Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack Obama and Black Theology

Barack Obama is lauded by politicians of all political hues for his ability to be all things to all people. But while the strategy was deployed and practised by the Apostle Paul in order that more may be saved (1Cor 9:22), the notion has been so maligned in the modern era as to be almost invariably adduced as evidence of hypocrisy or insincerity. St Paul would certainly advocate becoming black to convert black people, or white to convert white people, or (even) gay to convert gays. But all of this is about seeming. Paul would never have advocated joining the white supremacist KKK and murdering black people, or indulging in homosexual practices in order to present the gospel to gays, and neither would he advocate having sex with prostitutes in order to create the opportunity for soteriological discussion. For Paul, becoming all things to all people was never about corrupting the purity of spirit or compromising the integrity of the gospel.

And this is where Barack Obama is seen to be devoid of integrity. Certainly, he has the political, psychological and communicative skill to appeal to diverse audiences. But only if he operates with ‘selective invisibility’ and exploits their censorious naïveté.

Barack Obama could not have existed in the modern age; he is a product of postmodernity. He is black with white ancestry; a professing Christian of Muslim extraction; a man who has the support of both Jews and Hamas. He is the embodiment of the American dream - and of the dream of Martin Luther King Jnr in particular. Neither Dr King nor Rosa Parks could ever have imagined that, 40 years on, their sacrifices would produce the first African American President of the United States.

But President Obama’s appeal to all people is not remotely the same as that of St Paul, whatever some politicians may insist. Paul embodied a principle common to all who would provide leadership to a community of pluralism comprised of a divergent and mutually-exclusive truth claims and behaviours. A leader must construct bridges both of understanding and of persuasion in such settings. But such reaching out never compromised the foundational prerequisite to effective leadership - core conviction. For Paul, accommodating the views of others had nothing to do with diluting the gospel message, compromising its ethical demands, or creating doubt about its central tenets. Paul never modified the message of Christ crucified to make it less of a scandal to Jews or less foolish to Greeks.

President Obama will dilute, compromise and create doubt in order to avoid offending and appearing foolish. And people will see in him only what they want to see. They may not see what they need to see. Some may not look at him at all. But all will find him accommodating.

But what is this accommodation?

This is a crucial question in issues of global and national security, because his primary responsibility will be to protect the people and interests of the United States. Would the man who said he would sit down and talk with the Iranians also have invited those who masterminded the atrocity of September 11th to the White House?

Through the implications of President Obama’s relationship with Dr. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, it is possible to at the very least question his devotion to the United States. Dr Wright has articulated what has been inculcated in President Obama – we have his ‘God damn America’ sermon, his sympathy with ‘Black Theology’, and his admiration of Marxist regimes in South and Central America. Dr Wright is President Obama’s spiritual mentor, and he has condemned the United States to Hell with that same expression of anti-Americanism which has long been expressed in the African American tradition, both religious and secular.

Consider the words of Malcolm X (1925–65) – ‘God’s Judgment of White America’:

Before your pride causes you to harden your heart and further close your ears, and
before your ignorance provokes laughter, search the Christian Scriptures. Search
even the histories of other nations that sat in the same positions of wealth, power, and authority that these white Americans now hold...and see what God did to them. If
God’s unchanging laws of justice caught up with everyone of the slave empires of the
past, how dare you think White America can escape the harvest of unjust seeds planted
by her white forefathers against our black forefathers here in the land of slavery!

Certainly, Malcolm X does not speak for all black Americans, and it must be observed that he is also speaking from an Islamic understanding of the experience of his ‘back forefathers’, but Jeremiah Wright’s Christian understanding is no less condemnatory, and both result in the same religio-political anti-American zeal. That both this understanding of Islam and this brand of Christianity constitute President Obama’s religious DNA ought to be of concern to the world.

The liberal wing tolerates a certain brand of religion. This is a matter of direct importance to the identity of African Americans. Religion is a matter permissible to the public servant’s private life, but it must not be seen as ‘intruding’ into the public sphere. Religion must not be assessed as having a possible negative influence in the formulations of public policies and laws. This is a difficult dichotomy to maintain, at least traditionally, in the African American community, where religion and public stances on issues have had a long and mutually pervasive relationship. This returns us to a core question: What is core to President Obama’s belief system that certainly has a theological fabric? And further: What informs or defines his theological fabric?

Perhaps a clue resides in his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ (p224):

“This is not to say that I’m unanchored in my faith. There are some things that I’m absolutely sure about - the Golden Rule, the need to battle cruelty in all its forms, the value of love and charity, humility and grace.”

