Karl Marx wrote: “What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.” – Karl Marx; essay, The Jewish Question; 1844
Not having a theology degree, nor even a Ph.D., and being, too, a bit naïve regarding matters of high-brow philosophical currents throughout the ages, I have to admit that when I first read Karl Marx’ essay, The Jewish Question, I was actually stunned by its contents.
First off, my rather cursory education in various philosophies and in Marxism, particularly, d
id not prepare me for the bitter thrust of old Karl’s potent anti-Semitism. In fact, until reading this particular essay, I would have never, in a million years, connected much of anything whatsoever Marxian with Jew hate.
After all, Karl Marx, himself, was a Jew. Hitler and many others blamed the Jews for Communism, thanks to the number of Jews who played prominent roles in the Russian Revolution. I naturally associated twentiet h century Anti-Semitism with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.
Ironically, if Karl Marx had still been alive and residing in Germany or any of the Nazi-occupied countries during WWII, he would have perished along with his brethren, despite his own “self-loathing-Jew” status.
Marx envisioned a society “which would abolish the preconditions for huckstering, and therefore the possibility of huckstering,” because this classless society “would make the Jew impossible.”
Personally, I find the opinion of some that Marx was a genius, to be downright laughable. Regarding his opinions on the Jews, one is left to ponderously consider which ones were dumb, and which were dumber.
Evidently Karl Marx was as utterly ignorant of the true tenets of Judaism (Self-sufficiency does not equate to “huckstering.”) as he was of the diabolical possibilities inherent in his own words, once they were in the hands of one Adolph Hitler.
This atrocious irony might be merely a historical oddity if old Karl’s words were not still bouncing around in the heads of those who wish to lead new revolutions based upon them. But Marx’ words still dominate much of what happens on the world stage today, even in our own republic.
The word emphasis has changed a bit. The industrial proletariat is no longer the focus. But as a newly prominent American politician is wont to remind us: words do matter.
Yes, of course, words matter, as many leaders of ambitious movements have mightily declared.
…the power which has always started the greatest religious and political avalanches in history rolling has from time to immemorial been the magic of power of the spoken word, and that alone.
Particularly the broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power of speech. – Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf.
The Oppressed Vs. the Oppressors
But where do they come from, and what do they mean in America today?
I might never have delved into the subject of the oppressed vs. the oppressors if I had not gone to Chicago in January seeking answers about a man who would be president.
When I visited Obama’s church, still under the directorship of Jeremiah Wright, I came away with far more questions than answers, and one thing leading to another, have spent the last several months trying to fathom how Marxist political philosophy wound up emblazoned with a cross and a pulpit, and pretending to rely on the Bible for its authority.
It is somewhat difficult to imagine a more contorted blasphemy,
with the single possible exception of Hitler himself claiming to be acting by divine decree in the interests of Christianity. Which is precisely what Hitler did do, while hoodwinking the German people into electing him Chancellor.
Hitler sprinkled Mein Kampf with Christian language, most likely to fit with the predominantly Christian German population, and appealed to voters on the strength of his Christian “calling”:
“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..”
As most junior-high Sunday schoolers know, however, a Christian is judged on actions, not words, and Hitler was no Christian. He was a bamboozler of the lowest imaginable order.
Jeremiah Wright is the tiny tip of Obama’s spiritual iceberg
The phenomenon that raised so many questions for me in January, when I visited Trinity United Church of Christ, was not Jeremiah Wright’s sermon, which turned out to be just a call for all good congregants to support Barack Obama for President. It wasn’t the sermon that caught me off guard; I was prepared for that. I had watched video of Wright, giving five of his fiery sermons.
The thing that really got me to thinking, reading and searching for answers was the church bookstore.
Having been a practicing Christian for more than 40 years now, and a practicing Catholic for 26 of those years, I have visited perhaps 100 various Christian
bookstores, both Protestant and Catholic. In all of those places, one thing tied together the books for sale: Christianity.
