Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Ideating" Barack Obama & Trinity United Church of Christ

Trinity United Church of Christ - "A CHURCH IN BLACK ... and white". Trinity UCC was founded in 1961. Ten years later, when the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright became its pastor, the church had 87 families. Today, Trinity UCC has more than 8,000 members, 70 ministries and three Sunday worship services. Image Credit: TUCC Newsletter

"Ideating" Barack Obama & Trinity United Church of Christ

IBM has a commercial where a workgroup is lying on floormats spread out on the floor of a large room, with those pillows people use on airplanes that form around the neck. The lights are off. When a man who is checking the rooms opens the door and turns on the lights to a neon glow, he discovers this room full of people, lying on the floor in orderly rows.

The man asks, “What are you guys doing?”

A female voice calls out, “We’re ideating.”

Well, we at MAXINE, felt like doing a little “Ideating” of our own when we began to read about Barack Obama and his twenty year association with the Chicago-based Trinity United Church of Christ.

The problem isn’t that this church may/may not have practices or beliefs that many would not consider mainstream – such as have some believers who speak in tongues, or handle snakes, or think that the Devil and Jesus Christ are related in a family way, or do a bunch of faith healings in a tent, or – well you get the idea. The problem starts with what this church tells about ITSELF and what it believes on its website.

Barack Obama (pictured here with TUCC Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.) has put his religion back into the headlines, trumpeting the power and salvation of faith and asking a church audience in South Carolina to help him become “an instrument of God” and join him in creating “a Kingdom right here on Earth." Image Credit: Trinity United Church of Christ/Religion News Service via FOX News

This issue first came to our attention during a morning review of Pajamas Media through this excerpted posting –

Obama’s Creepy, Race-Obsessed Church
By Burt Prelutsky - Pajamas Media – 1/12/2007

Introduction from PJM
A leading Democratic candidate for president attends an “Afrocentric” church that bestows awards on Louis Farrakhan and practically defines itself through race-baiting. Burt Prelutsky asks, why isn’t Barack Obama’s faith-based problem making national headlines and the nightly news?

One of the obvious differences between Democrats and Republicans is the role that religion plays in their presidential campaigns. For instance, every Democrat, while pretending to believe that “separation of church and state” actually appears somewhere in the Constitution, must also insist that religion plays an essential role in his or her life.

What’s more, when questioning these people, the liberal media kindly limits itself to a yes or no question regarding the existence of God.
Why is it, I wonder, that nobody is asking Barack Obama about his religious convictions? From what I’ve gathered, they’re far more fascinating than Mitt Romney’s.
The vision statement of the TUCC is based upon something called the systematized liberation theology that began in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book, “Black Power and Black Theology.” Dr. Cone believes that black Christians should not follow the “White Church,” as it had failed to support them in their struggle for equal rights in America. I suspect that most white Christians would disagree.

Trinity United boasts that it is a congregation “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” What’s more, “it is a congregation with a non-negotiable commitment to Africa. We are an African people, and remain true to our native land, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.”

Its pastor, Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., has referred to “white arrogance” and “the United States of Whiter America.” To my ears, that sounds unashamedly black, but I’m not so sure about the unapologetically Christian.

Furthermore, Rev. Wright’s church publishes a magazine, The Trumpet. Not too surprisingly, all things considered, the recipient of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Trumpeter Award for Social Justice was none other than Louis Farrakhan, the fellow who plays the race card even better than he plays his violin.
That being said, I have no idea how a member of a black church that apparently feels it owes greater allegiance to Africa than to America and that pays homage to a bigot like Farrakhan, has the gall to present himself as the one candidate who can bring us all together.
Reference Here>>

Of course we had to do some investigation of our own, and sure enough this “Ideating” stuff can get really interesting.

Again, Barack Obama states that he has been an active member of this church for the last twenty years.

The website of the Trinity United Church of Christ has several revealing and disturbing written postings that need to be read in context in order to see what all of the fuss is about.

Trinity United Church of Christ sanctuary. Image Credit: TUCC

This from the TUCC website –

Trinity United Church of Christ

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.

God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:

1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.

2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.

3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.

4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.

5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.

6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.


8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.

9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.

