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Rev. Jeremiah Wright in interview last year on ‘Hannity and Colmes’
Barack Obama’s suddenly radioactive pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has defended himself against charges of anti-Americanism and racism by referring to his foundational philosophy, the “black liberation theology” of scholars such as James Cone, who regard Jesus Christ as a “black messiah” and blacks as “the chosen people” who will only accept a god who assists their aim of destroying the “white enemy.”
“If God is not for us and against white people,” writes Cone, “then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill gods who do not belong to the black community.”
Wright has not talked to media since video segments of his sermons over the past decade surfaced last week – including one in 2003 in which he encouraged blacks to damn America in God’s name. But in a 2007 interview replayed on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes” show Friday, he repeatedly fended off Sean Hannity’s questions with an appeal to authority, asking if the host had read any of the books of Cone, professor at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, or Dwight Hopkins, professor at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, notes the Asia Times columnist who writes under the pseudonym Spengler.”
Obama, who has spoken of his pastor of more than 20 years as his mentor and moral compass, “wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says,” notes Spengler, by referring him as a “respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago.”
But Spengler says “that way lies apolitical quicksand.”
Cone, he points out, was the most prominent theologian in the “black liberation” school in the 1960s, teaching that Jesus Christ himself is black.
The theologian explains:
Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants.
Rather than viewing God as a sovereign being who does as he wills according to his purposes, Cone insists God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him.
What the black community wants, Cone says, is for God to assist in its goal of destroying “the white enemy.”
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill gods who do not belong to the black community
… Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.
‘I reject outright’
As WND reported yesterday, Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has removed from the “About Us” page of its website a section outlining its radical belief system for blacks.
Obama issued a statement Friday referring to the taped statements from sermons, saying he strongly condemned and denounced “some inflammatory and appalling remarks [Wright] made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.”
Despite having been at the church for two decades, Obama said he was not in attendance when Wright made any of the statements and never heard such talk in private conversations.
“Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy,” Obama said. “I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.”
Late Friday, Wright stepped down from his formal role in Obama’s campaign, as a member of his African American Religious Leadership Committee.
Stamp of approval
Spengler pointed out that in his response to Hannity, Wright “genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away.”
“His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology,” Spengler says.
It’s possible, Spengler continues, that Obama “does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach.”
“Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone,” he writes. “African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois state Senate with the support of Chicago’s black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago’s largest and most politically active black church.”
It seems unlikely Obama would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s,” Spengler says.
“Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World. … It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.”