Thursday, May 01, 2008

Obama, Wright, and the cultic church they have in common

(New information added 5/3/08.)

Yes, you read me correctly--and I don't headline this lightheartedly. Don't believe me? See if you can tell what words I've changed in the following quote. Thusly, and like so:

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are a Caucasian people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent Europe, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the prosperous time of being slaveowners, the good old days of segregation, and the joyous years of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously enjoy privilege as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a White worship service and ministries which address the White Community.

What sort of Aryan nonsense would that be, right? It's not exactly Aryan, but a subtle expression of the anti-Christian belief system known as Liberation Theology. The tweaked quote above came straight from what (at this writing) is still Barack Obama's home church and Jeremiah Wright's senior pastorate, the Trinity United Church of Christ on West 95th Street in Chicago. If you think I'm stretching to qualify that "church" as practicing Liberation Theology, I refer you to Wright's own "talking points" (the church's term) on that subject. Among them:

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. They include Hispanic theology, Native American theology, Asian theology and Womanist theology.

Black liberation theology defines Africans and African Americans as subjects – not the objects which colonizers and oppressors have consistently defined “others” as.

To have a church whose theological perspective starts from the vantage point of Black liberation theology being its center, is not to say that African or African American people are superior to any one else. African-centered thought, unlike Eurocentrism, does not assume superiority and look at everyone else as being inferior.

Systematized Black liberation theology is 40 years old. Scholars of African and African American religious history show that Black liberation theology, however, has been in existence for 400 years. It is found in the songs, the sermons, the testimonies and the oral literature of Africans throughout the Diaspora.

(The above reference to the "Diaspora" does not refer to the scattering of the Jewish people after their Babylonian exile, as the word is generally used. It has been co-opted by black liberation theology proponents to refer to the period when sub-Saharan Africans were sold into slavery--often by other Africans. To say that referring to this wretched period in time as a "scattering" is an understatement.)

Liberation theology of any stripe is non-Christian. It seeks to enthrone ethnicity or political persuasion in the center of an individual's life, rather than seeing God have that place. When people practice liberation theology, they do so in place of practicing Christianity.

Still not convinced? Here's something else from Trinity's own site; I'll make comments where appropriate.

We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:

Note that, in this little declaration, there will be not one mention of God the Father. "Trinity" Church? Hardly.

You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death. You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth,

Perhaps you can help me here. While I in no way disagree that Jesus Christ is fully man, He is also fully God. Is that mentioned in the quoted epistle?

our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself. You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit,

Not getting anything here about "God the Holy Spirit," something you think you'd get from a Trinitarian church.

creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races. You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil,to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory. You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end. Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you. Amen.

"Your realm." Heaven? Nirvana? Wrigley Field? And note how "justice and peace" get worked into the equation. Never mind that we find grace, not justice, in Christ; never mind that as things are, we are told there will be no peace in this world.

Trinity also hosts a "Center for African Biblical Studies." Whether you wear a dashiki or a bed sheet, advocating race while appealing to the Bible never, ever works. Scripture reminds us that, in Christ, there is no "Jew" or "Greek"--by extrapolation, no "Black" or "White" or "Hispanic" or "Asian" or "Native."

Here, let's look as a few of their "ministries." As a side note, Jesus is mentioned once directly on the Ministries page, and only three times by reference to "Christ," "our Lord," and the "Son (of God)." They list 59 "ministries" on that page. A few tidbits:

AFRICA MINISTRY - promotes, educates and advocates issues concerning Africans in Africa and the Diaspora. Opportunities shall be provided for education, travel, fellowship, economic development, missionary work, financial support, and health education

FINE ARTS & LITERARY GUILD - informs the church family about artistic and cultural events focusing on African and African American heritage.

CARIBBEAN CONNECTION - This ministry is our Afrocentric congregation's attempt to educate our North American members about the many aspects of the Caribbean culture. These aspects include the cuisine, the peoples, the countries, the customs, and the religion of our Lord as practiced in the various Caribbean places.

INTONJANE - Swahili for "Coming into Womanhood" is a formal Rites of Passage program for young women, ages 8-18 years old. The program involves each participant in inspiring Christian, cultural and social awareness exercises.

