Senator Barack Obama has captured the world's attention unlike almost any other political figure of the era in which we live. However, despite all the theatrics surrounding the candidate and the almost messianic adoration displayed on the part of his followers, very few can possible tell you what he actually believes other than in "change", which, though sounding like everything you ever dreamed of, can actually consist of the stuff of nightmares.
Discerning Americans caught an early glimpse of what was beneath the facade of intoxicating rhetoric when it became more widely disseminated what Obama's spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright actually believed and what Obama had to have soaked up philosophically during the formative years of his early adulthood. Devoted acolytes will respond that his holiness has distanced himself from such racialism.
David Duke made similar claims during the early to mid 90's until falling back into similar patterns of extremist thought. So if few believed Duke back then, why should we extend the benefit of the doubt to Obama now since a leopard seldom changes its spots?
Before the Jeremiah Wright incident, many White Christians felt considerable guilt over the constant harangue invoked by the more liberal among the clergy about 11 o'clock Sunday morning being the most segregated hour of the week. However, with the exposure of the disease of Black liberation theology eating away at the heart of many Black churches, it has turned out that any sincere Christian irrespective of their ethnic background ought to be cautious about entering these "synagogues of Satan" as Scripture itself calls such hovels of doctrinal compromise.
By more closely examining what liberation theologians actually expound and what is mediated to the broader public by politicians such as Barack Obama, one realizes that the threat posed by this pseudo-messiah and false prophet goes much deeper than the lamentable historical animosities between the races. And even though this animosity against what this great country was built upon goes much deeper than race and ethnicity, it is the jumping off point into the radical circles in which Obama is being heralded as an almost messianic figure.
Many Americans of goodwill no doubt think Jeremiah Wright and his warped theology are a rare aberration on the American religious radar screen. His kind of outlook is actually more widespread than one might actually think.
To many of the influential in Black ecclesiastical circles, the problem was not so much with what Jeremiah Wright said but rather that Whitey found out a bit about what was being planned for him among those whose ultimate loyalty is not to the God of the universe and His revealed word but instead to race as a manifestation of the COMMUNITY. Most American Christians steeped in commonsense and the truths of the Bible would consider the things espoused by Jeremiah Wright beyond the bounds of propriety; however, the assessment of liberals is considerably different.
According to an article in the 5/5/08 edition of The Nation titled "The Liberation Of Reverend Wright" by Eudora Smith, Wright's elocutionary peeks such as "God damn America" represent the "rhetorical traditions [that] meld biblical allegory with contemporary political concerns and whose sanctuaries provide a rare space where a collective black racial consciousness can be expressed uncensored by others." I don't remember Italians being referred to as long-nosed garlic eaters as part of the Biblical literary heritage. Eudora Smith continues, "It may surprise many in white America...that there are a lot of Jeremiah Wrights out there..."
Perhaps even more frightening than that there is a kook like Jeremiah Wright espousing the kinds of things that he does is that there are so many that believe as he does or look to him as an honorable man of God. Many simply excuse Wrights preaching, according to an MSNBC.com article titled "NYT: Black Churches In NC Torn Over Wright" as "a prophetic style that combines spiritual guidance with often harsh social criticism that has its roots in Old Testament prophets."
The reflections of a number of Wright's supporters are documented in a 5/11/08 Baltimore Sun article titled "Black Preachers Agree To Disagree." However, from the article, the disagreement is not so much with Wright's message but that the world found out about it before their pony Obama won the horse race and it would have been to late for America to do anything about it until the next election.
Rev. Johnny Golden of New Unity Ministries told the Baltimore Sun, "We see a lot of what he is saying and we understand it, but his comments have wounded the opportunity of Mr. Obama to make gains and opportunity for America to embrace his ideals."
Rev. Marshall Prentice of Zion Baptist Church went even further in his support for Wright when he told the Baltimore Sun, "To attack any pastor for what he says from the pulpit is an attack on all pastors. Whatever we say on a given Sunday, we truly believe is given to us by inspiration of God."
Oh really? There is a cultic movement known as Christian Identity that is essentially a religious form of Nazism; if someone claims to be a pastor within that pernicious sect and disseminates their poison from behind a pulpit, by the standard advocated in the previous quote, are we as mere laymen permitted to speak out against such error?
Protestantism broke with Roman Catholicism largely in part over the realization that clergy are not infallible and that there must be an objective standard that exists above the mere opinions of man even if we as finite individuals do not yet understand the entirety of the divine plumline. However, leftist denominations such as the United Church of Christ of which Wright is a part hold that Scripture is no more a definitive rule of faith and practice than any other piece of religious literature. So when clergy speak to matters beyond and that even blatantly contradict revelation’s scope, why should the Christian in the pew have to defer to someone just because they wear a clerical collar?
Such nonsense may be rife within denominations dominated by African American religionists. Yet as a group largely Protestant in orientation, one ought to expect rigorous pastors and theologians to protect Evangelicalism against such doctrinal toxins as expounded by the likes of Jeremiah Wright. However, the same spirit of relativism and timidity infecting the rest of our culture now paralyzes some of Evangelicalism’s foremost institutions simply because the heretic making the claims happens to be an ethnic minority.
Christianity Today was initially founded as a conservative alternative to more liberal religious periodicals such as Christian Century and Sojourners. If that is the case, its founder Carl Henry must be rolling over in his grave.
Eager to achieve the appellation of “relevant” as did the Social Gospel and Death of God movements from previous generations, insecure Evangelicals are quick to latch onto any intellectual fad that comes along (especially if it happens to be anti-American as of late). And since all things Obama are all the rage, the editors of Christianity Today can’t help but get on the bandwagon by posting sympathetic viewpoints.
