June 5, 2008
Obama, Black Liberation Theology and Karl Marx
Part Two [See Part One here.]
From the outset of his campaign, Barack Obama has declared himself to be a Christian. He has appeared to be the far left's answer to the religious right, the man who would embrace the religion of the majority rather than shy away from it, as Democrat secularists have repeatedly done. For awhile, until Obama's actual "religion" became clear through the rantings of those who have formed his "moral compass", it did appear that Barack Obama would beat the religious right at their own "game."
But the foibles of faking faith can be quite the undoing of a man who proclaims to be above the low-road politics of deceit.
Religion and revolutionaries
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.
- Karl Marx
We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal.
- Barack Obama; The Audacity of Hope; p. 216
Karl Marx seemed to regard religion as one of the toughest roadblocks to mounting and sustaining a proper revolution by the proletariat. That the masses would continue to stubbornly cling to their religions, placing their hope in God rather than man, was evidently one of the more prickly thorns in ole Karl's side.
Both Lenin and Stalin concurred with Marx, and one of the most stringent and murderous thrusts of Soviet Communism was its campaign against religion, especially Judaism and Christianity. Mao and other eastern communists went this route as well, and never pretended to have any faith whatsoever in anyone or anything but the material world.
But Barack Obama, the student of Saul Alinksy, sees the necessity of reeling in those of faith, and making them part of the class struggle, while avoiding the harsher approach of demanding that the people give up their faith as a consequence of their commitment to revolutionary change. Americans have proven much more stubborn in the religious realm than the Europeans, who fell hook, line and sinker for Marx, Lenin and Stalin.
America might seem more amenable to the kind of Third Way socialism that Hitler brought to Germany, while cunningly using Christian jargon to wile his way into Aryan minds and hearts.
Black liberation theology, I have discovered (Read Part One here.), is yet another form of Third Way socialism, developed by Marxists seeking a way around the stubbornness of the ardently faithful, a way to hook folks on the revolution, without putting up a fight to eradicate their religion.
And Obama's Chicago experiences seem to give him great hope that his cloak of religiosity will help to catapult him over the religious right and into the White House on the wings of liberation theology.
It played in Chicago and even in Peoria
One of the first lessons Barack Obama learned in Chicago, doing Alinsky-style political organizing between Columbia and Harvard, was that the religious communities were where the action was.
The first real power connection that Saul Alinsky himself made in his own class-struggle efforts in the 1930s was with the Archbishop of Chicago. And it was in the churches and synagogues that Alinsky's initial efforts to organize labor were successful.
What Obama found in Chicago churches in the 1980s, however, was not Martin Luther King's ole time religion, the traditional Christianity of most of our ancestors, both black and white. No, what Obama found was a religion perfectly compatible with his own, already well-formed, far-left worldview.
The Black Liberation Theology of James H. Cone. Marxism emblazoned with a cross and a pulpit, pretending to use the Bible for its authority.
Before Obama even left Chicago for Harvard Law school, he had been embraced by the strange cabal of some of Chicago's most radical and activist religious leaders, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Michael Pfleger. Liberationists all.
Wright, the black Protestant. Farrakhan, the Black Muslim. And Pfleger, the white Catholic.
How Pfleger Fits
Just as James Cone is able to perfectly accommodate Black Muslims within his ostensibly Christian theology, so has he made room for certain white folks as fellow travelers.
Cone makes room for Pfleger, and other whites like him, just as long as these white folks freely acknowledge who the new masters are. Rejecting King's view of reconciliation with whites (integration) as just another form of oppression, Cone stakes all on the reversal of the order of the things: blacks on top; whites under black control. Cone believes he has discovered a way to make two wrongs into right.
To me, Cone's books paint a vision nearly identical to Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism." Cone just adds a bit of color to Marx's utterly drab portrait.
"The coming of Christ means a denial of what we thought we were. It means destroying the white devil in us. Reconciliation to God means that white people are prepared to deny themselves (whiteness), take up the cross (blackness) and follow Christ (black ghetto)." [parentheses are Cone's]
- James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; p. 150
If I had listened only to this video of Michael Pfleger, and had not seen his white skin with my own eyes, I would have imagined that he was surely an African-American preacher in the same mold as Jeremiah Wright.
Pfleger has taken Cone's word above that of Jesus, it would seem, and has completely entered into the essence of Black Liberation Theology, even shedding his own "despicable" whiteness in the process.
