Monday, March 17, 2008

Deconstructing Obama

"It's not to say that there is already a revolution under way in the U.S. ... but yes, they are laying the foundations for a revolutionary change."
Daniel Ortega

Introduction

Last Friday, reverend Jeremiah Wright was on the Hannity and Colmes show trying to diffuse an explosive situation with respect to the reverend's comments. On the O'Reilly factor a member of Trinity Church, and another African-American woman appeared trying to defend Pastor Wright's comments. The parishioner went so far as to invite O'Reilly to the church. In my opinion, these guests only added to the controversy. Several times Reverend Wright mentioned black liberation theology. When I heard the words liberation theology, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua came to mind. It had been years since I had heard those words.

Liberation Theology

I was married in Managua, Nicaragua in 1977, two years before the Sandinista revolution. My wife and I returned to Nicaragua in 1981. This was the first time we were to get a glimpse of the new Nicaragua run by the new dictator and leader of the Marxist-Leninist party, the Sandinistas Daniel Ortega two years after the Somoza regime was ousted in part by the support of President Jimmy Carter. We arrived in Managua on a hot and humid summer day at the Augusto C. Sandino International airport renamed to reflect the new revolutionary party's hero. The airport was too small for the bigger aircraft, so we had to stop in Guatemala to transfer to a smaller size aircraft. As we walked down the stairs from the airplane, which led to the tarmac, I couldn't help but notice a child about the age of 12 or 13 holding a submachine gun strapped over his shoulders standing guard. His youthful eyes were piercing as he checked me out from head to toe. He then ushered us to waiting relatives.

Nicaragua represented one of the last remnants of the cold war. The 1972 earthquake that leveled the capital of Nicaragua, Managua marked the beginning of the end for the Somoza regime in the country. A growing discontent among the Nicaraguan people prompted the then fragmented anti-Somoza factions to coalesce helping the Frente Sandinista Liberación Nacional, (FSLN) led by Daniel Ortega to gain strength and the populace to begin an active rebellion against the Somoza regime. The Sandinistas gained power as a direct result of the Carter administration's funding of the Sandinistas. In July 1979, the Sandinistas entered Managua, and Somoza fled the country. Nicaragua, a former ally of the United States, quickly aligned itself with Castro's Cuba and Communist Russia. A former friend of the United States was now a bitter enemy. The stanza in the Sandinista hymn, "luchamos contra el yanqui el enemigo de la humanidad", "We fight against the Yankee the enemy of humanity" reflects the anti-American sentiment felt by the Ortega government. Ortega views U.S. imperialism and U.S. capitalism as the evils of the world. The Sandinista regime destroyed any remnants of Nicaragua's economy. Part of Ortega's success and rise to power came from promoting and advocating a philosophy of Marxism-Leninism mixed in with a perverted form of Catholicism called "Liberation Theology."

Liberation theology has its roots in Latin-America and Catholicism, and it was used mainly as a tool to foment rebellion among the populace. "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22-23. The Bible teaches that Christ came for everyone, the rich and the poor, the oppressor and the oppressed. However, this is not what liberation theology teaches. The message of liberation theology is Christ came for the poor, the economically dispossessed and the oppressed, and it is the duty of the oppressed to rise up against his oppressor. After all, Christ too was one of the oppressed. Liberation theology is about class warfare against the capitalist, and the oppressor. The Bible of course teaches nothing of the sort. The Bible teaches that the poor to whom Christ refers is actually the poor in spirit, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3. Liberation theology twists God's word in order to garner strength needed from the uneducated peasants for their own political end. Liberation Theology turns the gospel into a class warfare ideology. This is why Marxism-Leninism lends itself to liberation theology, and this is why Obama's church, Trinity Church can spew its anti-American rhetoric with such ease.

Black Liberation Theology

Black liberation theology is simply an extension of liberation theology and the black power movement of the 60s. It is a tool to help the suffering of the African-American as a result of slavery, segregation, the Jim Crow laws, and the poverty that came with these institutions to the exclusion of all else. James Cone, one of the architects of black liberation theology and mentioned by Wright on Hannity and Colmes March 15th stated it this way.

"A moral or theological appeal based on a white definition of morality or theology will serve as a detriment to our attainment of black freedom. The only option we blacks have is to fight in every way possible, so that we can create a definition of freedom based on our own history and culture. We must not expect white people to give us freedom. Freedom is not a gift, but a responsibility, and thus must be taken against the will of those who hold us in bondage."

Freedom will be taken against the will of those who African-Americans perceive are holding them in bondage. Jesus is a poor black man oppressed by the white man says reverend Wright. Racism is at the heart of black liberation theology, and the white capitalist is the cause of the continued oppression of the African-American. This is why you will hear the pastors at Trinity Church rail against the whites comparing the United States to Al-Queda, or accusing the United States of bringing in both the HIV virus and drugs to the African-American community. The United States is the one holding blacks in bondage, and we still keep the blacks oppressed no longer by slavery but by drugs, HIV, and the list goes on.

