer, Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda,

Hannity recounts his early discovery of Reverend Wright and the world of Trinity UCC, James Cone, and Black Liberation Theology. It was Hannity who, on February 28, 2007, first began to understand before anyone else the link between these hard core leftists, the philosophy they championed — and the beliefs of rising Democratic presidential candidate, Chicago resident and Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

First on his Fox television show was Erik Rush,

a journalist who had discovered Trinity and written a piece on the connection between Wright, Marxism and Black Liberation Theology. Hannity quickly booked the heretofore nationally unknown Trinity minister — the Reverend Wright. In what would become a riveting exchange, the redistributionist “Black Liberation Theology” of Cone began to be revealed to the public and the rest of the media.

Yet in spite of Hannity’s dogged efforts throughout 2007 and 2008, the potential impact of all of this on average Americans if Obama were elected was ignored. Repeatedly Hannity brought the issue of Cone and Wright’s socialist philosophy into the spotlight. He patiently explained again and again the connection to Obama and a potential Obama presidency of its “Marxism dressed up as Christianity” (as liberation theology was accurately described over at the American Thinker by writer Kyle-Ann Shiver) view of the world.

To no avail. GOP nominee Senator John McCain refused to even make an issue out of it, and, with an electorate tired of George W. Bush, Obama won.

Now, two years later, the situation has changed dramatically.

A recent poll by no less than Bill Clinton allies James Carville and Stanley Greenberg shows a startling 55% of the American people — over half! — believe Obama is an outright socialist.

Now, the liberation theology chickens that Chris Coons was supporting in Africa have come home to roost in America. 

Car companies have been nationalized, the government has made a move to control banks, financial institutions and — at the top of the unpopularity chart — America’s health care system. Taxes are headed up, unemployment perpetually hovers close to double-digits, eye-popping deficits into the trillions loom for generations and just last week the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the poverty rate had soared to 14.3%, up from 13.2% in 2008. As the Wall Street Journal points out, this “translates into 43.6 million Americans living below the poverty line, the largest absolute number in the half-century for which comparable data are available.” Last week the Obama White House announced it was putting Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor New Hampshire whom Senator Judd Gregg calls a “social justice” advocate, in a position to, again in the Journal‘s words, “dictate how credit is allocated throughout the American economy.” Class warfare reigns.

In other words, America is right this minute in the tightening grip of “liberation theology” — exactly the philosophy that Delaware’s Chris Coons was so anxious to go to Africa and serve as a volunteer. The idea, as the South African Black Consciousness Movement had it, of “state participation in industry and commerce…and an even larger role for the state in planning and control.

Only to the Ruling Class is it any surprise Americans are furious. Americans — most recently all those Delaware Republicans surging into the voting booths to back Christine O’Donnell — now vividly understand with all too much precision the connection Hannity was explaining. They now understand the direct connection between the far-left ideas behind candidate Obama, James Cone, Jeremiah Wright, liberation theology –and their own everyday lives as Americans.

That understanding, along with the Tea Party movement that has just produced Christine O’Donnell’s victory in Delaware — and wins for Republicans Rand Paul in Kentucky, Mike Lee in Utah, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Joe Miller in Alaska and Marco Rubio in Florida — has launched the decidedly furious reaction to the philosophy Obama has used to govern the country.

The very same philosophy Chris Coons was aiding and abetting in his pilgrimage to volunteer for the South African Council of Churches.

IS THIS UNDERSTOOD by the political elites? Not when it comes to Delaware. Where the Ruling Class of Republican consultants and some party activists are still unable to grasp just how serious the message behind the Christine O’Donnell candidacy really is. With O’Donnell nominated, they are mocking her, bitterly asserting she has no chance to beat Chris Coons in part because of things O’Donnell — now 41 — said and did in her twenties.

Which ignores the glaringly obvious.

The Republican Establishment and the Left having now made O’Donnell’s actions in her twenties an issue, the question comes round.

What was Chris Coons doing in his twenties?

Answer? He was in Africa volunteering for the South African Council of Churches, a group that holds to the self-same Black Liberation Theology philosophy preached by James Cone and Jeremiah Wright. The philosophy that has at its core the principles of “Marxism dressed up as Christianity.” The philosophy that is at the very heart of the Obama administration and its actions since taking office two years ago.

The philosophy that Coons will undoubtedly all-too-eagerly represent if he is elected as an Obama Democrat to the seat once held by Obama Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware.

