GLENN: From Radio City in Midtown Manhattan, this is the third most listened to show in all of America. Hello and welcome. We have Ken Blackwell on the phone and I just figured out this morning, Ken Blackwell is the guy — do you remember when, Stu, when I got Mayor Coleman on and Mayor Coleman was just supposed to come on because I was just going to pass the torch; will somebody watch out for this kid in, what was the name of that school, that horrible school in Ohio. I said, somebody watch over this kid and just trying to get the mayor on. The mayor completely wigged out, said I questioned his manhood and everything else, and I didn’t do.
STU: Right. And we’ve seen this pattern now over and over and over again when we talk about a local issue. They just said, oh, the big bad national guy is coming after me and he must love my opponent.
GLENN: Right. His opponent in the race for governor was Ken Blackwell. And I was linked to Ken. I didn’t even know Ken. I had Ken on the show last night. I didn’t even piece it together that it’s the same Ken Blackwell. He’s on today. Ken, how are you, sir?
BLACKWELL: I’m doing just fine. How are you guys doing?
GLENN: Very good.
BLACKWELL: That’s well.
GLENN: Did we ever speak before the Mayor Coleman thing?
BLACKWELL: No, we didn’t.
GLENN: You didn’t set me up on that one? You didn’t call me and said, Glenn, make sure you —
BLACKWELL: Absolutely not, just kindred spirit.
GLENN: No offense, Ken, I didn’t even know who you were at the time. All right. So Ken, he was a former U.S. ambassador to the UN. He has seen the Black Liberation Theology and black liberation movement happened all around the world and I thought that it would be important for us to understand what it is and how prevalent it is in the African-American community. This is under the advice of Barack Obama as I see it. He says we should look into racism in America. Okay, then let’s do that.
Ken, explain what Black Liberation Theology is.
BLACKWELL: Well, first let me put it in an even broader context, Glenn. This is a global movement. It is well over 50 years old. It was manifested, it has been manifested in liberation movements, Marxist insurrections across the globe, most notably in Latin America and in Africa. This is a domestic form of liberation theology, given a African-American vein. Liberation theology is a belief system about liberal agendas. It is socially socialistic and economic policy, it’s belief in wealth distribution. The proponents of liberation theology like Reverend Wright says that God commands us to form government that will supervise our economy to create government subsidized jobs under central government planning, guaranteed healthcare and education by having government control both.
GLENN: Where does it say that —
BLACKWELL: It is something that really took root in heavily Catholic countries where Marxists understood that they couldn’t uproot the church. So what they tried to do was through the crafting of a theological world view, they tried to coopt Catholicism. And so he began to look at Pope John Paul, II, he dispatched Cardinal Ratzinger who is now Pope Benedict to be a power force to this insurgency of this so-called liberation theology.
GLENN: Where does somebody like Reverend Wright find any of that kind of stuff in scripture? Any idea?
BLACKWELL: Well, you know, they will tell you of Christ’s, you know, changed the social order of his time. What happens, what I said last evening on your show was that, you know, they tend to forget that Christ, you know, was the change. He was the transformational force and he didn’t come with a Marxist ideology, a collectivist view. I don’t know, outside of it being convenient to say that Christ changed the social order of his time. I don’t know where they find the biblical roots. But you did something yesterday that I just recommend that you continue to tell people to go over and over again and that is, one, the website address so that they can go to the web page of Trinity United Church of Christ and look on the website and read for themselves the manifesto, the explanation of the doctrine. When you did it yesterday, I got all KINDS of feedback from people saying, man, you ought to just carry a copy of that in your pocket so when anybody questions, you know, your seriousness, you can just take it out and read it.
GLENN: Yeah. The website itself talks about the theology. It talks about the theology of Reverend Wright and of this church and what they base it on, which is — I can’t remember his first name, Cone who has written — who wrote a book that is based on the Black Liberation Theology and it is — Reverend Wright says it’s inspirational and the basis of his belief and it is absolutely frightening.
Now, I just had an African-American call me a minute ago and say, Glenn, what you don’t understand is when the African-American community says that the white man is the problem, what they mean is that white government, that our government is run by whites, but that doesn’t make sense to me because Reverend Wright has said that white racism is endemic.