10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY
Reference Here>>

Image from YouTube video of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan receiving from Obama's pastor, Dr. Wright Jr., the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright,Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award for Social Justice at the 2007 Trumpet Gala held on November 2, 2007 - Hyatt Regency Chicago - Video Credit: TRINITYCHGO - TUCC

Talking Points

Dr. Wright’s talking points (3.1.7)
[3/1/2007] for Trinity United Church of Christ its Web site and the Black Value System (in response to Erik Rush’s comments (2.28.07) on the Hannity and Colmes show):

• One of the biggest gaps in knowledge that causes the kind of ignorance that you hear spouted by this man [Erik Rush] and those like him, has to do with the fact that these persons are completely ignorant when it comes to the Black religious tradition. The vision statement of Trinity United Church of Christ is based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book, Black Power and Black Theology.

• Black theology is one of the many theologies in the Americas that became popular during the liberation theology movement. They include Hispanic theology, Native American theology, Asian theology and Womanist theology.

• I use the word “systematized” because Black liberation theology was in existence long before Dr. Cone’s book. It originates in the days of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was systematized and published by theologians, Old Testament scholars, New Testament scholars, ethicists, church historians, and historians of religion such as Dr. James Cone, Dr. Cain Hope Felder, Dr. Gayraud Wilmore, Dr. Jacqueline Grant, Dr. Kelley Brown Douglas, Dr. Renita Weems, Dr. Katie Cannon, Dr. Dwight Hopkins, Dr. Linda Thomas, and Dr. Randall Bailey.

• These scholars, who write in various disciplines, also include seminary presidents like Dr. John Kinney and professors of Hebrew Bible, like Dr. Jerome Ross. Black liberation theology defines Africans and African Americans as subjects – not the objects which colonizers and oppressors have consistently defined “others” as.

• We [African Americans] were always seen as objects. When we started defining ourselves, it scared those who try to control others by naming them and defining them for them; Oppressors do not like “others” defining themselves.

• To have a church whose theological perspective starts from the vantage point of Black liberation theology being its center, is not to say that African or African American people are superior to any one else.

African-centered thought, unlike Eurocentrism, does not assume superiority and look at everyone else as being inferior.

There is more than one center from which to view the world. In the words of Dr. Janice Hale, “Difference does not mean deficience.” It is from this vantage point that Black liberation theology speaks.

• Systematized Black liberation theology is 40 years old. Scholars of African and African American religious history show that Black liberation theology, however, has been in existence for 400 years. It is found in the songs, the sermons, the testimonies and the oral literature of Africans throughout the Diaspora.
Reference Here>>

“IDEa … what?”, The man at the door asks the workgroup lying on the floor, on mats, while having their necks supported with custom travel pillows. Image Credit: IBM via Mikntosh3001

And last but not the least -


Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the Black Value System, written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee, chaired by the late Vallmer Jordan in 1981.

Dr. Manford Byrd, our brother in Christ, withstood the ravage of being denied his earned ascension to the number one position in the Chicago School System. His dedication to the pursuit of excellence, despite systematic denials, has inspired the congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ. Prayerfully, we have called upon the wisdom of all past generations of suffering Blacks for guidance in fashioning an instrument of Black self-determination, the Black Value System.

Beginning in 1982, an annual Black Value System – Educational Scholarship in the name of Dr. Byrd was instituted. The first recipient of the Dr. Manford Byrd Award, which is given annually to the man or woman who best exemplifies the Black Value System, was our brother, Dr. Manford Byrd.

These Black Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Blacks are gathered. They consist of the following concepts:

1) Commitment to God. “The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become Black Christian Activists, soldiers for Black freedom and the dignity of all humankind.

2) Commitment to the Black Community. The highest level of achievement for any Black person must be a contribution of strength and continuity of the Black Community

3) Commitment to the Black Family. The Black family circle must generate strength, stability and love, despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.

Those Blacks who are blessed with membership in a strong family unit must reach out and expand that blessing to the less fortunate.

4) Dedication to the Pursuit of Education. We must forswear anti-intellectualism. Continued survival demands that each Black person be developed to the utmost of his/her mental potential despite the inadequacies of the formal education process. “Real education” fosters understanding of ourselves as well as every aspect of our environment. Also, it develops within us the ability to fashion concepts and tools for better utilization of our resources, and more effective solutions to our problems. Since the majority of Blacks have been denied such learning, Black Education must include elements that produce high school graduates with marketable skills, a trade or qualifications for apprenticeships, or proper preparation for college.

Basic education for all Blacks should include Mathematics, Science, Logic, General Semantics, Participative Politics, Economics and Finance, and the Care and Nurture of Black minds.

5) Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence. To the extent that we individually reach for, even strain for excellence, we increase, geometrically, the value and resourcefulness of the Black Community. We must recognize the relativity of one’s best; this year’s best can be bettered next year. Such is the language of growth and development. We must seek to excel in every endeavor.

