Please scroll down for posts on main page...
|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
This is rather self-explanatory...
But, in the context of what we've been saying, what else might he be repeating?
The media frenzy has subsided for now - having essentially missed the point. Since the Fourth Estate is so focused on essentialness - is so interested, for example, in exploring the root causes of terrorism - it seems odd that there would be so little focus on the root causes of Jeremiah Wright's explications and the root causes of Barack Obama's participation.
So, we continue to grind this out. I've said that there are some very hard things to say. First, please watch this little mash-up.
It's one thing to write that Jeremiah Wright instructs us to adhere to Cone and to venture into the ambiguous world of Black Liberation Theology where we really cannot tell the difference between faith and policy - it's another thing to see it and hear it in expressions of faith and praxis.
The clip of Jeremiah Wright is from his "Hannity" interview on Fox News roughly a year ago (from this writing). The clip of James Cone is from his Ingersoll Lecture at the Harvard Divinity School (requires Real Media player - about an hour and a half duration) in October 2006 (so it's contemporary), called, reiteratively, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. The Barack Obama clips are from his reading of his book, Dreams from My Father, from a campaign stop in Harlem in 2007, and a debate among the Democratic candidates in late 2007.
Clearly, Cone's theology does not just elevate black experience to primacy, he replaces the very cross of Christ with the lynched black man. And there's no question that he evokes a terrible beauty in the telling, it is just the paucity of reality that speaks louder still.
Lynching is one of those very difficult things to discuss. There is no excuse for vigilante justice. None. And we cannot argue about the value of human life, especially if we embrace Judeo/Christian morality, because each life is of inestimable value. But what we can talk about is perspective.
To avoid intentionalist interpretation about what we mean here - we take lynching to mean "causing the death, typically by hanging, of someone accused of a crime, by a group of people taking the law into their own hands." I realize that the word is loaded with meaning ascribed in the latter part of the 20th century, but that certainly can't be interpreted from Cone's penchant for strange fruit.
Perspective: A Tuskegee Institute study determined that there were 4,730 lynchings between 1880 and 1951. Of those, 3,437 victims of mob violence were African Americans, 1,293 were Caucasians.
Perspective: A brief perusal of homicide statistics demonstrates with little extrapolation that black criminals kill black victims at an annual rate easily more than twice the total number of black lynchings in all of US history. These are not victims that are accused of crimes that might incite the passions of the mob - they are ordinary citizens fully deprived of their lives by people of their own race. This is true for at least the last twenty years, and if past trending is meaningful there were likely many more murders in years past than there are in the present day. Clearly, in the backdrop of life taking by citizens against other citizens, lynching is an aberration, it certainly cannot lay claim to being the scourge of illicit death for black Americans - that long tail lies with black criminals preying on their own identity.
Yet James Cone would have us deify, even comprehend all of American religious meaning through the lynching lens.
It might be tempting to simply view Cone as some sixties cultist - that is until you recall that Cone informs Wright who informs Obama. Some will say that there is some fantastic leap to reach that conclusion. I say pictures and words are worth thousands more.
By the time Barack Obama wrote Dreams from My Father, he was well ensconced in Wright's flock. In an early chapter of the book when he (justifiably) decries miscegenation, he offhandedly displays a stark race baiting cynicism. It is simply not credible to assert that in circa 1960 his father would have been strung up somewhere in the south for looking at his mother the wrong way. Was there racial injustice? Yes. Were their murders, even those motivated by racism? Yes. But there is simply no incident at the time where a black man was hung by a mob in any event - much less by some intentional judgment of the look in that straw man's eye. What could provide Obama with the confidence to assert such an error? Could it be identifying his missing father with the highest religious metaphor available to him?
When Obama complains about "reading about nooses" and the hyperbole of an "epidemic of nooses" he's mainly talking about the events in Jena, Louisiana in the fall of 2007. We won't recount the full story here, but it is clear in hindsight that the claims of the 'black oppressed' criminals, the pandering of the media and black leadership in that situation were proven fraudulent. (While hardly an epidemic, there have also been a number of other "noose" incidents - some hoaxes, some unsolved, which we will visit in a future post.)