Trinity Church states as the following their ten point vision:

  1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
  2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
  3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
  4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
  5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
  6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
  7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
  8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
  9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
  10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

Trinity Church's mission statement also states the following:

We are called out to be "a chosen people" that pays no attention to socio-economic or educational backgrounds. We are made up of the highly educated and the uneducated. Our congregation is a combination of the haves and the have-nots; the economically
disadvantaged, the under-class, the unemployed and the employable.

In fact, Trinity Church promotes education by giving out scholarships, and it is involved in a variety of charitable works. But, it has also in the past supported the radical Louis Farrakhan.

Trinity Church's Black Value System contains the following points on it's website.

The vision statement of Trinity United Church of Christ is based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book, Black Power and Black Theology.

Black theology is one of the many theologies in the Americas that became popular during the liberation theology movement

You can read the entire Black Value System upon which Trinity Church is based by clicking here.

The Church Service

On Palm Sunday, I decided to watch Trinity Church's service via the web. I was quite impressed with the talent of the church.

Young girls donned in purple African garb entered towards the front of the pulpit. They swayed in front of the congregation in an undulating motion dancing with an ethnic fusion to the beat of African gospel music. The dancers were beautifully choreographed. When the dancers stopped, the music continued, and the Reverend Otis Moss lll began to preach. The Reverend shouted, "I trust God is going to hook you up." He continued by making indirect comments about Obama saying how he had been reduced to a sound bite. The congregation began handing out palms in honor of Palm Sunday. The music never stopped. Palms began to sway to and fro. The music continued and the reverend continued preaching on salvation. The choir sang in the African tradition, "He is the great I am." The music was beautiful and emotional. There were a couple of solos sung by one of the members of the choir.

After the music part of the service, Reverend Moss came to the front and delivered his fiery sermon. At times his sermon, "Why the black church won't shut up" reached such frenzy; his words would rile the crowd. The parishioners would stand up and begin clapping their hands. Reverend Moss bellowed, "They are trying to shut us up, but we will not shut up. God is going to hook it up. We cannot shut up because God has called us to speak the truth of Jesus" Moss continued defending his church. He never explicitly mentioned Obama, but he asked for walls to be broken down.

Following the sermon, Reverend Moss conducted an altar call. The dulcet tones of the choir began to echo through the packed church. Reverend Moss began to call out, "If you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ I want you to squeeze your neighbor's hand. If you do not have a church home, if you felt someone squeeze your hand, I want you to walk down with that person. This is your opportunity." The front began to overflow with a stream of people hearing the call, mostly youth. "This is your moment, this is your time. Do you see what God is doing? To build a relationship with Jesus Christ, this is where it begins… " intoned Reverend Moss. The music continued until the close of the service.

The talent of the African-Americans at Trinity Church was undeniable. Their charitable acts are also undeniable. The undercurrent of black liberation theology pervades the teachings at Trinity Church. If you did not realize what Trinity Church actually taught, the service may have been like any other service one might attend except for the political rhetoric. The service did seem to mainly center on Christ.

I have no problem with African-Americans getting back to their culture or their roots. In fact, it was enjoyable to watch. I even saw white faces among the multitude. The music and choreography of the dancers were superb. But, Jesus came for all. His was an inclusive gospel. Black liberation theology is about racism, it is about the exclusion of those who the African-Americans perceive as the oppressors, it is about an oppressed black messiah. Black liberation theology is the central part of Trinity Church, and this is troublesome to say the least.

Obama's Statement

In the Huffington Post, Barack Obama wrote the following in an attempt to defend himself.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

This is somewhat puzzling. I knew of Wright's rhetoric a year ago yet Obama didn't. But it goes further than that. Trinity Church's doctrinal basis is on black liberation theology, and what Reverend Wright said is nothing more than espousing a belief system based on the doctrinal teachings of Trinity Church, a black nationalist church that has more patriotism towards Africa than the United States. Reverend Wright was also like an "uncle" to Obama. Obama sat in this church for twenty years. Obama not only had to know, but he must have approved of its teachings also. No one stays a member of an organization with which they disagree unless he/she has some other nefarious reason for doing so (i.e.: a stepping stone for his political ambitions.)

If Obama were white, and he brought his children every week to hear the rantings of David Duke or someone of the Aryan brotherhood, would he be villified? Yet, for some reason, there seems to be no problem when he, as a black man, brings his children to hear the rantings of a preacher spewing anti-American rhetoric. Moreover, Obama's mother is white yet Obama seems to only be interested in his black half. Something doesn't make sense.

President Obama

So what are we to think? Obama continuously tries to say this is not about race, but Trinity Church is all about race. Religious faith lies at the core of who we are. Trinity Church's teaching should also lie at the core of who Obama is. Does it? I don't know. What are we to make of the judgement of a candidate for president who attends a church that is ostensibly racist? What are we to make of a man who is trying to cross the racial divide, but then we find out he attends a church that espouses racism based in a false ideology called black liberation theology? We do know that his far-left socialist ideas had to come from somewhere. Maybe he doesn't believe in black liberation theology, but I for one don't want to take the chance. Do you?


