In this YouTube video of Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright being inteviewed, more than a year ago, by Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, you will hear Wright make continuous reference to “black liberation theology,” “black theology,” and to the writings of James Cone. He is telling Hannity in particular that Hannity cannot understand what the foundation of Wright’s church is without reading Cone and another “black theologian,” Dwight Hopkins.
I’ve been reading from three books by Cone and one by Hopkins for the past few days.
Here is a paragraph from Cone’s summary of the meaning of “black theology” in the final pages (p. 150) of his book “Black Theology and Black Power”:
[I]f [white people] are going to be in a relationship with God, they must enter by means of their black brothers, who are a manifestation of God’s presence on earth. The assumption that one can know God without knowing blackness is the basic heresy of the white churches. They want God without blackness, Christ without obedience, love without death. What they fail to realize is that in America, God’s revelation on earth has always been black, red, or some other shocking shade, but never white. 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. To speak of Satan and his powers becomes not just a way of speaking but a fact of reality. When we can see a people who are being controlled by an ideology of whiteness, then we know what reconciliation must mean. 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).
That is certainly not all of it or the worst of it.
Barack Obama tells us that Jeremiah Wright is the man who led him to Christ. Jeremiah Wright tells us that James Cone is the man who best explains the teachings of Wright’s (Obama’s) church.