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Black Liberation Theology in Current Discussions

For those that have been confused by the rather muddled and frenzied discussions in the media lately about Barak Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and race relations in America, allow me to heartily recommend the various discussions of these things by my friend David Horstkoetter.  David is a student at Union Seminary who has studied under James Cone and has a passionate interest in race and theology, and black thelogy in particular.  He has blogged extensively about the current discussions, including some very helpful comments by J. Kameron Carter which clarify elements of this hoopla very well.  I highly commend David’s critiques of the innane conservative backlash against Rev. Wright’s willingness to speak the truth about race in America.  They are right on the money.


  1. Thanks Halden, glad you like ‘em.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  2. Tia wrote:

    Wow. Cool. Thanks for the link.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  3. I’m glad someone’s doing the hard work on this. I’ve only had time to post some videos of Jon Stewart doing his usual deconstruction of 24 hour news coverage on the issue.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  4. As much as I appreciate Stewart, which I really do, I think he fails when he says that this isn’t about religion, its about race. He seems to have bought into a fundamental assumption which still lets him off the hook from engaging the genesis of the whole controversy: Wright and Black Liberation theology.

    Still, Stewart is plenty helpful in other ways, especially with Larry Willmore, in addressing some of the racial and political tensions. I hope they keep it up.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    In some ways this whole debacle just shows how the theological truly cannot really enter into American political discourse. Anything that attempts to tell the truth about America theologically (as Wright did) has to be squelched.

    What could be more right than to say “God damn America” when the America in question is the one that enslaves and oppresses? This whole media frenzy just shows how impossible it is for America to tell the truth about itself as a nation. Bonhoeffer was right; any community that bases itself on lies rather than the truth can only secure its survival by violence.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink
  6. Jason Oliver wrote:

    Bonhoeffer was a wise man. I am really getting fed up with the slandering of the black prophetic tradition in American public discourse by conservatives. Wright’s words in context weren’t a shock to me and was essentially the truth.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
  7. Christian wrote:


    That was a very generous, and fastidious, use of hyperlinks. Well done, man.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  8. Dave wrote:

    I think this also illustrates that generally speaking, discourse of a higher level cannot be discussed by popular TV pundits. Was anyone unfortunate enough to catch Wright trying to explain himself to Sean Hannity? Hannity actually claimed that he went to seminary, yet his theological engagement of Wright cannot even be called shallow.

    My thoughts in all of this are that Wright certainly makes his case with exclamation points, which is a good thing. When you watch his supposedly controversial comments in context, they are not so outlandish.

    I like that Obama had some courage and did not throw Wright under the bus at all. His speech on race and politics was very good, on my read.

    J Cameron Carter has a book coming out this fall on a theological approach to race. It looks to be pretty interesting.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  9. Ben wrote:

    Just for the record, Hannity didn’t attend seminary, he attended minor seminary, which is another word for Catholic boys high school.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Halden wrote:

    Wait, Ben does that mean that you’re in eucharistic communion with Sean Hannity? Because if so…ouch!

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
  11. Dave wrote:

    Thanks for the clarification Ben.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  12. Jon Trott wrote:

    Thanks for this. While I also (just yesterday) have blogged on Jeremiah Wright’s comments (in a post called “‘God Damn America’ in Biblical Context”), I don’t have all the background I need in either Cone or liberation theology to make some of the links others here have. Good stuff.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

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