6) Adherence to the Black Work Ethic. “It is becoming harder to find qualified people to work in Chicago.” Whether this is true or not, it represents one of the many reasons given by businesses and industries for deserting the Chicago area. We must realize that a location with good facilities, adequate transportation and a reputation for producing skilled workers will attract industry. We are in competition with other cities, states and nations for jobs. High productivity must be a goal of the Black workforce.

7) Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect. To accomplish anything worthwhile requires self-discipline. We must be a community of self-disciplined persons if we are to actualize and utilize our own human resources, instead of perpetually submitting to exploitation by others. Self-discipline, coupled with a respect for self, will enable each of us to be an instrument of Black Progress and a model for Black Youth.

8) Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness.” Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.

Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by:

** Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

** Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.

** Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which, while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us.”

** So, while it is permissible to chase “middleclassness” with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method – the psychological entrapment of Black “middleclassness.” If we avoid this snare, we will also diminish our “voluntary” contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright: the leadership, resourcefulness and example of their own talented persons.

9) Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the Black Community.

10) Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions.

Pledge Allegiance to All Black Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace the Black Value System.

12) Personal Commitment to Embracement of the Black Value System. To measure the worth and validity of all activity in terms of positive contributions to the general welfare of the Black Community and the Advancement of Black People towards freedom.
Reference Here>>

All pretty biased and somewhat inflammatory stuff if what we are seeking here is a Christian culture based on Christian values.

Self reliance is self reliance no matter how one parses it. The core cultural values in our country are designed to take advantage of one's God- given talents and it is up to the free will of each and every individual to develop them. This point of order is NOT Black, or White, or Yellow, or Brown ... just Human and American in culture.

One last thought as registered on the comments area from the Pajamas Media article "Obama’s Creepy, Race-Obsessed Church" referenced above:

Lawrence B :
Ayn Rand has written, "Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage—the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collection of ancestors."

It seems to me that until now voters have been willing to judge Sen. Obama by his own character and actions, avoiding racist standards.

However, after looking at the Trinity United website for myself, it is openly racist. The phrase, "Unashamedly Black," is precisely that — appealing to genetic lineage.

Trinity United's statement that “it is a congregation with a non-negotiable commitment to Africa. We are an African people, and remain true to our native land, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization,” — is even more unsettling.

This is not religion — this is blatant racism.

If Sen. Obama expects to be President of the United States, he owes this country an explanation, not for his lineage or for his religion, but for his association with a racist organization that pledges allegiance to a foreign land.

Reference Here>>

Now that we, at MAXINE, have "Ideated" this information ... the question has to be asked:

"Is a twenty year attending member, informed from this institution with all that it believes and teaches, the right person to become the leader of the Free World for all peoples?"

Answer? - Just as in the example shown at the conclusion of the IBM commercial - "We haven't ideated that yet!"

The man who turned on the lights at the beginning of the spot says, "Good luck!"

... and as he turns to leave, the female voice says in an uplifted, melodic tone, "Thanks!"

The lights go out and as the room goes to total darkness, the following statements flash on the screen.



John said...

yes that right my friend

BELIEVE WE CAN...........

Anonymous said...

I really like the IBM commercial, it hits the point that, maybe, sometimes, people in groups over think things.

I believe that the TUCC has over thought what their mission should be ... being a Christian based organization. In short, in a Christian based organization, Jesus Christ should be at the center and focus of ones philosophy - not race, not the past, not gender, not political bent (left/right), and etc.

Given all of that, what is this church up to when they bestow their highest accolade to someone like Louis Farrakhan, a converted Muslim and a known caustic player in general human relations here in the United States?

Gale said...

I don't know why his church is not getting national attention. I seen a head of his church on Hannity on Fox News, a very racist man. People need to know this about him. No matter what anyone says, your religion helps define who you are and as far as I am concern, in his case it certainly does not give the impression of love for everyone. They are very racist. People better open their eyes.

Anonymous said...

It's truly amazing how denial, blindness and deafness result in an ignorance, which renders one incapable of of any meaningful progress. With a little scholarship (aka research), it becomes quite obvious that Jesus Christ and his teachings are and have been at the center of Trinity UCC's existence. Listening to and re-reading Barack Obama's writings and speeches reinforces how intricately linked is his character and values with Christian principles described in the Bible.

The association to the IBM commercial is quite bad since it refers to the current location of the business team, workplace and organizational dynamics pendulum - increased productivity through collaboration. I leave it to you to figure how that doesn't fit into a Christian context.

