Gibbs: Obama is mainstream Christian

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PAT: All right. Well, about 40 minutes ago, we told White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to get pencil and paper. Or a pen, you know, I don’t care. You know, write it on a word processor. If you’ve got an iPad or a computer handy, you can just type it out there.

STU: You can go to GlennBeck.com, become an insider, Insider Extreme and watch the video or listen to the audio. But either way, you need to make sure you understand what’s about to happen.

PAT: Yeah, we want to walk you through this because there was a question to him yesterday by Bill Press who is a genius. I mean, this guy is on top of things.

STU: He sold 135 books last week.

PAT: 135 books in one week!

STU: Yeah. And that’s obviously how he got the prominence to get in there to ask a question to our White House press secretary.

PAT: Wow, I bet Mark Twain sells more books than that and he’s been dead for 150 years.

STU: No doubt about that.

PAT: Seriously, 135 in a week.

STU: In a week.

PAT: Oh, man.

VOICE: For the last four days Glenn Beck has criticized the president for believing in liberation theology which he calls a Marxist form of Christianity. I’ve got two questions. One, does the president to your knowledge even know what liberation theology is?

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PAT: Hey, good question. To your knowledge.

STU: Right.

PAT: Does the president even know what Black Liberation Theology is?

STU: First of all, the question is completely wrong on several points. For example, it’s been a lot longer than four days.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Thank you for watching, Bill. Secondly, I love the defense here. The defense is, does he even know that this progressive form of Christianity exists?

PAT: The one where he sat and listened to it for 20 years. "Has he ever even heard of it? Yeah, I know he sat in the pew for 20 years listening to it, but has he heard of it?" What are you talking about?

STU: But Gibbs is nimble.

PAT: Are you serious?

STU: He’s nimble.

PAT: He’s very nimble and he’s always quick.

GIBBS: I don’t know the answer to that. I will say this, Bill.

STU: Umm.

GIBBS: Crude paraphrasing of an old quote and that is, people are entitled to their own opinion as ill informed as it may be, but they are not entitled to their own facts.

STU: No.

PAT: If that’s true, he’s out of a job.

STU: Yes.

PAT: Because he makes up his own facts every day.

GIBBS: The president is a committed mainstream Christian.

STU: Mainstream.

PAT: Committed? Really? When was the last time the guy’s been to church? He’s a committed mainstream Christian?

STU: I actually didn’t even pick that up. That’s true, a committed mainstream Christian.

PAT: Come on, man.

GIBBS: No evidence that would guide me as to what Glenn Beck would have any genuine knowledge as to what the president does or does not believe.

VOICE: So this Marxist form of Christianity?

GIBBS: Again I can only imagine where Mr. Beck conjured that from.

PAT: And that’s where we come in. We’re going to help you imagine where that conjuring came from.

STU: Did you notice someone actually asked you a question there? There was another reporter who said, when is he going back to church?

PAT: Yeah.

STU: I didn’t remember hearing that the first time we went through it.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Yes, we did conjure it. It was conjured by the Glenn Beck program, of course.

PAT: Nobody else has even talked about this, I guess.

STU: No, apparently not.

PAT: Nobody was mentioning Black Liberation Theology. This is completely out of the blue.

STU: It’s just like a wizard popped down from space and just conjured a spell. And that spell put this sentence on the website of the church that Barack Obama attended for 20 years.

PAT: That wouldn’t be Trinity United, would it?

STU: Trinity united church and I will read this slowly because I know you are writing it all down, Robert. Quote: The vision statement of Trinity United Church of Christ is based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book Black Power and Black Theology, end quote. You get all that? Do you need any of it repeated, Robert? That’s where it has been conjured from.

PAT: From the website of the church he attended for 20 years.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: Is that where you are conjuring this weak excuse?

STU: Exactly. Because you know Glenn was writing for their website at the time. That must have been how it got there. And let it be known that it’s not a one way street, either. This comes from the Christian Century magazine, a liberal Christian magazine. There is no denying, however, the strand of radical black theology influences Trinity. James Cone, the pioneer of Black Liberation Theology, is a much admired figure at Trinity. Cone told me that when he’s asked where his theology is institutionally embodied, he always mentions, always mentions Trinity. So the church itself says it’s a liberation theology church, the founder of liberation theology uses his church as an example of where it’s instituted, and we conjured that information.

PAT: And listen to mainstream James Cone, the founder of liberation theology. You know, what he believes.

CONE: Well, the cross, as I said, is God taking the side of the victim. It’s a symbol of that. God making ultimate identification with the powerless. Now, if the powerful in our society, the white people.

STU: White people.

CONE: If they want to become Christians.

PAT: If we want to.

CONE: They have to give up that power.

PAT: Otherwise we’re not Christian.

CONE: And become identified with the powerless, if you are going to be a Christian. You can’t be identified with the powerful and also a Christian at the same time.

PAT: No.

CONE: That’s a contradiction of terms.

STU: Contradiction of terms.

CONE: Now.

PAT: Now.

CONE: How do I know that you really are identifying with the victim?

PAT: How do you as my judge?

CONE: Well, if you are identifying with the victim, you not only want to feel good about that.