But what is most disturbing is the promise of policy. Obama, after ill informed race baiting, pledges action against what amounts to straw men.
Mr. Obama, when your investigators go out to ferret out the hocus pocus around incidents like Jena in the future, will they go out with the religious fervor that elevates black oppression above anything else, including evidence?
And every single day during this campaign we could write a headline that says "Twenty-five black victims murdered by black criminals, Obama continues to campaign." And it would be true.
Barack Obama clearly understands what race baiting is. Yet, he chooses, when it suits him, to do it. I think that can only be explained by his discovery of power - after being long frustrated by his own powerlessness, his inability to achieve real power with education, his inability to achieve it in organizing - that he finds in Black Liberation Theology. Almost no one will argue with an angry black man wielding the theology of the noose. The white intelligentsia of Harvard roll over for Cone, and the Democratic candidates offer not a bleat to the pragmatic fancy of Obama's debate.
It is a fascinating facet, as a backdrop to all of this, that the rhetoric of the theologian and the politician are the same. Perhaps that is why it is so tempting to explain this all away. But this is just one example. We will explore in subsequent posts nearly identical ministerial messages conveyed by each of these men. And we must contemplate with that whether there is a Theocracy coming from a most unexpected place.
UPDATE: Reworked a little based on great input from Karl.
This is an appealing piece, because it correctly points out that Obama:
settled on merely "explaining" so-called racial differences between blacks and whites -- and in so doing amplified deep-seated racial tensions and divisions. Instead of giving us a polarizing treatise on the "black experience," Obama should have reiterated the theme that has brought so many to his campaign: That race ain't what it used to be in America...I waited in vain for our hybrid presidential candidate to speak the simple truth that there is no such thing as "race," that we all belong to the same race -- the human race. I waited for him to mesmerize us with a singular and focused appeal to hold all candidates to the same standards no matter their race or their sex or their age. But instead Obama gave us a full measure of racial rhetoric about how some of us with an "untrained ear" -- meaning whites and Asians and Latinos -- don't understand and can't relate to the so-called black experience.
Meyer is right to point out a call to human unity as advisable. We need some of that in terms of dialog in the public square and fundamental resolution of the founding assertion that we are all created equal. It is a point. But it's not the point - not the only point.
Because we err, as well, to issue a call to absolute sameness. Down that path lies the collective and if we embrace it in the extreme we end up not being individually identifiable.
[I regularly travel to Japan. I love that country and its people. But if you want to see the closest thing to a human hive, that's one place to observe. And it isn't America or what I think we want to be.]
It's perhaps a subtle or nuanced point - as Americans we are called to celebrate both our sameness and our differences.
It's intellectually dishonest to say that we aren't in reality different in many respects or that groups of individuals are wrong to desire to celebrate some cultural - or even racial - distinction. Some aspect of each of us is tribal, and ethnic, and individual.
Color-blindness and culture-blindness in the extreme leads to a homogeneity that is not healthy and once we think through it, not something that any of us would really want. We are a country of people - all members of the human race - and many more or less identifiable with any number of groups in which we have something in common.
In this country we have a long tradition of honoring and celebrating identity. We once were Male and Female, Quakers and Puritans, Deists, and Calvinists, Virginians, Loyalists, and Rhode Islanders, Whigs, Tories, and Democrats, Irish, and Italian, Immigrant, and Indian (among many more). We have now become identities too many to measure or conceive and it is our destiny perhaps to become as many identities - and more - as there are souls.
America's traditional message to identity has always been - go and do your thing! Celebrate your identity, celebrate with those that you hold common interest, or culture with.
The error of identity politics enters when identifiable groups assert that their differences have some innate characteristic that demands especially favorable treatment by the "other" - it doesn't matter whether the rationale is because of oppression or the superiority of royal blood or anything else. It is this error that ironically belies the American conception of everyone created equal and makes exception rule.