BLACKWELL: Look. Glenn, liberation theology teaches that Jesus Christ came to be a political revolutionary. They teach that biblical phrases such as the Messiah coming to, quote, set the captives free speaks to changing forms of government to aid the downtrodden, not — they don’t speak about this in terms of spiritual freedom through a relationship, an individual relationship with God. Liberation theology has been cited by political insurrectionists and both by leaders of revolution again for the past half century or longer and I think it’s a fundamental issue here that must be publicly debated over the airwaves and in our communities and in our churches. The First Amendment in our Bill of Rights ensures that every individual American has the right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience, and I don’t argue with that. I support that. I believe in religious freedom.
But I’ll tell you something. Mr. Obama and Reverend Wright, while they have the right to believe whatever they wish about God and his will for them and for us, to paraphrase an old theologian, in America you have the legal right to be theologically wrong and I think that they are theologically wrong. And I think the whole race issue has actually stated — you know, excuse me, clouded this valid issue and this valid debate on world views. And Barack Obama, who aspires to be our commander-in-chief, our President, our Chief Executive Officer, you know, I think he now has laid out the case for us to ask him how this, these theological underpinnings actually impact the way that he would govern.
GLENN: Well, he would say that he’s not — he doesn’t subscribe to the Black Liberation Theology. However, that would be like Mitt Romney saying, I go to the Mormon church but I don’t subscribe to the Latter Day Saint theology.
BLACKWELL: Right. And last evening I had the occasion to debate a pastor who was defending Wright’s right, you know, to worship according to —
GLENN: He has every right to do that.
BLACKWELL: Right, in his own conscience.
BLACKWELL: When he was asked, do you believe that liberation theology, you know, is the theological orientation of the majority of black churches, he said no. And he said, I know it’s not mine. And so while he does have a right to worship according to the dictates of his conscience, you know, he was pushing back against this notion that this was the dominant world view of the African-American church because I tell you, anybody who thinks it is either doesn’t go to — hasn’t experienced a number of African-American churches or they haven’t read the doctrine as expressed on the website of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
GLENN: So wait a minute. I don’t understand this. Are you saying it is the dominant view? You are saying it’s not the dominant view?
BLACKWELL: I’m saying it’s not the dominant view.
GLENN: Well, there is a new survey out this morning. Stu, what was that survey, that it is? Maybe it was just phrased that it was much more prevalent than Americans would care to believe, that it is a force in America. So maybe that’s — I’ll have to look up that survey again. I thought it was the prevalent view, but —
BLACKWELL: And I’ll tell you what happens is, you know, a lot of folks confuse, you know, churches that have a mission toward social justice, clearly folks, that that’s the same thing as doctrine of liberation theology. That’s just not the case.
GLENN: Okay. Well, there’s — I mean, there’s a huge difference and I think it is a fair question. You know, it was a fair question to ask Mitt Romney, not over and over and over again but it was a fair question to ask Mitt Romney: How do the views of your church and what you believe influence you, how do the spiritual advisors of your church, the leaders of your church, what kind of access will they have to you and how will they influence you in decisions. If he indeed is a member of this church, which he is; he went for 20 years; but he says that he doesn’t subscribe to this theology, which is the church’s and the reverend’s theology, it is more than fair to say how does this influence your policies. Because this church is based on policies. It is based on socialism. It is based on the redistribution of wealth. It is "Take it away from the rich white man and give it to others." Correct or not?
BLACKWELL: And put it even in further perspective, if a pacifist was running for President or a person who was a member of a congregation —
BLACKWELL: — of strict passivism.
BLACKWELL: — was running for President of the United States, it would be a legitimate question to that person to say will your church doctrine influence your decision making and behavior at the President’s and the chief, you know, the commander-in-chief of this nation if you’re so elected. And that’s a legitimate question. And so I think you’re absolutely right. As it relates to how your faith and your theology affect your execution of your constitutional responsibilities, that’s a legitimate set of questions.
GLENN: All right. Ken Blackwell, thank you so much. We’ll talk to you again.
BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. Bye-bye.