ST. MAARTEN – The Democrat running against Christine O’Donnell for the U.S. Senate seat from Delaware voluntarily audited a class with Marxist activist Cornel West, WND has learned.
Chris Coons once described how his experience with West helped him to realize he “strongly needed and wanted some grounding in traditions and doctrines of my own faith.”
Coons has been defending himself after it emerged earlier this week he wrote an opinion piece at college in 1985 strongly criticizing the U.S. and describing himself as a “bearded Marxist.”
Responding to the ensuing controversy, Coons told CNN, “I am not now, nor have I ever been a Marxist or an enemy of the people of the United States.”
“I’m not a Marxist, I’ve never held Marxist ideas,” he said. “I believe strongly in the free enterprise system … .”
Coons graduated from Amherst College in 1985 after which he went to Africa for about two years. When he returned to the U.S., he worked for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York and audited a course by West at Union Theological Seminary.
Auditing is when someone voluntarily attends a course without receiving college credit.
In an interview with an online Yale alumni magazine, Coons discusses his experience in West’s Union Theological class.
“I audited one class at Union Theological with Cornel West when I was at the Coalition for the Homeless in New York and realized I strongly needed and wanted some grounding in traditions and doctrines of my own faith,” he said.
In that interview, Coons also stated, “I have worked to make it clear that I respect and value those that have no faith in a higher being. I think it is an important principle in a pluralistic democracy.”
West, currently a race-relations instructor at Princeton, is an avowed Marxist and senior member at the Democrat Socialists of America.
Obama named West, whom he has called a personal friend, to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign.
West was a key point man between Obama’s campaign and the black community.
West served as an adviser on Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March and is a self-described personal friend of the Nation of Islam leader. West authored two books on race with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, who was at the center of a recent controversy in which Obama criticized Gates’ treatment by police outside his home after a report of a burglary.
‘Racist American empire’
It was West who introduced Obama at a 2007 Harlem fundraiser attended by some 1,500 people that served as Obama’s first foray into Harlem after announcing his Democratic presidential candidacy.
WND reported West introduced Obama on stage at the fundraiser after first railing against the “racist” criminal-justice system of the “American empire.”
A scan of YouTube clips found West introducing Obama at the fundraiser while stating the “American empire is in such a deep crisis” and slamming the “racist criminal-justice system” and “disgraceful schools in our city.”
“He is my brother and my companion and comrade,” said West of Obama.
WND found a video that shows Obama taking the stage just after West’s introduction, expressing his gratitude to West, calling him “not only a genius, a public intellectual, a preacher, an oracle … he’s also a loving person.”
Obama asked the audience for a round of applause for West.
From a young age, West proclaimed he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party … and the livid black (liberation) theology of James Cone.”
Cone’s theology spawned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ. West was a strong defender of Wright when the pastor’s extreme remarks became national news during the presidential campaign.
In 1995, West signed a letter published as an ad in the New York Times that voiced support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther.
In 2002, West further signed a “Statement of Conscience” crafted by Not In Our Name, a project of C. Clark Kissinger’s Revolutionary Communist Party. He then endorsed the World Can’t Wait campaign, a Revolutionary Communist Party project seeking to organize “people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.”
After branding the U.S. a “racist patriarchal” nation in his book “Race Matters,” West wrote, “White America has been historically weak-willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks.”
Also in that book, West claimed the 9/11 attacks gave white Americans a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the U.S. – feeling “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hatred” for who they are.
“Since 9/11,” West wrote, “the whole nation has the blues, when before it was just black people.”
Coons and Black Liberation Theology
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lord, writing at Spectator, points out Coons himself may have ties to Black Liberation Theology.
Previous media profiles noted that while doing relief work in Africa, the Senate candidate worked as a volunteer for the South African Council of Churches, or SACC, at a time, Lord wrote, when that institute was aligning itself with Black Liberation Theology.
The SACC formed a think tank, the Institute for Contextual Theology, which was philosophically aligned with the Black Consciousness Movement. According to the World Socialist Movement website, the “writings and activities of (Black Liberation Theology founder) James Cone … played a role in the Black Consciousness Movement’s formation.”
Indeed, Lord notes, Cone’s influence on the leadership of SACC was discussed in “James Cone’s Legacy in Africa: Confession as Political Praxis in the Kairos Document,” a paper written by O.U. Kalu, a Research Associate at the University of Pretoria, when he studied at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
The McCormick Institute has promoted the work of Obama’s pastor, Wright, who also delivered guest sermons at the institute.
Coons: American freedom and justice ‘not exactly based on reality’
In Coons’ 1985 college-newspaper piece, entitled, “Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist,” the future politician discussed his cathartic experiences studying in Africa.
“I studied under a bright and eloquent Marxist professor at the University of Nairobi,” he wrote.
Continued Coons: “Some of the ‘Leftists’ that I met were terrifyingly persuasive, although I never admitted that.”
” … [S]everal professors challenged the basic assumptions about America and world relations with which I had grown up …and undermined the accepted value of progress and the cultural superiority of the West.”
“I came to suspect … that the ideal of America as ‘a beacon of freedom and justice, providing hope for the world’ was not exactly based on reality.”
“What do other nations think of us? Can private enterprise and democracy solve the problems of developing nations? Is Marxism an evil ideology, leading millions into totalitarian slavery? These were some of the questions in the back of my mind … .”