Identity politics is the bane of our culture. It ultimately leads to a multicultural nihilism - where identities descend to infantile hubris and demand servitude from the "other" - a cacaphony that, even now, runs amok among us.
Perhaps it is the final destination of the addiction to the self.
And so we must walk that razor's edge, the edge that allows us to accept the universal equality of mankind and the identity or identities to which we - and to which others - belong. We can be Greek without demanding special treatment from Cowboys.
As well, it's certainly permissible for an identity group to be insular. I don't like many of the things that Jeremiah Wright has said - but it is his right to say them. He may be offended by my very existence and he has that right as well. His church may not welcome my presence. He and they can possess and celebrate that identity for all they care because this is our beloved country. It is when that identity demonizes the "other" and demands some reparative attention or some special provenance unwarranted by anyone else that the descent befalls. They can keep it in, but they can't let it out.
It is my hope that we will always be able to hear the lilting Cajun patois in the southern Mississippi basin, that we can always go and buy a painted silk fan or paper lantern in the nearest Chinatown, that we can attend the Greek festival and enjoy those grilled lambchops, listen to the sorrowful blues in a favorite dive, rub shoulders with the brokers on Wall Street, watch the latest incarnations of Beethoven thrash their modern lyres, and any other of the myriad of identity celebrations that characterize our culture. Let us not be so humane that we lose who we are.
Oh, and God grant us the providence to root out the political disease that has befallen us. May we learn to come together as equals in the public square and debate the provenance of government as equals without regard to what sheaths our bodies or how articulate the noise we make with each other may sound. May we not elevate nation above identity, but hold again that we are a nation of laws and not of identity perspective.
H/T: Dan Collins for the Meyer article.
In these next few months there will be troubled waters.
There are many, many things to say. Some are very difficult to say. Perhaps it is a good time to have a national conversation.
Interest across all media regarding Barack Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright seems to continue unabated. Some number of media pundits are now of the view that it's over though there may be some typical blips - though it appears that, perhaps because of Obama's allowance by not repudiating Wright, a number of defenses of Wright are occurring . But, as I've been positing, it is comprehending Barack Obama's underlying theological point of view that should eventually become the focus - for the purpose of understanding just what is going on during this particular American season.
[Having just completed reading Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left (which, by the way, I think is the most important political book that I've ever read - and, please understand, by saying that, I'm not saying that I agree with everything dear Jonah says, but I am offering my opinion that it is the most important political book of our age...), I am realizing just how many political views of the American polity are not necessarily guided by critical thinking and in many cases, perhaps, those points of view have been unwittingly shaped by revisionist history and appealing calls that mask intention. I know that I've had to recalibrate many areas of my own views in light of Jonah's book.]
In the culmination of Obama's speech last week, he suggests we have two alternatives: one (which he eschews) is that we can have a politics of division that continues the discussion that we have had in the last couple of weeks preceding his speech (including the implications of the meaning of the messages of Jeremiah Wright), or two, we can reject that and:
This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools...This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room...This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills...This time we want to talk about...how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized...
He states this because Obama's constituency is the oppressed. His ministry is to the oppressed (which for him also includes those in military service - he projects that they are oppressed by having to participate in an unjust war). With whatever platitudes he offers about having some national conversation about race, what he says that is ultimately important is that our country is made up of the oppressed and the oppressors and what we need to talk about is the oppressed (and certainly with a sprinkling of the primacy of black experience).
People of all political positions have commented on whether Obama played the race card or commended himself well but it doesn't seem that anyone has pointed out that, after some forty years of our Great Society experiment, his call to action about what America's should be focused on is more fully realizing that experiment - and more can really only mean that we further expand entitlements somewhere above the something more than twenty percent of GNP that it is now. (Doesn't it occur to anyone that, should we contemplate Kenya, the Sudan, and Darfur (along with many other places in the world), whether we should ask "Is anyone in America really oppressed?")
