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Every denomination needs one of these...

The politics of religion

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stanley Crouch is just about as independent as they come and his take on Obama is worth considering:

There are now rising calls for Barack Obama to repudiate Farrakhan and the Chicago church to which Obama has belonged since 1991, Trinity United Church of Christ, and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright has given an award to the Nation of Islam leader, saying Farrakhan "truly epitomized greatness."

Wright reminds Obama's critics of the "identity politics" that replaced the civil-rights movement and plagued black America with uncritical drooling over Africa, equally mindless identification with the Third World at large and a vision that could even haplessly embrace the Nation of Islam for its refusal to "sell out."

Everybody should calm down.

Obama is going to walk through all of this, and one of the gifts he has to offer America is his independence from the lunatic fringe that is just as alive in black America as it is in every other part of our country. But it is only a fringe and has never been more. If Obama suffered from anti-Semitism or was smitten with other misshapen ideas of Farrakhan, both troubles would have been made obvious long before now because such terribly demented people cannot keep their mouths shut.
I don't think the fear is that Obama is an anti-semite, it's that he he is far too tolerant of those within his inner-circle who support an anti-semite like Farrakhan. Granted, there are 2 or 3 degrees of separation between Obama and Farrakhan and it may be unfair to lump them both into the same sentence but it does make you wonder if he is capable of discerning the intentions of those around him.

Although the issue was raised as it relates to Obama, there is also a concern about what Jeremiah Wright represents within our denomination. On one hand, he took a church with a handful of people and grew it to over 8,000 members - an accomplishment not matched by any other minister in our denomination. On the other hand, his praise of Farrakhan deserves scrutiny across our denomination even if that skates on the thin ice of local church independence.

In UCC President John Thomas' defense of Wright and Trinity UCC, he said:
Trinity UCC is rooted in and proud of its Afrocentric heritage. This is no different than the hundreds of UCC churches from the German Evangelical and Reformed stream that continue to own and celebrate their German heritage, insisting on annual sausage and sauerkraut dinners and singing Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve. Recognizing and celebrating our distinctive racial-ethnic heritages, cultures, languages and customs are what make us unique as a united and uniting denomination.
Well... not quite.

When our German Evangelical and Reformed predecessors were faced with a negative identity crisis after World War II, their reaction was not to defend their German heritage, it was to bury it in the merger that ultimately formed the United Church of Christ.

Fifty-plus years later things have changed.

Today in the United Church of Christ our denomination leaders are far too supportive of people like Wright, Puerto Rican terrorist Alejandrina Torres and anti-semitic groups like Sabeel. Not so coincidently, the common link between each is "Liberation Theology" which has been used to justify hatred, bigotry and even violence in the Christian spirit of liberating oppressed people.

"Liberation Theology" as it is supported in the United Church of Christ is not Christian, it is not loving and it is not empowering. Like so many other things our church claims for Christianity, it's really about politics and power.
posted by UCCtruths, Saturday, January 26, 2008


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