As Cone instructs his followers:
Whiteness, as revealed in the history of America, is the expression of what is wrong with man. It is a symbol of man's depravity. God cannot be white, even though white churches have portrayed him as white. When we look at what whiteness has done to the minds of men in this country, we can see clearly what the New Testament meant when it spoke of the principalities and powers. (emphasis mine)
- James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; 150
There are about a half dozen uses of the words, "principalities and powers" in the New Testament; in all cases they refer to brazen evil. In a few cases, the words seem to speak of earthly evil; in others, they refer to Satan and his minions.
Voters, myself included, are left to wonder now whether Barack Obama's frequent use of the expression, "principalities and powers," when he refers to those resistant to "change," is in keeping with Cone's definition, restricting collective redemption to the toppling of the material world of whites, or whether it means something else.
Cone isn't making room for any confusion in his books explaining Black Liberation Theology. He ordains that all white people who don't join into the Marxist class struggle along with blacks, will be dealt a crushing blow.
The real questions are: Where is your identity? Where is your being? Does it lie with the oppressed blacks or with the white oppressors? Let us hope there are enough to answer this question correctly so that America will not be compelled to acknowledge a common humanity only by seeing that blood is always one color.
- James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; p. 152.
As a Catholic, I prefer to stick with the admonitions of Pope Benedict XVI, protect my own soul, and stand on guard against "the kind of totalitarian society to which this (liberation theology) process slowly leads."
Michael Pfleger appears to have made his choice as well. In order to join the Marxist class struggle, along with Cone, Wright, Farrakhan and Obama, he has become, for all intents and purposes, part of the black power movement.
Looks like a Faustian bargain to me.
Obama's Resignation from Trinity
After 20 years, Obama has resigned his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ. He did so after Rev. Michael Pfleger's rants against Hillary Clinton's white privilege made such a splash on the internet and television news.
But Obama's attempts to distance himself now from Trinity, Wright, Pfleger, Farrakhan and Cone mean nothing to me. He can, in my mind, no more disown them now, than he could months ago.
The Black Liberation Theology of TUCC that he chose as an adult is the only religious foundation, save the Islam he learned as a young child in an Indonesian school, that Barack Obama has ever had in his life.
Discovering Black Liberation Theology in Wright's church was the one thing that enabled Obama to see that those believing in a far left political ideology could also have religion. Obama's mother had taught him this wasn't the case.
Wright showed him another way, a Third Way.
And Obama seized it, has used this Third Way to catapult himself into powerful positions, and now is stunningly within reach of the most powerful political position in the world, the Presidency of the United States of America.
And wherever Obama speaks in public, strains of Black Liberation Theology are ingrained in his message.
Our Collective Salvation
When Barack Obama spoke to the graduates of Wesleyan College last week, taking the place of ailing Senator Edward Kennedy, he gave a commencement address not unlike those anywhere. I, like others, read the transcript.
And here are the words that gave me a shudder:
It's because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. (emphasis mine)
"Collective salvation" is an idea that comes from Marxism, Liberation Theology in particular, and is absolutely antithetical to traditional Christianity. When it comes to facing God on one's own judgment day, there is no hiding in groups, no "collective" anything.
The idea of "collective salvation" or "collective redemption" is pure Marxism; there is nothing whatsoever Christian about it.
As Pope Benedict XVI has warned about Liberation Theology:
Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic."
- Truth and Tolerance; p. 116
Human suffering, and its unfair dissemination among peoples, has been the hallmark of life on earth since the dawn of human history. And history is rife with attempts to recreate the world in a manner that would ostensibly make life fair to all.
Black Liberation Theology, and all Liberation Theologies, as well as every type of Marxism -- whether Lenin's, Stalin's, Hitler's, Mao's, Castro's - have all begun with appeals to the people to create a just world, or rather to create a world in keeping with that particular leader's concept of what a just world should look like. A society that would right the wrongs inherent in God's design and those that are manifest from age to age on account of man's own sin.
Pope Benedict marked his official reign as Pope of the Catholic Church with a homily on this very thing:
How often we wish that God would show Himself stronger, that He would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way; they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity.
We suffer on account of God's patience. And yet we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not be those who crucified him.
The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.
The essential difference between Obama's liberation theology and traditional Christianity would seem to be not the presence or the absence of hope.
The difference is where individuals choose to put their hope.
Will we continue to hope in God, while each working to achieve individual redemption for our own souls, and in the process make the world a slightly better place?
Or will we, in a massive protest of impatience with God's way, choose to put our hope in the people, the movement, the collective salvation offered by Obama and his liberation theologians?
That is the question of this election, it would seem.
May the best man win.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at commonsenseregained.com