The Missed Message of Reverend Wright: The Honesty Required for Liberation
Well, they finally got him to do it. It really is a shame when “they” get what they want, and Barack Obama’s disassociation from Reverend Wright was exactly that. It’s more than a little unfortunate that Obama does not recognize this age old tactic to divide the Black populace. Repeatedly Obama has been asked to renounce one thing ( or person ) after another, and Obama continues to oblige… Whittling away at the people who are truly on his side.
A month ago Obama said he couldn’t give up Reverend Wright any more than he could give up the black community, yet yesterday he gave up Reverend Wright for speaking the truth about the black community. You can be sure he hurt a lot of people by disowning their reality in such a fashion.
I’ll start by saying this. Reverend Wright’s speech was probably the most truth I’ve heard on MSNBC… Ever. As always, I encourage you to watch it in its entirety. That half an hour primer on understanding the Theology of Liberation was actually quite fascinating, and the American people should have learned and benefited from those insights.
Of course, nothing of the kind occurred. The media’s abrasive response only reiterated their inability to accept the truth about a great many things, and their determination to make sure no one else learns anything either. In fact, the media paid no attention to his speech at all, and instead focused solely on the specious “question and answer” period following it. With total disregard for the foundation the Reverend had laid for an actual discussion, the “moderator” proceeded as if she hadn’t heard a word of it.
The questions were uninformed, leading, divisive, and insulting – and the Reverend fielded them accordingly. Just as they’ve been doing to Barack Obama, the questions were designed to pit black man against black man – but the Reverend would not take the bait. Getting Black people to turn on each other is a control mechanism that has been used throughout this country’s history, and is currently being used in every “conflict” we are involved in from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Because of that, the good Reverend would not “give up” Minister Farrakhan ( as all Black “patriots” are supposed to do ) in order to appease the frightened and misinformed public. Because of that, the good Reverend would not shy away from the truth of the terror the United States inflicts on the rest of the world during our resource and empire wars. Because of that, the good Reverend would not deny the truth of United States instigation and involvement in the South African biological weapons program Project Coast.
But Barack certainly did. To my continued amazement, Barack Obama keeps demonstrating his lack of awareness in these areas. It becomes more and more evident that he actually believes that this country ( or this world for that matter ) is somehow “past” these things that have never even been addressed to begin with. Personally, being a half-black / half-white man who is about the same age as Barack, I find that simply astounding.
So Obama took the bait… hook, line, and sinker. Barack Obama, who has rightfully championed the cause of unity and understanding, chose to cast out the voice and validity of the least represented and most abused segment of our society. A segment that he is also a part of. It would have been nice if he had a little more respect for the past and current sufferings of people of color all over this planet, and an awareness of the fact that they suffer solely because of the color of their skin.
This self-flagellating, self-denial, and self-nullification of the true history of Black people in this country ( and around the world ) is the fundamental method of keeping us “under control.” I assure you, the master’s are petrified that the actual history will become known and accepted, and they will be exposed as the monsters they are and have always been. That is why the myth of “the United States would never do such a thing” is such an important myth to perpetuate.
But again, the Reverend’s message was what was completely lost. What could have been constructive was instantly torn asunder by the elitist and narcissistic punditry that dare cast the same aspersions on the Reverend. His message was intended to give context to a forbidden topic that as you can see, still tears at the core of this society.
“Isaiah 61: Preach the gospel to the poor and to set at liberty those who are held captive. Liberating the captives also liberates those who are holding the captives. It frees the captive and frees the captors. It frees the oppressed and it frees the oppressors.”
“The prophetic theology of the black church during the days of segregation, Jim Crow, lynching, and the separate-but-equal fantasy, was a theology of liberation. The prophetic theology of the black church, during the days of chattel slavery, was a theology of liberation. It was preached to set free those who were held in bondage spiritually, psychologically, and sometimes physically. And it was practiced to set the slaveholders free from the notion that they could define other human beings or confine a soul set free by the power of the gospel.”
“Theology of liberation. It was preached to set Africans free from the notion of second class citizenship which was the law of the land and it was practiced to set free misguided and mis-educated Americans from the notion that they were actually superior to other Americans based on the color of their skin. The prophetic theology of the black church in our day is preached to set African-Americans and all other Americans free from the misconceived notion that different means deficient.”
“God’s desire is for positive change, transformation, real change, not cosmetic change, transformation, radical change or a change that makes a permanent difference, transformation. God’s desire is for transformation, changed lives, changed minds, changed laws, changed social orders, and changed hearts in a changed world.”
“This principle of transformation is at the heart of the prophetic theology of the black church. These two foci of liberation and transformation have been at the very core of the black religious experience from the days of David Walker, Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen, Jarena Lee, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, and Sojourner Truth, through the days of Adam Clayton Powell, Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan, Cornell West, and Fanny Lou Hamer.”
“Our congregation, as you heard in the introduction, took a stand against apartheid when the government of our country was supporting the racist regime of the African government in South Africa.”
“Our congregation stood in solidarity with the peasants in El Salvador and Nicaragua, while our government, through Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal, was supporting the Contras, who were killing the peasants and the Miskito Indians in those two countries.”
“The prophetic theology of the black church is a theology of liberation; it is a theology of transformation; and it is ultimately a theology of reconciliation.”
“The Apostle Paul said, “Be ye reconciled one to another, even as God was in Christ reconciling the world to God’s self.” God does not desire for us, as children of God, to be at war with each other, to see each other as superior or inferior, to hate each other, abuse each other, misuse each other, define each other, or put each other down.”
“Reconciliation, the years have taught me, is where the hardest work is found for those of us in the Christian faith, however, because it means some critical thinking and some re-examination of faulty assumptions when using the paradigm of Dr. William Augustus Jones.”
“Dr. Jones, in his book, God in the ghetto, argues quite accurately that one’s theology, how I see God, determines one’s anthropology, how I see humans, and one’s anthropology then determines one’s sociology, how I order my society.”
“Now, the implications from the outside are obvious. If I see God as male, if I see God as white male, if I see God as superior, as God over us and not Immanuel, which means “God with us,” if I see God as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, sexist, or misogynist, then I see humans through that lens. My theological lens shapes my anthropological lens. And as a result, white males are superior; all others are inferior.”
“To say “I am a Christian” is not enough. Why? Because the Christianity of the slaveholder is not the Christianity of the slave. The God to whom the slaveholders pray as they ride on the decks of the slave ship is not the God to whom the enslaved are praying as they ride beneath the decks on that slave ship.”
“How we are seeing God, our theology, is not the same. And what we both mean when we say “I am a Christian” is not the same thing. The prophetic theology of the black church has always seen and still sees all of God’s children as sisters and brothers, equals who need reconciliation, who need to be reconciled as equals in order for us to walk together into the future which God has prepared for us.”
“Reconciliation does not mean that blacks become whites or whites become blacks and Hispanics become Asian or that Asians become Europeans. We root out any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred, or prejudice. And we recognize for the first time in modern history in the West that the other who stands before us with a different color of skin, a different texture of hair, different music, different preaching styles, and different dance moves, that other is one of God’s children just as we are, no better, no worse, prone to error and in need of forgiveness, just as we are.”
“Only then will liberation, transformation, and reconciliation become realities and cease being ever elusive ideals.”