Isn't it time, and really past time, to have a conversation about how the Great Society experiment has utterly failed? Isn't it time to cease the crushing weight of that part of the entitlement system that creates fatherless children and broken lives? Isn't it time to talk about the value of personal responsibility and how energy-sapping is the soul of victimhood?
It is the ultimate irony perhaps to suggest to Mr. Obama that there is perhaps a Third Way.
In his Philadelphia speech Barack Obama said:
...Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - ...just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
Just for the record. I have sat in the pew (not every Sunday) for almost twenty years in my church and I have never once heard my pastor say anything whatsoever resembling anything akin to the trail Jeremiah Wright has left. I've never heard him - from the pulpit - every make a political comment - or make any suggestion whatsoever about American leadership - other than to pray for our leaders. Come to think of it, I've never heard any such thing in any church that I have ever attended at any time for nearly fifty years.
So please don't count me among the many, Mr. Obama.
I've begun making a case that to understand Barack Obama, it is important to understand that he is informed by Jeremiah Wright (it's amazing how fast some entries in the Wikipedia are updated isn't it?) and further, that he is informed by James Cone (and other more significantly Marxist black intelligentsia like Cornel West and Anthony Pinn).
For Obama to pretend that Wright is like a sometimes bumbling uncle, and that familial disagreement is really all there is in reference to the controversial videos that most of us have seen in the last few weeks, is disingenuous. Jeremiah Wright is not a singular voice, he voices the sentiments of those who founded Black Theology, and those who follow it, and his praxis explicates what he has been taught and what he believes.
Obama may disavow certain inflammatory remarks that Wright makes, but that is really a matter of adroit packaging because Obama believes in the same underlying theology that Wright does and has consistently repeated the same message - just purposefully packaged to make it more palatable to a broader base of potential voters.
In the NYT article (requires login) A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith, by Jodi Kantor that introduced Obama's faith in the mainstream media - this in April of 2007:
When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.
Clearly, Obama has been informed by Jeremiah Wright. Further into the article:
Still, Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy...Mr. Wright preached black liberation theology, which interprets the Bible as the story of the struggles of black people, who by virtue of their oppression are better able to understand Scripture than those who have suffered less.
If you haven't already done so, please read my post referenced above to underscore that the 'gospel' of Black Theology is the primacy of the experience of the oppressed black identity group. This is the central thesis of the systematized theology expounded by James Cone.
In Seattle's underground paper The Stranger, Jonathan Raban pens in The Church of Obama, How He Recast the Language of Black Liberation Theology into a Winning Creed for Middle-of-the-Road White Voters:
The title of Obama's book The Audacity of Hope is an explicit salute to a sermon by Wright called "The Audacity to Hope," and his speeches are peppered with Wrightisms, like his repeated claim that "There are more young black men in prison than there are in college," but his debt to the preacher goes much deeper. While Wright works his magic on enormous congregations, with the basic message of liberation theology, that we are everywhere in chains, but assured of deliverance by the living Christ, Obama, when on form, can entrance largely white audiences with the same essential story, told in secular terms and stripped of its references to specifically black experience. When Wright says "white racists," Obama says "corporate lobbyists"; when Wright speaks of blacks, Obama says "hard-working Americans," or "Americans without health care"; when Wright talks in folksy Ebonics, of "hos" and "mojo," Obama talks in refined Ivy League. But the essential design of the piece follows the same pattern as a Wright sermon, in its nicely timed transition from present injustice and oppression to the great joy coming in the morning.
Obama's political strategy is to bring nationalist black theology into a broad constituency. In our culture of identity politics it's not a stretch to broaden the social gospel for one identity group to all of the oppressed identity groups that have identified themselves. To the extent that these groups are receptive to the statist progressive promises of government coddling will determine Obama's strategic success.
All of this raises a rich plethora of issues for discussion, but, for the purpose of this post, we can certainly say that Barack Obama's characterization of his relationship with Wright is devoid of transparency.
In further posts we'll examine this and other issues in more detail.
H/T for the Cornel West reference: Cobb.