Not so in Obama’s church bookstore.
I spent more than an hour perusing available books, and found as many claiming to represent Muslim thought as those representing Christian thought. Black Muslim thought, to be specific.
And the books claiming to support Christianity were surprisingly of a more political than religious nature. The books by James H. Cone, Wright’s own mentor, were prominent and numerous.
Now that I have read a number of the books that presumably Wright’s congregants (including Barack Obama) have also
read, I can only conclude that the thing tying these volumes together is not Christianity, nor any real religion, but the political philosophy of Karl Marx.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” (emphasis mine) – Marx and Engels; The Communist Manifesto; 1848
If Marxism can be summed up in only a couple of phrases, now familiar to nearly every mo
dern person, they would be “class struggle” and “oppressed vs. oppressors.”
James H. Cone, the unquestioned modern-day mentor of all the black power preachers, claim s to have created a new theology, uniting the Muslim black power tenets of Malcolm X and the Christian foundations of Martin Luther King, Jr.
All he has really done, in my opinion, is take original liberation theology from Latin America, developed in the early 1960s by Catholic priests, and painted it black.
Liberation Theology vs. Traditional Christianity
The teaching authorities of the Catholic Church, have for more than 20 years now, been attempting to stamp out these heretical liberation theologies, denouncing them as vehemently antithetical to the Catholic Christian faith, and have been
strenuously combating this Marxist counterfeit Christianity on many fronts within the Church herself.
Of course, the Medieval, iron-fisted clamp of the Catholic Church’s authority, even within the Church herself, is routinely overstated, and there are renegade priests all over the place (more on another of Obama’s spiritual mentors, a liberation theology Catholic priest in Chicago, in Part Two next week).
Not to mention the fact that the Catholic Church has no authority whatsoever over those claiming to represent protestant interpretations of the Christian faith, such as Cone and Wright.
But it is important to note here that liberation theology, including black liberation theology, has not gone unnoticed by the learned biblical scholars within the Vatican, and liberation theology has been roundly denounced as both heretical and dangerous, not only to the authentic Christian faith, but even more so to the societies which come to embrace it.
Just one nugget from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Instruction on Certain Aspects of the ‘Theology of Liberation’:
“…it would be illusory and dangerous to ignore the intimate bond which radically unites them (liberation theologies), and to accept elements of the marxist analysis without recognizing its connections with the (Marxist) ideology, or to enter into the practice of the class-struggle and of its marxist interpretation while failing to see the kind of totalitarian society to which this process slowly leads.”
– (Author: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, now Pope Benedict XVI; written in 1984)
Understanding that black liberation theology is Marxism dressed up to look like Christianity helps explain why there is no conflict between Cone’s “Christianity” and Farrakhan’s “Nation of Islam.” They are two prophets in the same philosophical (Marxist) pod, merely using different religions as backdrops for their black-power aims.
As Cone himself writes in his 1997 preface to a new edition of his 1969 book, Black Theology and Black Power:
“As in 1969, I still regard Jesus Christ today as the chief focus of my perspective on God but not to the exclusion of other religious perspectives. God’s reality is not bound by one manifestation of the divine in Jesus but can be found wherever people are being empowered to fight for freedom.Life-giving power for the poor and the oppressed is the primary criterion that we must use to judge the adequacy of our theology, not abstract concepts.
As Malcolm X put it: ‘I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion’.” (p. xii; emphases mine)
And, to drive his Marxist emphasis even further, Cone again quotes Malcolm X:
“The point that I would like to impress upon every Afro-American leader is that there is no kind of action in this country ever going to bear fruit unless that action is tied in with the overall international (class) struggle.” (p. xiii)
(Ironically, considering the formal Church teaching regarding liberation theologies, this book of Cone’s was published by Orbis, owned and managed by The Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, a Maryknoll religious entity. So much for the totalitarianism of the Catholic Church.)