PAT: Right.

CONE: You also have to pay back that which you took.

STU: Oh, we’ve just got to

PAT: Dunn.

CONE: You don’t just say please forgive me now. The only way in which your repentance, your forgiveness can be authentic, your reception of it can be authentic, your repentance can be authentic is that you give back what you took.

PAT: And that’s how it can be what?

STU: Authentic.

PAT: Authentic? He didn’t really make that clear. He only said it three times.

PAT: No, he only said it three times. And by the way, of course, the criticism here is that Glenn is saying terrible attacks against Barack Obama’s religion.

PAT: Terrible attacks. And that’s what happens. Stop with the, we’re attacking Barack Obama’s religion. We’re not. We’re not attacking. We are informing.

STU: Hard to understand.

PAT: They keep telling us he’s a mainstream Christian. Okay. Well, he attended a church that is a Black Liberation Theology church for 20 years. So far as we know, he’s never changed.

STU: Yeah, if he’s had a huge moment of awakening

PAT: Let us know what it is.

STU: And moved away from blaming the white person of power for every problem in America.

PAT: Right.

STU: Which is what the founder of the liberation theology just said, if he’s had a big revelation since then, I’d like to know about it because I think it would be really important for the country.

PAT: And there was just an article written by some dufus who was talking about how it’s okay to attack Glenn’s religion now, and he claims he is not doing that.

STU: No, of course not.

PAT: Because Glenn is attacking Obama’s religion. First of all, Obama’s the president of the United States. We’re trying to inform people as to who he is and why he’s doing the things he’s doing. And we’re the American people. How they are so confused about him right now because the American people are under assault almost every day from the leftwing media. Because they don’t know who this guy is or what he’s all about. We’re trying to help you with that.

STU: Yeah. And that’s not

PAT: We’re trying to help you with that.

STU: And that’s not just people on the right or white people who don’t understand where he’s coming from. It’s half of black people, of black voters here in America. It’s half of, what is it, 40% of I don’t have the poll in front of me. Something like 40 it’s 46% of black voters and 40% of overall voters have no idea.

PAT: They don’t know.

STU: They don’t think he’s a Muslim. They just don’t understand what they see.

PAT: Yeah, it was 46% of black voters don’t know what religion he belongs to. They don’t know if he’s Christian, they don’t know what he is.

STU: Right.

PAT: Why is that? Is that because we’re all stupid, we’re all conspiracy theorists, or we’re all a little confused based on what we’ve seen and heard from this guy over the last three years? I say it’s the latter.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: And then because we’re saying that, now this guy feels free, and others like him, feel free to just attack Glenn’s religion, Catholicism in the same article, calling things that are sacred absurd. And then he claims then he turns around and says, I wasn’t saying anything bad about Glenn’s religion. You can’t have it both ways. Don’t try to play that nonsense. But the point is we’re trying to inform the American people as to who this guy is. He’s the president! Unfortunately we elected him without most people knowing a thing about him. This helps you understand, doesn’t it? So the founder of liberation theology is James Cone. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor, is a liberation theology pastor.

STU: The one the founder cites as the example of where it is.

PAT: Now, in his book, in James Cone’s book, the founder of liberation theology, we’re talking about where does the Marxism come from, I have no idea. Like these people have never heard this? What, are you kidding me? In his book For My People, Cone explains that the, quote, the Christian faith does not possess in its nature the means for analyzing the structure of capitalism. Marxism as a tool of social analysis can disclose the gap between appearance and reality and thereby help Christians to see how things really are. Marxism helps people see how things really are. He is advocating for Marxism. His disclosure of the ideological character of he says about Marx: His disclosure of the ideological character of bourgeois thought, indicating the connections between the ruling material forces of society and the ruling intellectual force, Marx’s thought is useful and attractive to Cone because it allows black theologians to critique racism in America on the basis of power and revolution. That’s what this liberation theology is all about. It’s about Marxism and empowering the victims.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: And telling victims that they are victims. And that there are people keeping you oppressed. That is not mainstream.

STU: No. And that was so there’s three claims there that Barack Obama has something to do with liberation theology. I think we’ve proven that he does, or at least did, unless he’s had a massive change.

PAT: Not that we don’t know about, yeah.

STU: Secondly, is it a mainstream church? I don’t know. You judge by that. If that’s what you think I’ve never heard words like that in my church but, you know, if that’s a mainstream church maybe it is doesn’t seem like anyone else seems to recognize that from the polling. And the third one, is it Marxist. Well, you just read from the guy who founded the ideology, you just read from his book.

PAT: And coming up we’re going to show you what Jeremiah Wright has said about Marxism. His own pastor, what has he said about Marxism?

STU: Don’t put your pad away yet, Robert.

PAT: Hang on, Robert.

STU: Keep writing!

PAT: We’re helpers. We’re helpers.

PAT: Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere. Glenn’s on vacation a little bit early. 888 727 BECK, 888 727 BECK. We’re trying to help White House press secretary Robert Gibbs who apparently hadn’t met Barack Obama until January 19th or 20th of 2009, the day of the inauguration, because he didn’t even know he belonged to a Black Liberation Theology church.