According to the article titled “Jeremiah Wright, Evangelicals’ Brother In Christ”, the disputed pastor is no worse than John Hagee and ought to be accepted as one of our own. But what exactly does Jeremiah Wright believe? Shouldn’t we examine this before we extend him unreservedly the hand of fellowship?
The theology espoused by Jeremiah Wright is known as “Black liberation theology”. However, there is more to this than Black people wanting to go to church predominately with other Black people. Even those who painstakingly go out of their way to avoid making distinctions between right and wrong are forced to admit there was something profoundly incorrect going on at Wright’s church.
According to the 5/12/08 edition of Newsweek, Oprah Winfrey use to be a member of Wright’s church not so much out of theological conviction but rather because she simply wanted to go to a Black church. Before we return to the primary thrust of this analysis, that admission is of such significance that it needs to be examined a bit further as it expresses a mindset relevant to this essay.
If a Black person wants to make being around other Black people their highest priority even above fidelity to God Himself, liberals and multiculturalists don’t have a problem with it. However, if White folks are reluctant to go back to Black churches not so much because of anything against Black people per say but because what rational White person is going to want to sit week after week hearing sermons that do not exposit the Word of God for our daily lives but rather how wretched White people. And furthermore quite frankly, in many Black churches, the congregation can’t simply sing in the pews but must also jump over them and roll around in the aisles.
For refusing to patronize such ecclesiastical confusion, we get lengthy lectures how we are all one big human family. But even in families, don’t siblings enjoy different ways of relating to their father? One might enjoy going with him to the duck pond while the other prefers taking him to car shows; does there really need to be all that much hand-ringing about these things being enjoyed separately?
Since Oprah Winfrey ultimately worships Oprah Winfrey (a claim backed by her embrace of Eckart Tolle), Oprah realized her own deification among the masses of ignorant feminists with too much money would be at stake if she bent her knee to a false god other than herself. So she parted.
There is more to Black liberation theology than looking to Christ to free individuals from their sins. In fact, a traditional Jesus plays a very small role in this worldview and the individual is valued even less as one is only important as part of the larger group or COMMUNITY.
John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” However, to Black liberationists, this most fundamental of Gospel Scriptures contains nothing but error.
According to a WorldNetDaily.com story titled "Christians Copy Christ Killers Says Obama's Pastor's Magazine", Jesus doesn't really love the little children, not the Red, nor the Yellow, and the White ones especially aren't really so precious in His site after all. According to theologians subscribing to this school of thought such as Jeremiah Wright and James Cone, Jesus came only for Black people.
Cone is quoted as saying in the WorldNetDaily article, "The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self determination by picturing God as the God of all peoples. Either God is identified with the oppressed to the point that their experience becomes God's experience, or God is a God of racism."
Thus, one is a racist if one DOES NOT show preferential treatment towards Black people. It must be noted that this is not the only kind of double standard advocated by those in Jeremiah Wright's circles.
In orthodox Christian theology, since all races and ethnic groups are equal ontologically or biologically even if the ways certain cultures manifest themselves are better than others, particular standards and expectations can be applied to individuals irrespective of their background. However, if one follows the thought of Jeremiah Wright to its logical conclusion, then Black folks should not have to adhere to so-called "White man's law".
In his remarks before a 2008 NAACP anniversary dinner, Jeremiah Wright contended that European-American children are "left-brained" in that they are logical and analytical whereas African-American children are "right-brained" making them creative and intuitive. On the surface, such theorizing does not really sound like all that big of a deal as often different ethnic groups tend to excel at specific things. But one must ask the question what will this alleged bit of scholarship be invoked to justify in terms of public policy.
Wright quips in his NAACP remarks, "When they [public schools] were desegregated in Philadelphia, several of the white teachers in my school freaked out. Why? Because black kids wouldn't stay in their place. Over there behind the desk, black kids climbed up all on them."
In other words, since their brains process information differently, it is unacceptable to expect Black people to abide by the same set of expectations White folks are expected to adhere to. Why, how dare you expect order in the hallways of America's inner city public schools!!! You're a racist if you expect Black children to sit there and conduct themselves in a disciplined and studious manner.
Think I am exaggerating? Both the American Enterprise and Washington Post Magazines have run stories in the past where White teachers were categorized as racist for not having a big smile plastered across their faces about minority children labeled as learning disabled rampaging as they wished in the classrooms of these respective teachers.
Where does this line of reasoning end? If it is discovered that Blacks have a more difficult time curtailing the compulsions driving one towards reproduction, does that mean we are just suppose to keep handing out the welfare checks and Food Stamps without nary a word of rebuke about the moral decay gripping our nation where the unmarried don’t simply have one child outside of marriage and learn from their mistake but irresponsibly continue having one child after the other without a trip to the altar?
If it is proved that the “Black brain” has a greater propensity towards violence, does that mean we may not condemn the warlike conditions plaguing our city streets? If one takes Black liberation theology to its logical conclusion, even if Jeremiah Wright won’t admit to it publicly, according to this warped worldview it might not even be wrong to put a bullet in Whitey’s head and take his property; some might even call it an act of love or (as Jeremiah Wright said in his NAACP remarks) “just different”.
In the history of Communism, Marx is remembered as the thinker providing much of that philosophy’s theoretical basis whereas Lenin was the politician who implemented these doctrines into an actual political situation with slight adaptations. Likewise, Jeremiah Wright contributes significantly to the ideological foundation that Barack Obama would build upon whether the candidate is willing to admit to it or not.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.