In a rather astonishing turn of events, the IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ for a speech that Barack Obama made last June. The IRS says that "The United Church of Christ violated every single point outlined in the IRS guidelines..."
The UCC, for its part, is treating this as a First Amendment case.
The stranger than fiction backdrop to this is that Barry Lynn (yes that Barry Lynn) is, of all things, an ordained United Church of Christ minister. While Barry's organization has been instrumental in having most displays of the Ten Commandments removed from government property, they've also moved eleven times since 2007 for 'electioneering':
Americans United has filed 11 complaints with the IRS about electioneering by religious institutions since January 2007. They include the Catholic Diocese of Providence (R.I.) for opposing presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.) for endorsing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ (Las Vegas, Nev.) for endorsing Obama.
They've not taken action with the UCC for anything apparently. But there's no hypocrisy in that is there?
UPDATE: Allah at HotAir reports on Wall Street Journal review of recent sermons at Obama's church that appear to promote Obama's campaign. Perhaps the IRS might want to integrate these activities into their UCC investigation.
UPDATE2: The Pew Forum has a report that explains the IRS regulations.
One sidelight to the recent row over John McCain receiving an endorsement from John Hagee has perhaps been a bit of renewed attention on Barack Obama's membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
This (primarily audio) YouTube offering has been making the rounds as an homage of sorts to the teaching of Pastor Jeremiah Wright (Obama's mentor, who has (apparently) baptized Obama, his children, officiated at his marriage and blessed Obama's house).
In case you didn't catch the high points, they go something like this [Ed: this is not a verbatim transcription, just attempting to capture the essential points]:
Justice is ignored.
#1 We've got more black men in prison than there are in college - racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run...
#2 [Ed: there does not appear to be a number two in this discussion.]
#3 America is still the number one killer in the world...
#4 We put Mandela in prison and supported apartheid... we believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.
#5 We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anyone who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic...
#6 We conducted radiation experiments on our own people...
#7 We do not care if poor black and brown children cannot read and kill each other senselessly. We abandoned the cities back in the sixties when the riots started... have more homeless than any nation in the world.
#8 We started the AIDS virus and now that it is out of control we still put more money in military than in medicine, more money in hate than in humanitarian concerns... if you are poor, black, and elderly forget it.
#9 We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that third world people live in grinding poverty...
#10 We are selfish, self-centered egotists who are arrogant and ignorant...
In light of these 10 facts, God has got to be sick of this sh*t.
It is certainly difficult to ascertain the hermeneutic employed here. It doesn't appear that there is a particular Biblical text that is being referenced. Other than the timbered voice of authority, the content does not appear to be primarily focused on religious instruction.
If we look past the anger, is there some method to employ to make a determination about what this message is rooted in?
A few days prior to this writing, Sean Hannity conducted a brief interview with Pastor Wright in which Wright substantively directed Hannity to study up on Black Theology and Liberation Theology referring to a couple of progenitors of those theological systems: James Cone and Dwight Hopkins. Presumably, only upon some confirmation of comprehension of systematizers such as these, could one opine on what characterizes the belief system espoused by Wright's church.
Hopkins is a Cone disciple and it appears that the bulwark of Black Theology rests on his work. In this post we'll focus on Black Theology and let Cone elucidate for us:
In 2000, in Cross Currents, Whose Earth Is It Anyway, Connecting racism with the degradation of the earth is a necessity for the African American community:
No threat has been more deadly and persistent for black and Indigenous peoples than the rule of white supremacy in the modern world. For over five hundred years, through the wedding of science and technology, white people have been exploiting nature and killing people of color in every nook and cranny of the planet in the name of God and democracy...
