Heard the show: Black Liberation Theology


In case you missed our series this week on the theology behind Barack Obama's church of 20 years, Black Liberation Theology, here are all three parts in the series. While Obama dismisses the controversial comments as individual comments that shouldn't overshadow all of the good---this proves the opposite. There is a clear ideology behind the comments that offer a perfect explanation of how Reverend Wright arrived at his conclusions. This is what Obama's church actually believes.

What is Black Liberation Theology?




Wright's Black Liberation Theology


By Anthony B. Bradley


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What is Black liberation theology anyway? Barrack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright catapulted black liberation theology onto a national stage, when America discovered Trinity United Church of Christ. Understanding the background of the movement might give better clarity into Wright's recent vitriolic preaching. A clear definition of Black theology was first given formulation in 1969 by the National Committee of Black Church Men in the midst of the civil-rights movement:

"Black theology is a theology of black liberation. It seeks to plumb the black condition in the light of God's revelation in Jesus Christ, so that the black community can see that the gospel is commensurate with the achievements of black humanity. Black theology is a theology of 'blackness.' It is the affirmation of black humanity that emancipates black people from White racism, thus providing authentic freedom for both White and black people. It affirms the humanity of White people in that it says 'No' to the encroachment of White oppression."

In the 1960s, Black churches began to focus their attention beyond helping Blacks cope with national racial discrimination particularly in urban areas.

The notion of "Blackness" is not merely a reference to skin color, but rather is a symbol of oppression that can be applied to all persons of color who have a history of oppression (except Whites, of course). So in this sense, as Wright notes, "Jesus was a poor black man" because he lived in oppression at the hands of "rich White people." The overall emphasis of Black liberation theology is the Black struggle for liberation from various forms of "White racism" and oppression.

James Cone, the chief architect of black liberation theology in his book A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), develops Black theology as a system. In this new formulation, Christian theology is a theology of liberation--"a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ," writes Cone. Black consciousness and the Black experience of oppression orient black liberation theology--i.e., one of victimization from White oppression.

One of the tasks of Black theology, says Cone, is to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of oppressed Blacks. For Cone, no theology is Christian theology unless it arises from oppressed communities and interprets Jesus' work as that of liberation. Christian theology is understood in terms of systemic and structural relationships between two main groups: victims (the oppressed) and victimizers (oppressors). In Cone's context, writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the great event of Christ's liberation was freeing African Americans from the centuries-old tyranny of White racism and White oppression.

American White theology, which Cone never clearly defines, is charged with having failed to help Blacks in the struggle for liberation. Black theology exists because "White religionists" failed to relate the gospel of Jesus to the pain of being Black in a White racist society.

For Black theologians White Americans do not have the ability to recognize the humanity in persons of color, Blacks need their own theology to affirm their identity in terms of a reality that is anti-Black--Blackness stands for all victims of White oppression. "White theology," when formed in isolation from the Black experience, becomes a theology of White oppressors, serving as divine sanction from criminal acts committed against Blacks. Cone argues that even those White theologians who try to connect theology to Black suffering rarely utter a word that is relevant to the Black experience in America. White theology is not Christian theology at all. There is but one guiding principle of Black theology: an unqualified commitment to the Black community as that community seeks to define its existence in the light of God's liberating work in the world.

As such, Black theology is a survival theology because it helps Blacks navigate White dominance in American culture. In Cone's view, Whites consider Blacks animals, outside of the realm of humanity, and attempted to destroy Black identity through racial assimilation and integration programs--as if Blacks have no legitimate existence apart from Whiteness. Black theology is the theological expression of a people deprived of social and political power. God is not the God of White religion but the God of Black existence. In Cone's understanding, truth is not objective but subjective--a personal experience of the Ultimate in the midst of degradation.

The echoes of Cone's theology bled through, the now infamous, anti-Hilary excerpt by Rev. Wright. Clinton is among the oppressing class ("rich White people") and is incapable of understanding oppression ("ain't never been called a n-gg-r") but Jesus knows what it was like because he was "a poor black man" oppressed by "rich White people." While black liberation theology is not main stream in most black churches, many pastors in Wright's generation are burdened by Cone's categories which laid the foundation for many to embrace Marxism and a distorted self-image of perpetual "victim" which we be explored in the next two columns.


 

Wright's Theology as Victimology


By Anthony B. Bradley


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Black Liberation theology actually encourages a victim mentality among blacks. John McWhorters' book Losing the Race, will be helpful here. Victimology, says McWhorter, is the adoption of victimhood as the core of one's identity--for example, like one who suffers through living in "a country and who lived in a culture controlled by rich white people." It is a subconscious, culturally inherited affirmation that life for Blacks in America has been in the past and will be in the future a life of being victimized by the oppression of Whites. In today's terms, it is the conviction that, forty years after the Civil Rights Act, conditions for Blacks have not substantially changed. As Wright intimates, for example, scores of black men regularly get passed over by cab drivers.