It is this subjugation of genuine Christianity to the supremacy of the Marxist class struggle, which marks the true delineation between traditional Christianity and black liberation theology
, as Pope Benedict XVI (writing in 1984 as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) sums up thusly:
“For the marxist, the truth is a truth of class: there is no truth but the truth in the struggle of the revolutionary class.”
Which is precisely why Cone and his disciples are able to boldly proclaim that if the Jesus of traditional Christianity is not united with them in the Marxist class struggle, then he is a “white Jesus,” and they must “kill him.” (Cone; A Black Theology of Liberation; p. 111)
And Cone brings it all the way home with this proclamation of liberation from traditional Christianity itself:
“ The appearance of black theology means that the black community is now ready to do something about he white Jesus, so that he cannot get in the way of our revolution.”
Move over Jesus and make way for Cone, Wright and Obama.
The revolution is at hand.
And presto-chango, once we’ve followed Marx, Cone, Wright and Obama down the yellow brick road to revolution, Christianity as we’ve known it for millennia ceases to exist.
Obama was raised by his mother(left), the agnostic anthropologist, to regard religion as “an expr
ession of human culture…not its wellspring, just one of the many ways — and not necessarily the best way — that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.” (Audacity of Hope; p. 204)
However, when Barack Obama met Jeremiah Wright in the mid-eighties, between his years at Columbia and Harvard Law, he found a “faith” perfectly accommodating to his already well-formed worldview.
From The Audacity of Hope:
“In the history of these (African people’s) struggles, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; rather, it was an active, palpable agent in the world.” (p. 207)
As Obama explains further, it was Wright’s (and presumably Cone’s, as required of new members at Trinity) peculiar form of Christianity that Obama found palatable:
“It was because of these newfound understandings (at Trinity under Wright) — that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic and social justice…that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity…and be baptized.”
Wright’s vision of Christianity was perfectly appetizing to Barack Obama; he didn’t need to change a thing.
Liberation Theology and the New Order of Things
James Cone devotes many words in all of his books to instructing his disciples to beware of those resistant to the necessary change in the power structure, warning that,
“those who would cast their lot with the victims must not forget that the existing structures are powerful and complex…Oppressors want people to think that change is impossible.” (James H. Cone; Speaking the Truth; p. 49)
Pope Benedict XVI (writing as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) give an equally stringent message to Catholics about liberation theology regarding the perversion of the Christian understanding of the “poor”:
“In its positive meaning the Church of the poor signifies the preference given to the poor, without exclusion, whatever the form of their poverty, because they are preferred by God…But the theologies of liberation…go on to a disastrous confusion between the poor of the Scripture and the proletariat of Marx. In this way they pervert the Christian meaning of the poor, and they transform the fight for the rights of the poor into a class fight within the ideological perspective of the class struggle.”
According to Pope Benedict’s instruction on liberation theology, our understanding of the virtues, faith, hope and charity are subjugated to the new Marxist order:
Faith becomes “fidelity to history.”
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, to bring about the final fruition of the class struggle.
Hope becomes “confidence in the future.”
Yes, we can change the world; we don’t need God. Our collective redemption comes when we engage in the Marxist class struggle.
Charity becomes “option for the poor.”
All are not created equal. Special political privilege for the oppressed, socialism, will set us free.
It’s the dawn of a new age.
From the outset of his campaign, Barack Obama has declared himself to be a Christian. He has appeared to be the far left’s
answer to the religious right, the man who would embrace the religion of the majority rather than shy away from it, as Democrat secularists have repeatedly done. For awhile, until Obama’s actual “religion” became clear through the rantings of those who have formed his “moral compass”, it did appear that Barack Obama would beat the religious right at their own “game.”
But the foibles of faking faith can be quite the undoing of a man who proclaims to be above the low-road politics of deceit.
Religion and revolutionaries
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. – Karl Marx
We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal. – Barack Obama; The Audacity of Hope; p. 216 Karl Marx seemed to regard religion as one of the toughest roadblocks to mounting and sustaining a proper revolution by the proletariat. That the masses would continue to stubbornly cling to their religions, placing their hope in God rather than man, was evidently one of the more prickly thorns in ole Karl’s side.