As quoted on BeliefNet in 1999:
What deepens my anger today is the appalling silence of white theologians on racism in the United States and the modern world. Whereas this silence has been partly broken in several secular disciplines, theology remains virtually mute. From Jonathan Edwards to Walter Rauschenbusch and Reinhold Niebuhr to the present, progressive white theologians, with few exceptions, write and teach as if they do not need to address the radical contradiction that racism creates for Christian theology. They do not write about slavery, colonialism, segregation, and the profound cultural link these horrible crimes created between white supremacy and Christianity. The cultural bond between European values and Christian beliefs is so deeply woven into the American psyche and thought process that their identification is assumed. White images and ideas dominate the religious life of Christians and the intellectual life of theologians, reinforcing the "moral" right of white people to dominate people of color economically and politically. White supremacy is so widespread that it becomes a "natural" way of viewing the world. We must ask therefore: Is racism so deeply embedded in Euro-American history and culture that it is impossible to do theology without being anti-black?
In his Ingersoll Lecture at the Harvard Divinity School late in 2006, Cone offered in The Cross and the Lynching Tree:
The church’s most vexing problem today is how to define itself by the gospel of Jesus’ cross as revealed through lynched black bodies in American history. Where is the gospel of Jesus’ cross revealed today? Where are black bodies being lynched today? The lynching of black America is taking place in the criminal justice system where nearly one-third of black men between the ages of 18 and 28 are in prisons and jails, on parole, or waiting for their day in court. One-half of the two million people in prisons are black. That is one million black people behind bars, more than in colleges. Through private prisons, whites have turned the brutality of their racist legal system into a profit-making venture for dying white towns and cities throughout America. One can lynch a person without a rope or tree.
It appears that Cone's writings do not differ much from the first recording above. How is he to be understood?
One instructive point of view is by traditional Christian author Ron Rhodes. In what is one of the few evaluations on Liberation and Black Theology, there is a significant historical backdrop given as well as a methodology for understanding Cone's theological position:
In assessing the theology of James Cone, it is critical to recognize that he sees black experience as the fundamental starting point for ascertaining theological truth...[and] Cone says that "it is this common experience among black people in America that Black Theology elevates as the supreme test of truth. To put it simply, Black Theology knows no authority more binding than the experience of oppression itself. This alone must be the ultimate authority in religious matters." [Ed: references are in the linked document.]
We also learn from Cone's writings (as referenced by Rhodes) that God is black, Jesus is black, that the idea of salvation is predominantly the liberation of oppressed blacks in this life, and further that liberation is the "emancipation of black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deem necessary." - including the potential for violence.
If we attempt to comprehend how Black Theology differs from traditional Christian Theology in a theological context it is that its focus is on black experience and its 'gospel' is in the liberation of the black oppressed. This has evolved today to the point that 'praxis' - the act of revolutionary liberation from oppression - has primacy. Traditional Christian Theology certainly offers liberation - focused on a liberation from sin - but it is also universal: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Rev. 22:17) - and "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female" in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
Given that we live today in a post-Christian society it may be instructive to take a view that considers a political rationale as well. It seems perhaps reasonable to conclude that Black Theology is a mapping of identity politics* onto traditional Christian theology. In this way it can be explained as the engulfing of traditional Christian terminology and meaning with the mission of identity politics - and in this case the identity politics of black Americans. Those interested in the meaning of language as it relates to our culture have visited this kind of expedient adoption.
Given that slavery has been abolished, amendments to the constitution have been made, the Civil Rights movement has been almost universally embraced, legislative acts have been promulgated, broad entitlements have been granted, affirmative action has existed, and we have conducted a long term experiment with enhancing the experience of a large number of groups with political identity, it seems almost strange that Black Theology rhetoric is what it is.
Perhaps it is that the point of view is so entrenched in the focus on oppression as an experience of primacy that any party to it can never move - the act of liberation is perpetually frozen in the experience of self-imposed oppression.
*Identity politics is certainly a laden phrase. It has been significantly elucidated elsewhere. A reasoned reading of almost any definition describes with almost identical language the separable tenets of Black Theology.
Michelle Malkin is one of the few conservative bloggers to examine the roots of Obama's faith. Her referenced post also links to a transcript of the second video clip above as well - so you don't have to take my word for Wright's pedagogical instruction to understand his church's faith from Cone.