Reducing black identity to "victim" distorts the reality of true progress. For example, was Obama a victim of widespread racial oppression at the hand of "rich white people" before graduating from Columbia University, Harvard Law School magna cum laude, or after he acquired his estimated net worth of $1.3 million? How did "rich white people" keep Obama from succeeding? If Obama is the model of an oppressed black man, I want to be oppressed next! With my graduate school debt my net worth is literally negative $52,659.

The overall result, says McWhorter, is that "the remnants of discrimination hold an obsessive indignant fascination that allows only passing acknowledgement of any signs of progress." Jeremiah Wright infused with victimology, wielded self-righteous indignation in the service of exposing the inadequacies Hilary Clinton's world of "rich white people." The perpetual creation of a racial identity born out of self-loathing and anxiety often spends more time inventing reasons to cry racism than working toward changing social mores, and often inhibits movement toward reconciliation and positive mobility.

McWhorter articulates three main objections of victimology: First, victimology condones weakness in failure. Victimology tacitly stamps approval on failure, lack of effort, and criminality. Behaviors and patterns that are self-destructive are often approved of as cultural or presented as unpreventable consequences from previous systemic patterns. Black liberation theologians are clear on this point: "People are poor because they are victims of others," says Dr. Dwight Hopkins, a black liberation theologian teaching at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Second, victimology hampers progress because, from the outset, it focuses attention on obstacles. For example, in Black liberation theology, the focus is on the impediment of Black freedom in light of the Goliath of White racism.

Third, victimology keeps racism alive because many Whites are constantly painted as racist with no evidence provided. Racism charges create a context for backlash and resentment fueling new attitudes among whites not previously held or articulated, and creates "separatism"--a suspension of moral judgment in the name of racial solidarity. Does Jeremiah Wright foster separatism or racial unity and reconciliation?

For black liberation theologians Sunday is uniquely tied to redefining their sense of being human within a context of marginalization. "Black people who have been humiliated and oppressed by the structures of White society six days of the week gather together each Sunday morning in order to experience another definition of their humanity," says James Cone in his book Speaking the Truth (1999).

Many black theologians believe that both racism and socio-economic oppression continue to augment the fragmentation between Whites and Blacks. Historically speaking, it makes sense that Black theologians would struggle with conceptualizing social justice and the problem of evil as it relates to the history of colonialism and slavery in the Americas.

Is black liberation theology helping? Wright's liberation theology has stirred up resentment, backlash, Obama defections, separatism, white guilt, caricature, and offense. Preaching to a congregation of middle-class blacks about their victim identity invites a distorted view of reality, fosters nihilism, and divides rather than unites.

 

Black Liberation Is Marxist Liberation


By Anthony B. Bradley


Thursday, March 27, 2008

One of the pillars of Obama's home church, Trinity United Church of Christ, is "economic parity." On the website, Trinity claims that God is not pleased with "America's economic mal-distribution." Among all of controversial comments by Jeremiah Wright the idea of massive wealth redistribution is the most alarming. The code language "economic parity" and references to "mal-distribution" is nothing more than channeling the twisted economic views of Karl Marx. Black liberation theologians have explicitly stated a preference for Marxism as an ethical framework for the black church because Marxist thought is predicated on a system of oppressor class (whites) versus victim class (blacks).

Black Liberation theologians James Cone and Cornel West have worked diligently to embed Marxist thought into the black church since the 1970s. For Cone, Marxism best addressed remedies to the condition of Blacks as victims of White oppression. In For My People, Cone explains that "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."

In God of the Oppressed, Cone said that Marx's chief contribution is "his disclosure of the ideological character of bourgeois thought, indicating the connections between the 'ruling material force 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.

For Cone, integrating Marx into Black theology helps theologians see just how much social perceptions determine theological questions and conclusions. Moreover, these questions and answers are "largely a reflection of the material condition of a given society."

In 1979, Cornel West offered a critical integration of Marxism and Black theology in his essay, "Black Theology and Marxist Thought" because of the shared human experience of oppressed peoples as victims. West sees a strong correlation between Black theology and Marxist thought because "both focus on the plight of the exploited, oppressed and degraded peoples of the world, their relative powerlessness and possible empowerment." This common focus prompts West to call for "a serious dialogue between Black theologians and Marxist thinkers"--a dialogue that centers on the possibility of "mutually arrived-at political action."

