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
Robert Gibbs defends Obama's 'mainstream' Christian religion
Glenn Beck stated on his radio program this week (as reported by Associated Press) that President Barack Obama practices a version of Christianity that is not recognized by most people. Beck said that this "liberation theology" is all about "oppressors" and "victims."
The White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs defended this critique by Glenn Beck by saying President Barack Obama is a "committed, mainstream Christian." Further, Gibbs said, "I can only imagine where Mr. Beck conjured that from."
We, at MAXINE, looked into the website of Barack Obama's church during the 2008 presidential campaign ... the one he claims to have attended for twenty years, where he married his wife Michelle, and had his two daughters christened ... and this is exactly what we found.
Originally published at MAXINE on January 13, 2008 -
"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.
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.
7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.
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
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.
“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 -
THE BLACK VALUE SYSTEM
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.
11) 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.
Not at all as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs put it - President Barack Obama is a "committed, mainstream Christian." All pretty biased and somewhat inflammatory stuff if what we are seeking here is a mainstream Christian culture based on Christian values.