It is a pity that his concept of loving one’s neighbour does not extend to the unborn. It is a pity that his revulsion at cruelty does not extend to the acts of barbarism meted out on developing human beings. It is a pity that the love, charity, humility and grace he expresses is myopic in its embrace of the woman’s ‘right to choose’ while content to discard those who are marked for death. This is what defines Barack Obama’s ‘theological core’.

There was a time when a primary concern of many African Americans was the possibility of ‘black genocide’. It was a fear which reached far back into history with the enslavement of black people, the genocide practised on the American Indians, the savage lynching of thousands of black men and women by white supremacists. Even the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war in Vietnam all constituted evidence that America was pathologically disposed to repress people of colour. More recently - and certainly from the perspective of many Muslims and Arabs - Iraq has fuelled the belief that America is guilty of terrorism and genocide.

Yet few African Americans consider the genocide they are inflicting on themselves. And it is a genocide in which Barack Obama is complicit.

Of the 4000 abortions that are performed daily in the United State, 35% of these procedures abort African American babies. African Americans make up 12% of the United States population and provide 35% of the abortions. Under the advocacy of a woman’s ‘right to choose’, Barack Obama is supporting self-genocide.

It is one thing to have a Black Theology of Liberation when one can identify the oppressor as the other, the alien, the ‘not one of us’. But how does one liberate those who cannot see their oppressor because of his ‘selective invisibility’? How does one fulfil the hopes of millions of African Americans when one is simultaneously slaughtering their innocents?

President Obama will be African American in a manner which will conceal elements of its radical characteristics and beliefs. He will be black to black people, and not so black to the white people. He will be a Muslim to the Muslims, and a Christian to the Christians. He might even become a Jew to the Jews. Such accommodation is essential for building trust and arriving at consensus. The Apostle Paul understood this, though he maintained core beliefs. When it comes to ‘seeing’ Barack Obama, the ‘seeming’ will conceal the reality. His core beliefs are evident in what he has already legislated for and against. And this record points to a theology somewhat at variance with the biblically conservative tendencies of the traditional African American Church.


Anonymous len said...

ones attitude to the murder of the unborn reveals the true heart of the man.Nothing more needs to be said!

4 November 2008 at 08:13  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

By chance, yesterday I was discussing similar matters with a colleague who drew my attention to the work of one of Obama's "Community Organiser's" inspirations Saul Allinski, whose book "Rules for Radicals" is a kind of modern day Machiavellian text for such as he.

Amongst the important lessons taught is the principal that one never disagrees with those whom one is wooing to get power. It enabled Allinski,a pro choice non believer to secure funding for his work form Catholic sources.

THis rather suggests a darker and more systematic basis for his apparent lack of principe than mere inconsistency and ambition

4 November 2008 at 08:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst Palin led the attacks on Obama over abortion policy, she has been very reluctant to reveal her medical history. These are expected in US elections and were promised by Palin a couple of weeks ago. The media chased, but still no records. Eventually, literally at the eleventh hour, a letter was produced from her (reluctant?) doctor. This will have done nothing to reassure voters that there is something which Palin does not want known. Cynical readers may be inclined to draw their own conclusions.

4 November 2008 at 08:47  
Blogger Dave said...

Empty vessels make most noise. Once again we have a potential triumph of style over substance.

The man is all smoke and mirrors and reminds me of another triumph of hype over talent- Geri Halliwell. When she went for her Spice Girls interview she was questioned about her age and replied "I can be any age you want me to be".
His empty rhetoric are the words of a whore- "I can be anyone you want me to be."

4 November 2008 at 09:24  
Blogger jdc said...

is possible to at the very least question his devotion to the United States. Dr Wright has articulated what has been inculcated in President Obama – we have his ‘God damn America’ sermon

Are you familiar with the prophetic tradition? The clue here is in the man's name...

4 November 2008 at 09:35  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

Your Grace,

possibly germane to your points:

"A measure of the morality of the Birth Control movement can be gleaned from his description of Margaret Sanger "criss-crossing" India dispensing spermicidal foam, almost totally unarmed with information as to its safety. It seems not to have bothered her that a similar foam, distributed to African Americans by "notorious racist" Lydia DeVilbiss, was causing side-effects, but finally sent her foam away for analysis upon learning that DeVilbiss' concoction had caused adverse effects when tested upon dogs."

I remain etc

Frugal Dougal

4 November 2008 at 09:52  
Anonymous Rebel Saint said...

I'm sure I'll agree with everything you said, but I couldn't be bothered reading it all. Could you be more concise please Your Grace?