In his book Prophesy Deliverance, West believes that by working together, Marxists and Black theologians can spearhead much-needed social change for those who are victims of oppression. He appreciates Marxism for its "notions of class struggle, social contradictions, historical specificity, and dialectical developments in history" that explain the role of power and wealth in bourgeois capitalist societies. A common perspective among Marxist thinkers is that bourgeois capitalism creates and perpetuates ruling-class domination--which, for Black theologians in America, means the domination and victimization of Blacks by Whites. American has been over run by "White racism within mainstream establishment churches and religious agencies," writes West.

Perhaps it is the Marxism imbedded in Obama's attending Trinity Church that should raise red flags. "Economic parity" and "distribution" language implies things like government-coerced wealth redistribution, perpetual minimum wage increases, government subsidized health care for all, and the like. One of the priorities listed on Obama's campaign website reads, "Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers."

Black Liberation Theology, originally intended to help the black community, may have actually hurt many blacks by promoting racial tension, victimology, and Marxism which ultimately leads to more oppression. As the failed "War on Poverty" has exposed, the best way to keep the blacks perpetually enslaved to government as "daddy" is to preach victimology, Marxism, and seduce blacks into thinking that upward mobility is someone else's responsibility in a free society.

Anthony B. Bradley is a research fellow at the Acton Institute, and assistant professor of theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. His PhD dissertation is titled, "Victimology in Black Liberation Theology."

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday, Harvard Law professor and lawyer on President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team Alan Dershowitz explains the history of impeachment and its process, why the framers did not include abuse of power as criteria for a Constitutional impeachment, why the Democrats are framing their case the way they are, and what to look for in the upcoming Senate trial.

Dershowitz argued that "abuse of power" -- one of two articles of impeachment against Trump approved by House Democrats last month -- is not an impeachable act.

"There are two articles of impeachment. The second is 'obstruction of Congress.' That's just a false accusation," said Dershowitz. "But they also charge him, in the Ukraine matter, with abuse of power. But abuse of power was discussed by the framers (of the U.S. Constitution) ... the framers refused to include abuse of power because it was too broad, too open-ended.

"In the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution, it would lead presidents to serve at the will of Congress. And that's exactly what the framers didn't want, which is why they were very specific and said a president can be impeached only for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he added.

"What's alleged against President Trump is not criminal," added Dershowitz. "If they had criminal issues to allege, you can be sure they would have done it. If they could establish bribery or treason, they would have done it already. But they didn't do it. They instead used this concept of abuse of power, which is so broad and general ... any president could be charged with it."

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On Friday's radio program, Bill O'Reilly joins Glenn Beck discuss the possible outcomes for the Democrats in 2020.

Why are former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama working overtime to convince Americans they're more moderate than most of the far-left Democratic presidential candidates? Is there a chance of a Michelle Obama vs. Donald Trump race this fall?

O'Reilly surmised that a post-primary nomination would probably be more of a "Bloomberg play." He said Michael Bloomberg might actually stand a chance at the Democratic nomination if there is a brokered convention, as many Democratic leaders are fearfully anticipating.

"Bloomberg knows he doesn't really have a chance to get enough delegates to win," O'Reilly said. "He's doing two things: If there's a brokered convention, there he is. And even if there is a nominee, it will probably be Biden, and Biden will give [him] Secretary of State or Secretary of Treasury. That's what Bloomberg wants."

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On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings, explained his newly filed lawsuit, which seeks the records of contact between Ukraine prosecutors and the U.S. Embassy officials in Kiev during the 2016 election.

The records would provide valuable information on what really happened in Ukraine, including what then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were doing with Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, Solomon explained.

The documents, which the State Department has withheld thus far despite repeated requests for release by Solomon, would likely shed light on the alleged corruption that President Donald Trump requested to be investigated during his phone call with the president of Ukraine last year.

With the help of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Solomon's lawsuit seeks to compel the State Department to release the critical records. Once released, the records are expected to reveal, once and for all, exactly why President Trump wanted to investigate the dealings in Ukraine, and finally expose the side of the story that Democrats are trying to hide in their push for impeachment.

"It's been a one-sided story so far, just like the beginning of the Russia collusion story, right? Everybody was certain on Jan. 9 of 2017 that the Christopher Steele dossier was gospel. And our president was an agent of Russia. Three years later, we learned that all of that turned out to be bunk, " Solomon said.

"The most important thing about politics, and about investigations, is that there are two sides to a story. There are two pieces of evidence. And right now, we've only seen one side of it," he continued. "I think we'll learn a lot about what the intelligence community, what the economic and Treasury Department community was telling the president. And I bet the story was way more complicated than the narrative that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] has woven so far."

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Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

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