BTW, I listen to Trinity services whenever I can and I certainly don't have an allegiance issue, nor do I have an issue with the Social Justice award to Louis Farrakhan. I'm pretty certain that the Trinity congregation doesn't either. I (a) don't let other's (particularly those who don't share with me a common experience or heritage) define me and (b) although I deplore anti-semitic comments made by Rev. Farrakhan and anyone else, it doesn't negate the positive things he and NOI have done within the black community. After all George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave holders, which doesn't negate the nation work they did - unless it wasn't authentic. Martin Luther King Jr. was a womanizer. That certainly doesn't negate his teachings and what he stood and gave his life for.

Regarding the comments about Christianity and race - May I remind you that the black church didn't create that distinction. A little more research (i.e. the beginnings of the AME church) hopefully will enlighten you. The many Christian churches in this country that hang front and center inaccurate pictorial representations of Jesus Christ or the many symbols created by Michaelangelo that are unrepresentative of the people the bible speaks about are much more responsible for the confusion and division you are inferring. Being unashamedly African, which BTW we all are (unless you believe in a different beginning) and unapologetically Christian allows me to grow and live with a sense of identity and purpose that I believe is consistent with the New Testament.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you but, I would like the president of the United States to have one allegiance

I found the web site very concerning and Trumpeteer Lifetime Achievment Award to Louis Farrakhan only intensified this concern.

America for AMERICANS
lets loose the hyphens

Anonymous said...

The President is responsible for defending America and upholding it's rules of law - the Constitution.

It appears your declaration of the President having one allegiance would disqualify anyone with a religious relationship. I thought it was obvious what my thoughts about allegiance were. If not I suggest you re-read my previous post.

Finding the web site concerning and the achievement award intensifying your concern doesn't say much of anything. What was so concerning? That Barack Obama follows the teachings of Jesus Christ?

I easily infer from your intensified concern about Louis Farrakhan receiving an achievement award that you don't celebrate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, nor anyone else who has done great work minus some lack of judgment in his/her life. Such forgiving behavior is usually associated with those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ - and systems of faith.

I can sympathize with a history that drives you to use the slogan "America for AMERICANS." It is pretty disgusting what they did to your people. BTW, what tribe are you descended from? Then after they nearly render you extinct and steal your land, they turn around and have the nerve to want to prohibit anyone else not like themselves from seeking the same opportunities they claim they were seeking.

Anonymous said...

First off, I'd like to say, yes I'm very concerned. The mission statements from the church would not be such a bad idealogy if they pertained to people in general, not just one racial group.
The first thing I'd like to address from the previous poster was, NO I am not African regardless of my ancestry. Though I'm as white as a sheet of paper I do know that there are several black people in my lineage, however I ask all black people I meet who call themselves "African": were you born there or have you even ever set foot on African soil? Was your parents born there, what about their parents? If you have said "no" to these questions, guess what, you are not African. You may be an American with African descent, but that does not make you African.

My only comment on Farrakhan is, "what has he done that is so good?". In all my readings about the man, I really don't see anything that would make anybody I know what to give him an award. Truly I've seen more of the opposite. He seems to put his foot in his mouth often. Yes he somehow comes back and smooths it over with pretty words, but once you say the words, they are out and no amount of smoothing can take them back.

I think the main thing I have a problem with here is the the racism in church. I can not believe that Christ would want His church to be all black or all white. I don't think He sees people in color. The color of our skin is just genetic pigmentation and has nothing to do with who we are. I go to the local Church of Christ and my congregation is primarily black. I love my church, but never once since I've gone there has the preacher ever brought up race in his sermon. When he speaks about the problems with the youth he says "our youth" not "black youth" not "white youth" not "brown youth" he simply states "There are many problems our youth must face today." He does this because regardless of the color of your skin, the problems in the world are not the problems of one race, but the problems of us all.

And here is another few facts for you to chew on. At least 40 % or more of the slave population was white, either prisoners of war or indentured servants. You say, "well indentured servents at least would get their freedom when they worked off their debt", how many do you think actually lived to see that day, very few actually.

No I don't agree with how our fore-fathers settled this nation, but they were a people of their times and if they didn't all of those "African Americans" would still be in Africa starving or murdering eachother in tribal wars. By the way, 90% of those African slaves, were sold into slavery by other Africans.

My last comment is about being "unashamedly African". I am "unashamedly American" and always will be. I guess if you are going to be someone, then at least be not ashamed of who you are.