David Weigel over at the liberal Slate is not alone in noting:

But check out Coons’ message! In a Democratic state, he does not mention that he is a Democrat. We learn that he balanced the budget, cut spending, and cut his salary. That’s what Jim DeMint would do if we gave him New Castle County, isn’t it? 

Imagine that.

Chris Coons can’t even bring himself to mention he’s a Democrat in supposedly Blue State Delaware. So how exactly would the realization that he went out of his way to support a group advocating liberation theology be received in Delaware? And a liberal columnist is — really — trying to compare him to South Carolina’s conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint?


Do you think Jim DeMint would have volunteered to go to Africa in his twenties and volunteer for a group selling liberation theology — “Marxism dressed up as Christianity”?

Of course not.

Liberals have committed what in the world of baseball is called an “unforced error”: they made Christine O’Donnell’s twenties an issue in this critical campaign year.

Why was this a mistake?

Because now it has directed attention to exactly what Chris Coons was doing in his twenties. And what he was doing was “volunteering” — which is to say he was actively, quite deliberately aiding socialist Africans who believed in the liberation theology philosophy that is now at the very center of the controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s policies. There can be little doubt based on Coons volunteer work in Africa that if he ever got the chance to take Obama Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate seat from Delaware, he would instantly start voting with Barack Obama and the vision behind liberation theology that Coons found so dazzling during that 1980s sojourn to Africa.

It is exactly the same socialist vision of wealth redistribution preached by Jeremiah Wright in Barack Obama’s Trinity Church for twenty years while the future president sat in those pews. It is exactly the vision behind the policy and personnel of the Obama administration — from Van Jones the now-departed self-described Communist and White House Green Jobs czar to Mark Lloyd the Hugo Chavez-admiring FCC diversity czar to Anita Dunn the Mao-quoting ex-White House aide to Ron Bloom the SEIU negotiator turned “manufacturing czar” to Carol Browner, a leader in the climate-change division of the “Socialist International” turned Obama global warming czar to the nationalized health care admiring Medicare administrator Donald Berwick to the social justice-promoting consumer activist Elizabeth Warren and on and on — right into the Oval Office and President Barack Obama himself.

It is the vision that in fact has already resulted in Chris Coons raising New Castle County, Delaware taxes. What taxes? In a fashion that will only stoke voter anger, after promising in his 2004 election campaign that he wouldn’t raise taxes Coons raised property taxes by 5% in 2006, then again by 17.5% in 2007, and again by 25% in 2009. Coons has proposed to raise hotel taxes, paramedic taxes, and, in a hilariously stereotypical move reported by the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York — even taxes on 911 calls!

And raising taxes is, as Americans are learning the hard way, one of the tools used to meet the liberation theology goal of redistributing wealth in the name of social justice.

Much is being made of a college-era paper in which Coons claims he jokingly used the description of himself as “The Bearded Marxist.” As Politico described back in May, Coons said of his time in Kenya.

“[I]t is only too easy to return from Africa glad to be American and smugly thankful for our wealth and freedom,” added Coons. “Instead, Amherst had taught me to question, so in turn I questioned Amherst, and America.”

While he had no problem questioning America, apparently Coons was unwilling to question socialism, the South African Council of Churches, liberation theory, Black Liberation Theory, James Cone, Jeremiah Wright or the socialist principles of the Kairos Document. In fact, he said not a word about any of these things to Politico, much less is he saying anything to Delaware voters. Which is why, presumably, Harry Reid refers to Coons as his “pet.” Perhaps more should be seen in Coons’ statement that his experiences in Africa “warned me that my own favorite beliefs in the miracles of free enterprise and the boundless opportunities to be had in America were largely untrue.”

Really? Surprise, surprise. Wherever do you think Chris Coons learned that?

The American people are on to this game now. They get it to the max. Chris Coons wants to be the newest addition to the liberation theology zealotry in Washington — and the people of Delaware are supposed to be the passive yokels who agree to put him there. Even as they are losing their jobs, their homes and their entire hard won way of life because of the very philosophy Coons traveled thousands of miles to Africa to support.

Which is why Delaware Republicans, in a stunning doubling of turnout that no one predicted, just nominated Christine O’Donnell.

In a landslide.

Hello? Karl Rove? Republican Ruling Class?

Earth to Mars….

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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