Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You Kiddin' Me?

"I didn't anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subject to such challenge and such scrutiny."

This recent Obama quote caught my attention. How is black liberation theology in any way conventional? If Trinity UCC was his first and only taste of Christianity, I guess I could understand and cut him some slack. But even then, if he had never taken a moment to look at other denominations, or even other UCC congregations, where does he get off using that term "fairly conventional"? How would he know? And if he did examine others, how could he not see the unique qualities of his chosen church? As insignificant as this is, and I'm sure certain left-leaning visitors would categorize it as such, it seems like he's either trying to convince the listener that his faith is like any other, or he is ignorant of how it differs from truly conventional Christianity.

Or perhaps he just doesn't realize that most people are concerned about the goofball that has preached to him for the last twenty years, and why he'd consider such a dude a mentor. It has really been about his judgement in continuing to support Wright's ministry, with all his hysterical anti-Amercian and race-baiting rhetoric. Now he thinks it's time to leave Trinity. Uh, uh, pal. It was time a long time ago. And you ain't foolin' nobody about why you're leavin'.

12 comments:

Vinny said...

How do you know that Obama embraces Black liberation theology? Some Catholic priests, e.g., Pfleger, embrace different forms of liberation theology, but that does not mean that all Catholics who attend their churches do.

Marshall Art said...

If Wright was his spiritual mentor as he claims, how do you think Wright imparted spiritual lessons? "Well, Barry, this is what I believe, but I'll also teach you traditional Christianity." I dunno, Vinny. I believe I posed the question in the post. Black lib theology is the focus of Trinity UCC. Without spending the time to investigate other denoms, or churches, as I said, how could one know where black lib theo differs?

Vinny said...

My familiarity with "liberation theology" comess from a couple things I read long ago about Catholic priests in Central America. As far as I know, it is mostly a matter of the extent to which Christ calls his followers to work for social justice and the meaning of social justice. If you spoke with these priests, you might find that their views on original sin, the eucharist, and a variety of other doctrines were consistent with the conventional beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. What distinguished them was what they believed Christ called them to do in order to create a more just society.

As a result, I have no reason to doubt that Obama's Christian beliefs are on the whole fairly consistent with mainstream (i.e., liberal) Protestant theology. Just as evangelical Christians can have very different views on the political implications of their faith, I don't see why Obama could not differ greatly from Wright on these questions.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

I think you're confusing one form of "liberation theology" with another, which is "black liberation theology". Here's one take on it.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Here's another.

From what I understand, Trinity carries lots of stuff from this Cone dude in their bookstore, as well as some other Afro-centric materials, but little in the way of traditional, truly conventional Christian materials. Naturally, I don't know the full truth of this, it's just what I've heard. But all accounts speak of this type of rhetoric being simply SOP for Trinity and they do have a ten point document that doesn't resemble anything traditional at all.

Now if Barry doesn't embrace this stuff at any level, then it seems likely that his whole purpose of being in the church at all was for reasons other than spiritual. Maybe the missus insisted. She certainly leans toward victimhood, woe is me attitude expressed by Wright in his sermons.

But of course he did donate large sums to Trinity. He did call Wright his spiritual mentor. Face it. The guy's way too fishy. This guy just ain't presidential material.

Vinny said...

Here is another take on liberation theology. It doesn't sound nearly as flaky as the nonsense that Hagee and Parsley dish out.

4simpsons said...

Obama obviously left for political reasons. Does that mean he joined and stayed for political reasons?

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

I pointed out a distinction between "lib theology" and "black lib theology". The author of your link doesn't. That's where he goes wrong. To one degree or another, most Christian churches speak of aid to the needy and do so all the time. But Wright's version is far more than that as my links have demonstrated. As anyone should know, the poor and needy come in all colors. Wright's is a race-based theology, and I use the word very loosely, and he plays it up like a Marxist does class envy. It's shameful and very unChristian. Should be plain for you to see this stark distinction.

Marshall Art said...

Neil,

I think the answer is "yes".

Vinny said...

I pointed out a distinction between "lib theology" and "black lib theology".

Yes you did, but you acknowledged that this is not an area in which you are well versed. I am not conversant on the topic either, but from what I have seen, all liberation theology focuses on championing the oppressed against the oppressors. It sounds to me like Black liberation theology happens to focus on one particular oppressed group. I don't know that it excludes others.

Marshall Art said...

Point taken. However, as the links illustrate, they do indeed skew aspects to their favor and totally assume others. In doing so, they have distorted the faith a bit more than simply arguing a tenet such as infant baptism. And the faith they declare is more than a bit shakey if they think they must "kill" God should He not support them. It's the old story of twisting God to fit one's image of Him, rather than conforming their lives to be in keeping with His Word.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Here's a piece by Kyle-Ann Shiver that goes a little further in depth about how unconventional BLT truly is. It is the second of two parts, with a couple of links to the first part. Read them both and you'll see what I mean.