Speaking of prophets to follow, Jesus, in Matthew 7:20 said “By their fruits ye shall know them.” What are the fruits of black liberation theology and have those fruits enriched the lives of its adherents?
Throughout 2015 and into 2016 the fruits of black liberation theology ripened. Early in July of 2016 Philando Castile was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando had previously been pulled over and ticketed over fifty two times before but this time was different, this traffic stop resulted in the end of a young black man’s life.
By all accounts, Philando Castile was a model citizen; he had a steady job and was a blessing to his co-workers along with the children at a St. Paul magnet school where he worked, he had powerful and positive friendships and, except for his staggering number of traffic citations, he was a law abiding citizen. (Interestingly, over half of his tickets were for licensing and insurance related issues, factors that cannot be determined until after the driver is stopped.) By all accounts, if the Black Lives Matter movement wanted a representative victim of excessive force by police, Philando Castile was that man. The treatment of Diamond Reynolds, the woman who posted the video to Facebook immediately after the shooting and was then held by police overnight would only highlight the case for excessive force by the police.
The protests following his death were attended by thousands of black and white demonstrators. Members of the Minneapolis and St. Paul American Federation of Teachers willingly subjected themselves to arrest in a peaceful demonstration in support of Philando. There were violent protests on ninth and tenth of July resulting on over 100 arrests, but Minneapolis/St. Paul did not burn. Philando Castile did not fit the narrative of either black liberation theology or of its offspring: Black Lives Matter. Philando Castile was not attempting to take down the system; he was just trying to get ahead in spite of being a favorite target for traffic cops needing to fill their monthly quota. The protests subsided, Philando Castile was set aside.
A few weeks later and 350 miles away, Syville Smith found himself in a car pulled over by Milwaukee police. Unlike Philando Castile, Syville decided to run. When an officer chased him Syville made another stupid decision: he turned toward the officer while holding a loaded handgun. To no one’s surprise, the black officer perceived a threat and fired the fatal rounds that ended Syville Smith’s life. Police report Syville had a “lengthy arrest record,” but then so did Philando. The difference is that while Philando’s were all traffic related, Syville’s included (according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2016/08/14/man-shot-milwaukee-police-subject-witness-intimidation-case/88721094/) shooting, robbery and witness intimidation. While Philando worked within the system, Syville was definitely on the outside looking in. A Baptist minister called for unity as he delivered the eulogy for Philando Castile. Jesse Jackson, an adherent to black liberation theology delivered the eulogy for Syville Smith. Rev. Jackson did not call for unity.
While Minneapolis simmered and then cooled, Milwaukee burned. Mourners heard a message of unity and coming together during Philando’s memorial. But black liberation theology demands revenge for any wrong committed against its followers. Taking the teachings of Dr. Cone at their word, “black liberation theology stems from the recognition of the revolutionary implications in its very name: a rejection of whiteness, an unwillingness to live under it, and an identification of whiteness with evil and blackness with good.” (Cone, p.9), it seems only reasonable that Syville Smith equated the police with whiteness and his actions with blackness.
Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered the eulogy for a common street thug because the actions of the thug furthered the revolutionary goals of black liberation theology. Philando Castile, by living within society, supporting himself and trying to make the lives of everyone he came into contact with a little better supported the white power elites and needed to be ignored.
When a black policeman shoots a black suspect it is a racist act because the black officer is acting within the norms of white society. Dr. Cone states “blacks are encouraged to revolt against the structures of white social and political power by affirming blackness … Blacks do what they do because and only because they can do no other, and black theology says simply that such action is in harmony with divine revelation. “ (Cone, p. 18)
What is never mentioned in the discussions of police/community relations is the role the message delivered from the pulpits has had on black congregations. For over forty years, for two generations, those pulpits espousing liberation theology have told the faithful that the police are there only to oppress them that whiteness is the enemy and the police are the enforcers of that enemy. To be black is to rebel against whiteness and thus to rebel against the police. Many members of various congregations have heard this message their entire life. How could such a message, repeated month after month, year after year for forty years from a growing number of pulpits fail to have a behavioral effect on its audience? Dr. Cone’s false gospel of defiance preached for two generations produced a generation with no respect for police or any form of outside authority and began to act out the message it was given.
As the lawlessness in our inner-cities increased, police departments looked for ways to curb the violence. One of the few effective methods of reducing major crimes has been the broken windows strategy, where minor infractions are aggressively prosecuted. Broken windows has been shown to reduce the incidence of major crimes. Broken windows is the practice behind Philando Castile amassing over 150 traffic citations and over $6000 in fines and court costs. It may have been an over-anxious officer who killed Philando Castile but it was Rev. Cone’s teachings that put the gun in his hand.