STU: Yeah, it’s weird. It’s weird that he didn’t know that.

PAT: Weird.

STU: In fact, and if you listen to Gibbs’ response, and this is typical of Gibbs, it’s not really a response to does he understand liberation theology. It’s a generic response to Glenn Beck accusation. Like, he does I don’t think Gibbs has, really has any idea what liberation theology is because he’s not a deep guy. I mean, bottom line is he hasn’t looked into this stuff too closely. He’s just responding generically to anything said by Glenn Beck.

PAT: Don’t sugar coat. He’s butt stupid.

STU: He’s butt stupid. That’s a better way to put it.

PAT: I mean, let’s just get to the heart of the matter.

STU: That’s the fair now that you say it that way and I analyze it in my head.

PAT: It rings true, doesn’t it? When you hear truth, you know it and you feel it in your heart. You know that Robert Gibbs is, in fact, butt stupid, don’t you?

STU: I do. I’m with you.

PAT: So he’s feigning ignorance or he is ignorant, whatever the case may be and so we’ve been showing you where this comes from because he couldn’t imagine where Glenn Beck has conjured up this notion that, first of all, he was a liberation theologist or had any idea even what it was. That liberation theology is Marxist, which we’ve shown you it is, and that it’s supposedly mainstream Christianity? Are you kidding me? This is not how my and then the other thing is, "Well, Barack Obama never heard any of that stuff."

STU: Yeah, that was his excuse back in the day.

PAT: Really? That was the I mean, read the book. I get a kick out of these people who say read his books. I mean, this guy’s made millions of dollars off of his books. Are people just buying it and setting it on the shelf and they don’t open it?

STU: They must be.

PAT: Open it and read it! It will inform you a little bit.

STU: What does it say, Pat?

PAT: Well, he said in part, this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policymakers in the White House and in the statehouse.

PAT: You heard that? What? What else did you hear, Barack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port au Prince see in a year. Where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere. That’s the world on which hope sits.

STU: White folks’ greed runs a world in need. Now, you can say that Barack Obama was trying to make the claim that he didn’t hear the crazy stuff Jeremiah Wright said. And right there you talk about stuff, white man’s greed runs a world in need.

PAT: He heard it.

STU: He did hear it.

PAT: He heard it.

STU: But maybe he didn’t hear the one individual moment that was played back over and over again from Wright about the AIDS created by the government or whatever. But he did hear the theology of the church.

PAT: Absolutely.

STU: He couldn’t have missed that.

PAT: Well, he said he found Jesus through Jeremiah Wright.

STU: Right. And the philosophy of the church, I mean, I can read it again for you, but I know you have it written down. So I won’t. But it’s a liberation theology church based on the writings of James Cone.

PAT: Here’s a little more from the book.

OLBERMANN: Did you know that he had made these statements before the videotape appeared?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, frankly I didn’t. I wasn’t in church during the time that these statements were made.

PAT: That’s the fantastic interview that he did with Olbermann where he denied hearing any of it after I mean, did anybody bother to crack the book open and just see what he said in it? I mean, at the time when all this is happening and he’s denying it and denying it and then, by the way, admitting it and admitting it and then denying it and then admitting it and we’ve played that back and forth, too. I mean, it’s comical.

STU: Yeah. And it’s so inconsistent, too. Looking back at this, it’s amazing that this stuff happened when it was not really investigated because people just kept playing sound clips.

PAT: Man.

STU: But I mean, look this is again the quote from the website saying it’s based on the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book Black Power and Black Theology. This is from Jeremiah Wright’s church’s website, the church he went to for 20 years. Can you imagine if a Republican candidate went to a church that was based on the publication of a book called White Power and White Theology?

PAT: Oh, my gosh. He would be out of office.

STU: Can you imagine if that happened?

PAT: Out of office. And then the Marxist stuff, okay? Here’s Jeremiah Wright, his actual pastor for 20 years, at a Marxist convention.

REVEREND WRIGHT: To the people. My work with liberation theology, with Latin American theologians with the Black Theology Project and the Cuban Council of Churches taught me 30 years ago the importance of Marx and the Marxist analysis of the social realities of the vulnerable and the oppressed who were trying desperately to break free of the political economies undergirded by this country that were choking them and cutting off any hope of a possible future where all of the people would benefit. My exposure to the FMLN in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and my presence at the 15th Jamahiriya in Libya taught me what I have read in the pages of the Monthly Review which is, as Joshua Stanton says, though we need not always agree with one another we must do the work necessary to at least understand one another, we must do the work necessary to at least understand one another.

PAT: I remember when I went to the Jamahiriya in Libya. I felt the same way.

STU: I did, too.

PAT: We must all agree with each other.

STU: Pat, this is an insurmountable case.

PAT: It is. It is.

STU: Only denial is the answer to this by Gibbs. That’s the only thing he can do is deny the truth. This is insurmountable.

PAT: He has gone from spokesman to spokesliar. It’s a flat out lie. It’s beyond stupidity. It’s a flat out lie and everybody knows it.

[NOTE: Transcript may have been edited to enhance readability - audio archive includes full segment as it was originally aired]