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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In Defense of Black Liberation Theology


This is a work in progress. But given the elevation of the issue and Hillary joining the fray, I am submitting this draft.

Fox News and Lou Dobbs continue to demagogue Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s relationship to him. Their racist propaganda must be challenged. Dobbs wants to claim that the credential that exonerates him from the charge of racism is that he is married to a Latina! Dobbs’ other issue is that of illegal immigration. He is next to Bill O’Reilly in his racist posturing. Specifically, his attack on Trinity must not go unchallenged. He is debasing liberation theology. His latest, and I assume his nightly, debasing of Trinity United Church of Christ is the debasing of the legitimacy of our struggle. The drumbeat for Obama to leave Trinity is only beginning!!!!

(The most important thing to come out of this racist bashing of Obama and Trinity is that it should stop the lie that he is a Muslim.)

First, we must defend liberation theology as being legitimate for black Americans to have as a faith. It is a truer, and therefore superior, form of Christianity than the oppressive racist theology that legitimized slavery and Jim Crow. Liberation theology teaches that Jesus was a revolutionary. The theology is true to the Bible in that it teaches he was here to fight for the poor and the powerless not the rich and the powerful. Moreover, these white churches present Jesus as though he is white. Nothing could be further from the truth. I had been told that Jesus was an Essene. The Essenes were a very dark tribe of Jews. (A colleague in our Religion dept. has since informed that most scholars do not agree that he was a Essene but John the Baptist likely was.) From what I know, the only description of Jesus in the Bible is in Revelations in which it is said that he had hair like lamb’s and feet of bronze. The one thing that is certainly true he was closer to being dark than the white blond and blue eyes that we see in these Churches. As is more commonly known, Poland celebrates a Black Madonna.) We need to, as does Trinity, expose the lies of white Christianity.

Second, when one hears the full September 16, 2001 sermon, the distortion and the lie in how Wright is being portrayed becomes obvious. The snippets that paint Jeremiah Wright as some diabolical Anti-American fool must not be allowed to stand. In the context of the full sermon, what Jeremiah Wright said does not make him some racist kook. What he said has been said by ambassadors, other members of the State Department, and respected analysts. The sermon is saying no more and no less than what Chalmers Johnson has described as Blowback. These facts must be pointed out. About the AIDS virus, there have been credible reports that suggest a similar conclusion. For a government that allowed black men to be used a guinea pigs in a syphilis experiment, it is not unreasonable for a minister to draw such an analogy.

Since Trinity is going to be tied to Obama throughout the campaign, we must seek out and promote black liberation theologians to educate us and the more general public. We must do what we can to expose the hypocrisy.

Finally, when these white nationalists bash Wright and liberation theology, they are bashing one of our most important institutions and our right to demand our rights. They are attempting to de-legitimize the Civil Rights Movement, of which Black Liberation theology is a product. They are saying we don’t have a right to be angry – we don’t have a right to express ourselves, even to ourselves. Their expectation is that our community be made up of “grateful Negroes,” like those sycophants Armstrong Williams, Juan Williams, John McWhorter or Shelby Steele, to name a few.

Our task is to challenge their debasing our right to express ourselves and question our patriotism, make us and therefore Barack un-American. Understand Jeremiah Wright was in the Marines. Not the Army or the Navy or the Air Force but the Marines! I doubt that any of his critics have even served in the armed services. They NEVER took a chance on giving their life for America. What gives them the right to question his Americanism?

We must fight back by encouraging people to challenge this white nationalism. Where are the black ministers? Where are the black journalists? Where are the black social scientists? We must reach out and encourage these various constituencies to raise their voice and stop these fascist forces. We must be prepared to pre-empt the 527s that are just waiting until the primaries are over.

Sign the petition to challenge Fox News Obama bashing and pass it on! Let’s overwhelm them.

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