4 November 2008 at 09:57  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

Well said.

It is a wonder why Christians are unable or unwilling to see the truth about this avowed anti christian. It also sad the African American community will vote Obama because of the color of his skin and nothing more.

4 November 2008 at 10:31  
OpenID britologywatch said...

With respect, Your Grace, this is not one of your better posts. I feel you do not really illuminate what you put down in the title - Barack Obama's black theology - other than through ambiguous word play ('black' in more senses than one) that could lead one to think there may be a bit of negrophobia going on here.

And besides, Obama is not alone in having to be all things to all men in this election: it's an inevitable consequence of the presidential system. You have to appeal to a broad coalition to have a chance of winning. And can he really help being both black and white, and having been exposed to Muslim, Christian and secular influences? Some might say this makes him more suited to the position. (Not me, though; the abortion thing is the killer for me, in both senses.)

4 November 2008 at 10:47  
Blogger Jonny Mac said...

Nothing Obama says or does makes any difference. (Which is clearly immensely frustrating to the American Right, as you can see on the various blogs.) "Terrorist links"? "Will bankrupt the coal industry"? "Pro-murder of the unborn"? People simply don't care in sufficient numbers. The US has decided, for what I think are broadly laudable motives, that it wants a black President, and a black President it shall have.

4 November 2008 at 11:14  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Live non mainstream coverage here your Grace.

4 November 2008 at 12:14  
Anonymous My Mistake said...

Or here.http://infowars.com/infowars.asx

4 November 2008 at 12:21  
Anonymous miserable sinner said...

Blacks are generally considered to be 13.5% of the US population, although since the percentage of illegal aliens is unknown, it would be difficult to be precise about the percentages of anyone else.

I'm not trying to excuse the lynchings of the past, but they WERE in the past, were VERY few after the turn of the century. Surely the number and percentage of blacks dying violent deaths at the hands of others is FAR HIGHER since 1970 than it ever was before 1940.

I've never heard of a black woman being lynched -- no doubt it happened if you say it did, but it must have been a very rare event. At the present, there is a steady death toll of black women and children who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. They die because a black male, or occasionally an Hispanic male is out of control.

4 November 2008 at 15:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

By God Cranmer, you have poured your guts out into this one, and regardless of what anyone else says you have my admiration (which may not amount to much value due to my prating personality).
This one filled me up. I don't read material like this anywhere else.

Sincere apologies for what ever differences I my show at times, but you are on the nail.

4 November 2008 at 17:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His Grace should please begin to write books (however difficult it maybe to get published beyond the grave).
There is a authorship here which would be food if bound and printed.

4 November 2008 at 18:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep telling you, BO is best friends with Saddleback Church minister Rick Warren.

4 November 2008 at 18:30  
Blogger Laban said...

I'd take a look at Steve Sailer's nw Obama biography/exegesis, at
especially chapter 9, which examines the Rev Wright and the theology of his inspiration - one James Hal Cone.

"After March 13, 2008, when the mainstream media finally noticed Wright, both Obama and Wright suggested that what the public had seen on television of Wright‘s sermons were just snippets, but they were implying contrary meanings.

Obama wanted you to believe that Wright is actually much more moderate than a few out-of-context clips might suggest.

Wright, on the other hand, meant that he’s got lots more where that came from, and that he’s actually a thinker who has elaborate reasons backing up the opinions summarized
in the notorious clips. To his credit, despite Wright‘s ego, I don't get the impression that he sees himself as a creative genius, just as a well-read intellectual who has dipped deeply into the scholarly work of leftist black theologians and philosophers.

This seems like a fair self-assessment, so it must be
frustrating for Wright that almost nobody in the white media has
taken seriously his ideology. In fact, few have even noticed that
he has an ideology. To whites, it’s all just some black thing to
which we needn't pay attention.

It must be especially exasperating to Wright that few in the white press have noticed that a very bright young man named Barack Obama fastidiously chose Wright, out of all the black ministers Obama had met during his community organizer
years, precisely because Obama was impressed with Wright‘s intellect and agreed with his politics.
To the white media, all black ministers are alike. To a
proud, aggressive personage like Wright, who has outcompeted
almost every other minister on the South Side in building a
megachurch, that white assumption is a racist travesty."

4 November 2008 at 23:11  
Blogger Mberenis said...

Obama has already made lending for middle and lower class citizens before he's in the white house! Amazing, read more below..

New Types of Low Interest Loans & Grants from Obama

22 November 2008 at 06:13  

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