Both Lenin and Stalin (left) concurred with Marx, and one of the most stringent and murderous thrusts of Soviet Communism was its campaign against religion, especially Judaism and Christianity. Mao and other eastern communists went this route as well, and never pretended to have any faith whatsoever in anyone or anything but the material world.
But Barack Obama, the student of Saul Alinksy, sees the necessity of reeling in those of faith, and making them part of the class struggle, while
avoiding the harsher approach of demanding that the people give up their faith as a consequence of their commitment to revolutionary change. Americans have proven much more stubborn in the religious realm than the Europeans, who fell hook, line and sinker for Marx, Lenin and Stalin.
America might seem more amenable to the kind of Third Way socialism that Hitler brought to Germany, while cunningly using Christian jargon to wile his way into Aryan minds and hearts.
Black liberation theology, I have discovered (Read Part One here.), is yet another form of Third Way socialism, developed by Marxists seeking a way around the stubbornness of the ardently faithful, a way to hook folks on the revolution, without putting up a fight to eradicate their religion.
And Obama’s Chicago experiences seem to give him great hope that his cloak of religiosity will help to catapult him over the religious right and into the White House on the wings of liberation theology.
It played in Chicago and even in Peoria
One of the first lessons Barack Obama learned in Chicago, doing Alinsky-style political organizing between Columbia and Harvard, was that the religious communities were where the action was.
The first real power connection that Saul Alinsky himself made in his own class-struggle efforts in the 1930s was with the Archbishop of Chicago. And it was in the churches and synagogues that Alinsky’s initial efforts to organize labor were successful.
What Obama found in Chicago churches in the 1980s, however, was not Martin Luther King’s ole time religion, the traditional Christianity of most of our ancestors, both black and white. No, what Obama found was a religion perfectly compatible with his own, already well-formed, far-left worldview.
The Black Liberation Theology of James H. Cone. Marxism emblazoned with a cross and a pulpit, pretending to use the Bible for its authority.
Before Obama even left Chicago for Harvard Law school, he had been embraced by the strange cabal of some of Chicago’s most radical and activist religious leaders, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Michael Pfleger (left). Liberationists all. Wright, the black Protestant. Farrakhan, the Black Muslim. And Pfleger, the white Catholic.
How Pfleger Fits
Just as James Cone is able to perfectly accommodate Black Muslims within his ostensibly Christian theology, so has he made room for certain white folks as fellow travelers.
Cone makes room for Pfleger, and other whites like him, just as long as these white folks freely acknowledge who the new masters are. Rejecting King’s view of reconciliation with whites (integration) as just another form of oppression, Cone stakes all on the reversal of the order of the things: blacks on top; whites under black control. Cone believes he has discovered a
way to make two wrongs into right.
To me, Cone’s books paint a vision nearly identical to Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism.” Cone just adds a bit of color to Marx’s utterly drab portrait.
“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).” [parentheses are Cone's] – James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; p. 150
If I had listened only to this video of Michael Pfleger, and had not seen his white skin with my own eyes, I would have imagined that he was surely an African-American preacher in the same mold as Jeremiah Wright.
Pfleger has taken Cone’s word above that of Jesus, it would seem, and has completely entered into the essence of Black Liberation Theology, even shedding his own “despicable” whiteness in the process.
As Cone instructs his followers:
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.
(emphasis mine) – James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; 150
There are about a half dozen uses of the words, “principalities and powers” in the New Testament; in all cases they refer to brazen evil. In a few cases, the words seem to speak of earthly evil; in others, they refer to Satan and his minions.
Voters, myself included, are left to wonder now whether Barack Obama’s frequent use of the e
xpression, “principalities and powers,” when he refers to those resistant to “change,” is in keeping with Cone’s definition, restricting collective redemption to the toppling of the material world of whites, or whether it means something else.