Note: Barack Obama appeared to distance himself in the speech he gave in Philadelphia on whether he knew about the divisive comments of his pastor. His assertion that he had never heard these comments from Reverend Wright did lack credulity.
 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent deconstruction of this heresy. I wish more would see it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent deconstruction of this heresy. I wish more would see it.


No. This is not excellent deconstruction of heresy. It's not even deconstruction, just a bunch of falsehood. What makes you think Jeremiah Wright is racist? True Trinity places an emphasis on black christianity through liberation theology, but that is only because we live in a society centered around a white standard. Have you listened to the entire sermon in which Wright spewed "God damn America"? Have you taken the effort to research the idea behind that statement? Have you actually watched the entire sermon that he delivered the Sunday after 9/11? It's obvious that this is a good man. It is standard, and might I say even necessary, that the church be able to provide dissent about the gov't. That's part of the reason why we have separation of church and state. His critique of America, while extreme and in many eyes misguided, does not reflect a lack of judgment on Obama's part. Conservatives' inability to understand why Obama would attend a church pastored by Wright displays a lack of judgment on the part of conservatives. It's time for people to step outside of themselves. Stop looking at things on the surface and letting Foxnews tell you what to think. The easy road is to label Obama as an undercover black nationalist who is conspiring to destroy America once president. But it's not true, and you know it. If you have fundamental differences with Obama on policy, fine. But don't try to demonize him with crap. Trinity is a great black church. Obama did not show a lapse in judgment by attending the church for 20 years. Period.

Anonymous said...

"He continued by making indirect comments about Obama saying how he had been reduced to a sound bite."

I believe Rev. Moss was referring to Rev. Wright has been reduced to a sound bite. And the work at Trinity has been reduced to a sound bite, not Obama.

To better understand Rev. Wright and Trinity UCC I think you need to look how Black Liberation Theology is practiced there. What has been the fruits of his Ministry? He and they don't treat non-blacks as inferior, but as equals. They don't try to separate themselves from the rest of the US society.

I have found it interesting how often he uses "We" and not "They" when referring to some incident in American society or action taken by the US government.

"Trinity Church, a black nationalist church that has more patriotism towards Africa than the United States." A black nationalist church which belongs to a predominantly white denomination?
I think they preach putting your faith in God over country, which is what the "God Damn" Sermon was all about. Perhaps that is a bad stance for a politician to take, but it is a stance I would want my church to take.

Thoughts of a conservative genius mind said...

anonymous,

You may be right on the sound bite. I was trying to write it down, so I may have missed that part.

I will grant you that the fruits of Trinity's ministry seem to be quite plentiful, (charitable works, scholarships, and the list goes on)

You said Trinity church treats non-blacks as equal. If that were true, then why is it necessary to continue with the anti-american rhetoric? or say whites are the cause of HIV in the black community.

Listening to that kind of rhetoric keeps a victimhood status which I don't believe is necessary.

If I heard my pastor talking like that, I would not stay around.

I remember the liberation theology movement in Nicaragua. It is a class warfare ideology.

Black liberation theology is also about class warfare. Bringing in class warfare by definition would make the church political. But, Christ stayed about the fray when it came to politics. Christ accepted even the Roman Centurion because of his faith.

Liberation theology is not biblical. It was started as a political movement, and continues to be a political movement.

Biblical teaching is following the word of Christ, not cherry picking or turning the words around to follow a certain belief system.

As I say, I loved watching the music and singing of Trinity Church, but the underlying teachings of the church is what I object to.

Anonymous said...

I've only attended Trinity services via the internet. But I have gotten into the habit of tuning in while getting ready to attend my local church in the SF Bay Area.

Preaching a social gospel is hardly unique to Trinity UCC or Black Liberation Churches.
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=about_us.mission

If we are to judge them then I think it should be on their actions . The overall message I have heard is a call to rely on Gods promises and carry out the teaches of Christ. Of course, Christ's teachings will always be a matter of interpretation.

I've never heard Rev. Wright discuss his beliefs on the origin of HIV or the cause of the spread.

I believe this is the line from the recent videos.

"The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color".

Not white people, but the government.

Instead of victimhood, I believe they are promoting direct action on the ills that plague their local community. An an example look at their response to hiv/aids. Read their hiv/aids web page, this is not victimhood. http://www.tucc.org/hiv_aids.htm

I'm not endorsing any particular conclusion, but you might want to read through the material at this site. http://originofaids.com/ Again I don't know what Rev. Wright was referring to.

Thoughts of a conservative genius mind said...

anonymous,

If a social gospel means preaching that the poor and indigent are to whom the gospel is meant, then it is not biblical. If by social gospel you mean preaching that we must help the least of us, then I am for it.

Liberation theology is nothing new, I will grant you that, but its social message is that the message of Christ is for the suffering, but the message of Christ was for everyone.

The video from Wright's sermons actually came from DVDs they passed out in their services.

I agree with you that they do promote direct action on the ills of society.

I like the way Hugh hewitt states it, "Senator Obama's church has a wonderful reputation for providing services for many among Chicago's urban poor, but those services clearly take place in the context of a political environment very hostile to Israel."

and Israel is just one part.

 
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