Divine revelation now calls for acts of vengeance against innocent cops only because they wear the uniform. Taking Dr. Cone’s words to their logical conclusion and you must admit the burning of businesses, overturning cars, setting homes on fire and attacking white reporters and motorists is all part of God’s plan. The new saints of black liberation theology are the petty criminals who make the inner-cities zones of terror and anarchy for millions of black residents. Hatred of whites is the seed that produced the tree of revolt and that revolt has produced a bumper crop in the past few years.
An atmosphere of anarchy, defiance and chaos allowed dishonesty to take hold. We are all familiar with the chant “hands up, don’t shoot” as it relates to the shooting of Michael Brown. Yet, the facts proved Michael Brown was shot while he was reaching into the patrol car and attempting to grab the officer’s pistol. But the liberation theologian does not seek the truth, he wants only the revolution. If a lie furthers the cause, then liars we must become. Liberation theologian’s refuse to allow the truth to get in the way of its anti-white narrative.
Over the past few years too many black men have been shot and killed by police officers. Some of them actively threatened police, some were so high that they probably did not realize the result of their actions, but almost all of them have one common factor: they did not comply with the orders of the police. (Philando Castile may be the only exception) Yet, according to Black Lives Matter, they were all innocent. That is every bit as preposterous as the counter claim that all the police were acting according to the strictest codes of professional conduct. I am personally inclined to give our police the benefit of the doubt, but will readily admit that the officers involved in the shootings of Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Walter Scott in North Charleston should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Will any prominent exponents of black liberation theology demand from the pulpits that their congregations no longer venerate Michael Brown, Freddy Gray and Alton Sterling?
To the liberation theologist, truth is hardly important. What is important is bringing down the system. “The system is based on whiteness, and what is necessary is a replacement of whiteness with blackness. God as creator means that oppressed humanity is free to revolutionize society, assured that acts of liberation are the work of God.” (Cone, p. 80) Dr. Cone’s new theology raises dishonesty to the rank of a virtue.
The fruit of intolerance took root and flowered in our college campuses with protests over such seemingly trivial matters as Halloween costumes (Yale), studying (Dartmouth) or poorly behaving pick-up truck passengers (Missouri).
At Yale an angry protester informed us “It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here! You are not doing that. You’re going against that!” when a resident master suggested students tolerate the costumes of other students and not accuse them of “cultural appropriation.” Using the standard the student demanded (it seems implausible that someone so immature could attend so rigorous a school as Yale, but that’s another issue) do we forgo taco Tuesday for more culturally appropriate food choices? Will only Japanese students be allowed to sing karaoke? Must each ethnic group be relegated to their own beer at Yale dorm parties? Can only Americans wear blue jeans, can only Italians eat pizza and must we give tofu back to the Chinese? Will we be forced to live in a word where only Satanists are allowed to eat devil’s food cake? Of course those are absurd examples, but no more so than protesting a Halloween costume. The protestor stayed at Yale, the resident master resigned amidst the protests. Intolerance 1, Reason, 0.
While Yale students were not allowed to wear anything so blatantly racist as a sarape and a poncho, at Dartmouth, white students are not allowed to study in the library: http://www.mediaite.com/online/dartmouth-protesters-disrupt-students-in-library-fck-you-you-filthy-white-fcks/ . Apparently Rev. Cone’s followers believe whites students studying in a university library was an intolerable exercise of white privilege. Black students, with the support of the local NAACP, confronted their studious peers with shouts, verbal abuse and physical violence when any white would not say “black lives matter.” That the protesters did not feel that white lives matter made no difference. Anyone not completely supportive of black liberation theology stands in opposition to the will of this theology’s conception of divinity and that person must be destroyed. Intolerance 2, Reason, 0.
Ivy League schools are hardly alone in their embrace of intolerance. At the University of Missouri an alleged swastika drawn with human feces paralyzed a major university for over a week. The fact that there was no evidence of the swastika’s existence other than a photo (which had been found on web postings over a year before the alleged offense) carried little weight with the protesters. Damn the facts, forget that the swastika is more an intimidation to Jews than blacks, the fact that someone thought this may have happened was enough to bring out the troops of intolerance and close the university. Later it was revealed that one of the leaders of the protest had a racial epitaph directed to him by the passengers of a pickup truck on a public road near the university. The student demanded the university protect him from being insulted from people driving on a public road who were in no way affiliated with the university and beyond its scope of authority.