Cone (right) isn’t making room for any confusion in his books explaining Black Liberation Theology. He ordains that all white people who don’t join into the Marxist class struggle along with blacks, will be dealt a crushing blow.
The real questions are: Where is your identity? Where is your being? Does it lie with the oppressed blacks or with the white oppressors? Let us hope there are enough to answer this question correctly so that America will not be compelled to acknowledge a common humanity only by seeing that blood is always one color. – James H. Cone; Black Theology & Black Power; p. 152.
As a Catholic, I prefer to stick with the admonitions of Pope Benedict XVI, protect my own soul, and stand on guard against “the kind of totalitarian society to which this (liberation theology) process slowly leads.”
Michael Pfleger (left) appears to have made his choice as well. In order to join the Marxist class struggle, along with Cone, Wright, Farrakhan and Obama, he has become, for all intents and purposes, part of the black power movement.
Looks like a Faustian bargain to me.
Obama’s Resignation from Trinity
After 20 years, Obama has resigned his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ. He did so after Rev. Michael Pfleger’s rants against Hillary Clinton’s white privilege made such a splash on the internet and television news.
But Obama’s attempts to distance himself now from Trinity, Wright, Pfleger, Farrakhan and Cone mean nothing to me. He can, in my mind, no more disown them now, than he could months ago.
The Black Liberation Theology of TUCC that he chose as an adult is the only religious foundation, save the Islam he learned as a young child in an Indonesian school, that Barack Obama has ever had in his life.
Discovering Black Liberation Theology in Wright’s church was the one thing that enabled Obama to see that those believing in a far left political ideology could also have religion. Obama’s mother had taught him this wasn’t the case.
Wright showed him another way, a Third Way.
And Obama seized it, has used this Third Way to catapult himself into powerful positions, and now is stunningly within reach of the most powerful political position in the world, the Presidency of the United States of America.
And wherever Obama speaks in public, strains of Black Liberation Theology are ingrained in his message.
Our Collective Salvation
When Barack Obama spoke to the graduates of Wesleyan College last week, taking the place of ailing Senator Edward Kennedy, he gave a commencement address not unlike those anywhere. I, like others, read the transcript.
And here are the words that gave me a shudder:
It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. (emphasis mine)
“Collective salvation” is an idea that comes from Marxism, Liberation Theology in particular, and is absolutely antithetical to traditional Christianity. When it comes to facing God on one’s own judgment day, there is no hiding in groups, no “collective” anything.
The idea of “collective salvation” or “collective redemption” is pure Marxism; there is nothing whatsoever Christian about it.
As Pope Benedict XVI has warned about Liberation Theology:
Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic.” - Truth and Tolerance; p. 116
Human suffering, and its unfair dissemination among peoples, has been the hallmark of life on earth since the dawn of human history. And history is rife with attempts to recreate the world in a manner that would ostensibly make life fair to all.
Black Liberation Theology, and all Liberation Theologies, as well as every type of Marxism — whether Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Hitler’s, Mao’s, Castro’s – have all begun with appeals to the people to create a just world, or rather to create a world in keeping with that particular leader’s concept of what a just world should look like. A society that would right the wrongs inherent in God’s design and those that are manifest from age to age on account of man’s own sin.
Pope Benedict marked his official reign as Pope of the Catholic Church with a homily on this very thing:
How often we wish that God would show Himself stronger, that He would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way; they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity.
We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not be those who crucified him.
The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.
The essential difference between Obama’s liberation theology and traditional Christianity would seem to be not the presence or the absence of hope.
The difference is where individuals choose to put their hope.
Will we continue to hope in God, while each working to achieve individual redemption for our own souls, and in the process make the world a slightly better place?
Or will we, in a massive protest of impatience with God’s way, choose to put our hope in the people, the movement, the collective salvation offered by Obama and his liberation theologians?
That is the question of this election, it would seem.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at www.kyleanneshiver.com.
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