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14 December 2009

The Religious Left: Obama and Black Liberation Theology

By Gina Liggett

New Home Church is Politically Correct for Religious Leftist Obama

President Obama finally found a home church last June after breaking his 20-year-old spiritual ties with his former pastor, the venom-spewing Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The First Family now belongs to the same non-denominational Christian church attended by former President G.W. Bush, Evergreen Chapel at Camp David. It was probably more politically palatable for Obama to align with a church open to hundreds of military personnel with sermons delivered by a Navy Lieutenant chaplain, than to join another church that proselytizes Black Liberation Theology.

As we know, for decades the Religious Right has been bludgeoning the wall separating church and state. Now the Religious Left has made its national debut, with President Obama as the poster child. While leftist Christianity may seem like an oxymoron because of the Marxist influence on the American Left, it's actually a perfect marriage of irrational ideas. Defenders of capitalism and freedom have at least as much cause to worry about the Religious Left's agenda as the puritanical obsessions of conservative evangelicals.

The newly-empowered Religious Left is egalitarian, tribal, anti-reason, and deeply anti-capitalist. And unlike the Religious Right which focuses on the soul and the glory of heaven, the Religious Left promotes activism in Jesus's name in the here and now. In examining Black Liberation Theology, which has been our President's spiritual bedrock for over 20 years, it becomes very clear where he will take America -- despite the eye-rolling stunt to appear more worthy of the title "Commander-in-Chief."

Foaming at the Mouth: What the Reverend Wright Says to America and Obama

Months before the 2008 Presidential election, the media let a spitting, scratching cat out of the bag: Reverend Jeremiah Wright. YouTube videos of his pugilistic, outrageous sermons shocked many Americans, ultimately leading to Obama disavowing his relationship with the fire-breathing Reverend.

You may remember Reverend Wright's infamous sermon in the late fall of 2001 in which he blamed American friendship with Israel for the 9/11 attacks by Islamic terrorists:

Last year's conference in Africa on racism, which the United States would not participate in because somebody dared to point out the racism that still supports both here and in Israel. I said that dirty word again... Don't be skerd! Don't be skerd! You don't see the connection between 9-1-1-0-1 and the Israeli-Palestinian?! Something wrong?! You wanna borrow my glasses?"
Or how about the "chickens come home to roost" sermon in which the Reverend expands his sphere of contempt for American foreign policy and his blatant multiculturalism to imply that America deserved 9/11.
... We have moved from the hatred of armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents. We want revenge, we want paybacks, and we don't care who gets hurt in the process. Now, I asked the Lord, "what should our response be, in light of such an unthinkable act?" ... I heard Ambassador Peck on... Fox News... This is a white man... and an ambassador! He pointed out that what Malcolm X said ... was in fact true: that America's chickens are coming home to roost! We took this country, by terror, away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism! We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers, and hard-working fathers! We bombed Qaddafi's home and killed his child. Blessed are they that bash your children's head against a rock! We bombed Iraq! We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living! We bombed a plant in Sudan to pay back for their attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of unarmed people ... We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon. And we never batted an eye... We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans. And now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost! Violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred, and terrorism begets terrorism.
And then there is Reverend Wright's best example of what he thinks the American political system and capitalism are all about:
Who cares what a poor, black man has to face every day in a country and a culture controlled by RICH, WHITE, PEOPLE. ... Jesus was a POOR, BLACK man who lived in a country and who lived in a culture controlled by RICH, WHITE, PEOPLE. ... It just came to me within the past few weeks why so many folks are hating on [candidate] Barack Obama. He doesn't fit the model. He ain't WHITE. He ain't RICH. He ain't PRIVILEGED. ... Hillary fits the mold. Europeans fit the mold. ... Hillary ain't never been called a nigger. ... I'm so glad that I got a God who knows what it is like to be a poor, black man in a country and a culture controlled by and run by RICH, WHITE, PEOPLE. ... [Jesus] never let [his enemies'] hatred dampen his hope.
When the Reverend is not at the pulpit arousing the envy and resentment of his mostly-black congregation, he credits Black Liberation Theology in forming his views. The founder of Black Liberation Theology in the 1960s, James Cone, explains that it is essentially about doing Jesus's work for the poor and oppressed in the here and now, as applies specifically to black oppression in America. In a 2008 NPR interview he said:
Black Liberation theology sees God as primarily concerned with the poor and weak ... in society. It's not just for black people. ... Justice for the poor is the very heart of what God is about. ... The white church didn't talk about blacks struggle for justice. ... The gospel isn't about going to heaven; it's about justice and peace. ... Salvation in the Bible means being delivered from bondage. ... Jesus was crucified ... because he disturbed the consciousness of the people.
He also explains that it is blacks who don't love themselves, and that the justice Jesus fought for is for them too, in this way merging Malcom X's Black Power with Martin Luther King's Christianity.

Now decades past the Civil Rights era, Reverend Wright has exploded the tenants of "Jesus Justice" into a tirade of rage against what he considers the symbols of an evil America: war (regardless of the reasons for it): cultural repression (regardless of American ideals of freedom and individual rights); and racism (regardless of the fact that America has eliminated the evil of slavery and made quantum leaps in correcting past legalized oppression of blacks).

Yet still, proponents of the various permutations of Black Liberation Theology profess that America should be transformed into a society characterized by:
1. Mysticism: That Biblical Scripture, not a Constitution, should be the law of the land.

2. Socialism: That taking care of the "poor" and "oppressed," rather than promoting capitalism and the freedom of individuals, should be the social mandate.

3. Racism: That identity is based on race, rather than on the metaphysically given primary, the individual; and

4. Multiculturalism: That we should consider as morally equal to America all societies, such as World War II-era Japan and Germany, Palestinian terrorists, primitive tribal societies, dictatorial Libya, etc. etc.
Obama Disavows Wright but Not the Ideas

If there is any doubt about whether or not the Reverend Wright had a profound influence on Obama's present-day thinking, there should not be. In a 2007 interview, Obama said:
During this holiday season and during this political season I'm continually reminded that the values that I learned at Trinity (Wright's church) and as part of the UCC (United Church of Christ) community are values that can't just stay in church but have to be applied outside of church. ... I realized that Scripture and the words of God fit into the values I was raised in... [W]hat was intellectual and what was emotional joined, and the belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins, that through him we could achieve eternal life -- but also that, through good works we could find order and meaning here on Earth and transcend our limits and our flaws and our foibles -- I found that powerful.
As a poignant summary of Obama's creed: "Race is a central test of our belief that we're our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper ..."

How the theology of Obama translates into the policies of his Administration will be the subject of my next post.

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