Saturday, September 20, 2008

Black Liberation Theology and American Grace

As the presidential election draws nearer, just 44 days now, politics as we know them in the United States, are getting edgier, brisker and well...uglier. Over the course of the next six weeks, the American people will be inundated with propaganda; a media explosion on our every day lives. We will become desensitized, if not already, to the blazing bias of those around us and will almost assuredly want to move to another country. However, irregardless of how utterly obnoxious this election is going to be to our senses, it is imperative that we at least make a concerted effort to get through it all for the betterment of our future, not just nationally, but globally.

There is no way, whatsoever, that we can agree on all things with all people. Families, friendships, classrooms, churches, office break rooms...will all be divided and we must remember what the point to all of this is; it's not to divide our country, but to unite our country. That being said, I, as I'm sure many of you, have already started to be inundated by the steady flow of email forwards and political jargon via social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Of course, most of what you will get will be things sent by those of in your 'circle' who share the same views, if nothing more than the same choice for candidate. I will outwardly declare myself now as ..... nope, I'm not going to do that. My political affiliation doesn't necessarily decide who I'm voting for. I use to be an Independent before I realized I had no say-so in the I switched to what I am today. That being said, I cannot find myself whole on either side of the isle, but definitely more on one side than the other. Aaaah...what does this have to do with the title? Well, I have chosen to challenge myself to listen to several different types of media outlets as there is no such thing as unbiased news and I want to get as many views from as many perspectives as possible...even though I do favor one particular network. Likewise, I have made the effort to listen to various opinions of those in my circle who may not see things exactly as I do. Now, that being said, I received a video message via MySpace that was roughly 13 minutes long and it was very anti-Obama. I watched the entire thing and afterwards did extensive research on the claims from the video as I was deeply concerned post viewing. As it stands, all of my research finds the facts in direct concordance with the statements of this video.

The video is accessible on YouTube if you search for and look for the item that discusses Black Liberation Theology / James Cone. Most of the video highlights some directly connections between Obama and Black Liberation Theology. As a Theologian and Missiologist myself, I found this very interesting and I wanted to know more. I would like to invite you to view this video and then do research on your own about what Black Liberation Theology really means, is, stands for, etc. As a woman, a feminist philosophy / women's studies major and a Divinity masters and PhD academic, I am familiar with the concept of Liberation Theology. In fact, James Cone, the founder (said father) of Black Liberation Theology, stated that Jesus taught Liberation Theology, and in many ways, I would agree with him. However, I do not agree with the notions of Black Liberation Theology, which in terms of Obama's preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is in itself, oppressive to white people. Nothing Jesus did ever taught oppression on anyone. I do agree that humanity must embrace the idea and action of liberating any and all of God's people from oppression, but not just in our country and not just for Black Americans. In a previous post this week, I discussed that nothing can be gained by harming someone else. This is very much the case in Christianity and in the theology of global Christians. God is not just for white people, or black people, etc. God is a god of all people.

Why this concerns me enough to say something is that our Democratic presidential candidate was mentored by Rev. Wright for over 20 years and if this type of thinking (please do your own research to understand more) is fundamental to the thought processes of Mr. Obama, I am personally deeply concerned. You can not be a leader if you believe in dividing people. The whole Robin Hood mentality if stealing from the rich to feed the poor is, cute movie aside, not okay. We can all appreciate the sentiment, but at the end of the day, you're still stealing. If you catapult one nation to greatness at the expense of another, how great is the first nation? If we prosper one race of people over another, what have we gained? This is where I'm questioning Obama do you, Mr. Obama, find yourself in terms of the thoughts of Black Liberation Theology?

Theology, by Oxford American definition, is the study of the nature of God and religious belief. Black Liberation Theology takes the definition of theology and relates it directly to Black culture, experience, spirituality and ties it all in to the suffrage of the Black people. Note: This is a very brief and not an all inclusive definition. Again, I urge you to take some time and do some research on this form of thought.

I will leave you with this parting thought and that is of Grace. Grace is something we are given without earning it. It is what God gives us...all of us...irregardless of our social context or connection. God does not love me anymore because I'm white than he loves my sister who is black. We are all one. God has given the United States much grace as well. If we are trying to build a culture on grace, than what part does any form of Liberation Theology play? And is it really liberating if we are only focused on the freedom of some over others? Who is being liberated at another's expense and what is the total cost to our country?

Lastly...whatever you read or hear, make sure you know the facts. Challenge everything. Seek truth first. Care enough to have an educated opinion. And for the love of!

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