The president of the University of Missouri acted to meet the protesters’ demands but not quickly or forcefully enough; Jonathan Butler, a grad student pursuing a Master’s degree in education staged a hunger strike to protest the unfair treatment he had endured during his eight years at the school. That was the action that triggered the school’s football team to join the protest. Unwilling to risk the loss of millions of dollars in football revenue, University president, Tim Wolfe stepped down. Intolerance now leads, 3-0.
Major universities are hardly alone in racially motivated intolerance. Try to invite Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas or Walter Williams to speak at any campus and then wait for the uproar. “They cannot be black and identified with the powers that be. To be black is to be committed to destroying everything this country loves and adores.” (Cone, p.20) When race is involved, critical thinking, once the hallmark of university life has been supplanted by a new group think. Our campuses, the university administrations and tenured professors are recruiting and training the next generation of brown shirts and our children are being fitted for size. Dissent is swiftly and effectively punished because “all white intellectual disputations about blacks and God is a religious lie.” (Cone, p. 76)
Once one has accustomed his palate for intolerance, he thirsts for the addictive water of vengeance. We saw that thirst for vengeance displayed when Micah Johnson shot and killed five police officers in Dallas. The police were protecting a Black Lives Matter protest which demanded retaliation for the killing of black men by police earlier that summer. Some of the peaceful protesters actually carried rifles and wore bullet proof vests. When Micah Johnson began shooting, it was the police officers under attack who protected the protesters trapped in the line of fire. As expected, Black Lives Matter denied inciting Micah Johnson’s actions. Look up YouTube videos of Black Lives Matter protests and listen to the chants before you exonerate the protesters.
But why should Black Lives Matter be held accountable for the unprovoked attacks on police that are occurring almost every week somewhere in this country? The prophet of black liberation theology, the spiritual leader of BLM, has stated clearly that God is accountable to him and has never stated that the oppressed are in any way responsible to follow the Laws of God. “We will not accept a God who is on everyone’s side. … according to black theology, it is blasphemy to say that God loves white oppressors unless that love is interpreted as God’s wrathful activity against them and everything that whiteness stands for in American society.” (Cone, p, 74) “Black theology will accept only a love of God which participates only in the destruction of the white oppressor.” (Cone, p. 76) And Black Lives Matter is quick to mete out God’s wrath.
Throughout the ages, western religions have been torn by two competing perspectives. On the one hand the prophets of the Old Testament along with the apostles of the New Testament have called humanity to become more like God, to strive for spiritual excellence; they have called men to hearken to the message of Jerusalem. Competing against the vision of Jerusalem is that given us by Athens, where gods strove to emulate men and human weaknesses were the envied by the divine. Simply because he does not call his god Zeus or Apollo does not rule out liberation theology’s Athenian desire to have a god who behaves like us.
“God has chosen to make the black condition God’s condition!” (Cone, p.13) “With the assurance that God is on our side…” (Cone, p.13) “black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community.” (Cone, p.28) ‘As the oppressed now recognize their situation in the light of God’s revelation, they know they should have killed the white oppressors instead of trying to ‘love’ them.” (Cone, p.54) Many more statements similar to those quotes could be given, but perhaps the best proof that black liberation theology is focused on the human and not the divine comes from Dr. Cone’s pen: “Black theology … views theology as a participation in passion in behalf of the oppressed. … Insistence on a passionate theology is a call for an anthropocentric point of departure in theology.” (Cone, p.19)
An anthropocentric theology is one that looks first through the eyes of men and then choses rules for the divine, in accordance with the Athenian model. Man not merely supplicates for God to act but demands God act. In black theology, or any other liberation theology, the roles of Creator and created are reversed: man is the master while the Creator is the servant. Is it any wonder that black liberation theology has turned our inner-cities into battle grounds for competing street gangs, why poverty is being passed down from mother to daughter and why the best avenue for personal economic advancement, education, is so utterly disdained by blacks enrolled in inner-city schools?
In stating his theory of a new Covenant, Dr. Cone clearly defines God’s duties but is unclear as to the duties of the elect. Since our prophet of liberation displays a clear preference for the Books of the Old Testament to those of the New, how does the flock fare when put under the light of Deuteronomy, chapter 28? In verses 8 to 14 the blessings of the faithful are stated, “ The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
“ The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.”
Coupled with the promises of abundance for the obedient is the threat of scarcity for the rebellious in verses 58-63, “If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God— the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God. Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.”
For over forty years, for two generations, the pulpits of far too many churches have been preaching the false gospel of liberation theology. During that time, the family structure of black communities has been destroyed, educational advances have been reversed, the only paths out of the ghettos have been limited to music, athletics and crime, and despair has replaced joy and hope. For over forty years, Dr. Cone has promised to cross the Jordan yet has driven his followers further into the desert of error and misbelief.