ISUTHU - Swahili for "Coming into Manhood" is a formal Rites of Passage program for young men, ages 8-18 years old. The program involves each participant in inspiring Christian, cultural and social awareness exercises.

KUJICHAGULIA - The 2nd principle of the Nguzo Saba, meaning "Self-Determination;" provides resources, networking and hands-on assistance to persons who are physically, mentally, and/or emotionally challenged.

SINGLES COMMUNITY MINISTRY - addresses unique issues facing single Christian adults.

Never Married
Single Parent
Same Gender Loving (emphasis mine)
Upcoming Events

Tangeni Adult Dance Ministry

Ministry Purpose/Objectives
The purpose of this ministry shall be to praise God in dance. In keeping with the church’s motto of being “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian,” we recognize that praise and worship in dance is both an expression of our heritage and an acknowledgement of our faith. Tangeni, as led by the spirit, shall provide fellowship and nurturing to its members through devotion during rehearsals, seminars, retreats and other related activities. Tangeni provides an opportunity for its members to enhance and use their spiritual gifts in order that we may minister unto the church universal and the community at large

YOGA MINISTRY - helps participants maintain physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

I love that last one--"yoga ministry" being an oxymoron, whether you're focusing on a cultic church or on a Christian church that's just confused on that particular issue. And how, exactly, does a church address the euphemistically-named "same-gender loving" other than to say "it's a sin"? Seems like that would be one short session.

And if the phrase "Nguzo Saba" rings a bell, that's because it refers to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. That made-out-of-wholecloth "holiday" was, of course, invented by a fellow named Ron Karenga in the late 1960s. Karenga, for the record, is a Marxist. For the record, his one-time "United Slaves" organization was responsible for the deaths of two members of the Black Panthers. For the record, Karenga served several years in prison for assaulting and torturing (yes, that's "torturing") two women who were members of his "United Slaves" organization.

Trinity United Church of Christ, located on West 95th Street in Chicago, Illinois, is not rooted in Christianity. It is a liberation-theology-spouting, ethnocentric pseudo-church preaching a synthetic gospel grounded in divisiveness and hate. A lot of people, apparently, are comfortable with that--or else, so spiritually immature that they're unable to distinguish the true Gospel of Jesus Christ (the Son of God and God the Son, by the way) from the false gospel of ethnic preference and socialism.

Wright ran a false church, as we can see and read by what passes as "sermons" from his pulpit. And Barack Obama has affiliated with that church for two decades.

How are those of us who are Christians to vote? Do we vote for Hillary Clinton, who's never been guilty of taking the Christian faith very seriously? Or do we vote for John McCain, who's not that troubled by homosexual "marriages," who made McCain-Feingold into a mine field for Christian churches, and who insists he's a Christian but will tell you point-blank that he's never been born again? Or do we vote for Barack Obama, who sat for twenty years, shining the pine of a pew in a "church" where hatred had free rein?

To quote the King of Siam, "What a puzzlement."


EDITED TO ADD: On April 28, 2008, Wright spoke to the National Press Club, and answered questions posed to him. Lest there be any doubt Wright preaches another gospel, his own words included the fundamentals of liberation theology--and something even more damning. In case you don't follow the link, I'll post a notable exchange here, thusly and like so:

MODERATOR: Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me.” Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?

WRIGHT: Jesus also said, “Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.”

Not exactly a straight answer, but an interesting little torture of Scripture, that. So Wright believes Islam--an anti-Christian religion that denies the deity of Jesus Christ--is a viable way to salvation, a way that makes Muslims Jesus' "other sheep"? Such belief is impossible without believing that Calvary was the debacle of the ages, and that God is a bumbling idiot.

Not through sinful judgment, but by Wright's own words are the conclusions inescapable ones: He does not--cannot, by his own statements--have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and we should pray for his salvation, because Wright is not--and cannot be, by his own statements--a Christian.

Which puts us back to Obama, who has publicly declared himself to be a Christian. The above-referenced question asked of Wright must be asked of Obama, publicly and clearly. And for all his posturing and rumbling, Obama's answer will no doubt be as disgusting as Wright's.