This post continues the series of chapter by chapter summations of the book Radical-In-Chief by Stanley Kurtz.
Black Liberation Theology, Trinity Church and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright all figured prominently in the life of Barack Obama. He sat in the church and listened to its teachings for approximately 20 years. To understand who Obama is and what the influences were that shaped his beliefs it is essential to have some knowledge of Trinity and its charismatic leader.
Obama chose Trinity Church for two reasons; he wanted a base from which to mobilize the religious left, and he shared the political philosophy of Rev. Wright. For these reasons, Obama was willing to tolerate some of Wright’s nonsense such as his claims the U.S. government created AIDS as a way to kill off black people.
The teaching and preaching at Trinity Church is Black Liberation Theology, a concept that adds Marxism to the panoply of Christian beliefs. James Cone is the man most responsible for the spread of this joining of Marxism and Christianity and is regarded as the father of Black Liberation Theology in America. Cone’s teachings are made very clear by his writings.
“I do not think racism can be eliminated as long as capitalism remains intact.”
“Perhaps what we need today is to return to that ‘good old-time religion of our grandparents and combine it with a Marxist critique of society. Together black religion and Marxist philosophy may show us a way to build a completely new society.”
[The goal of the black intellectual must be to] “aid in the destruction of America as he knows it.”
Significantly, Cone cited Trinity as the one church that embodies his philosophy more than any other congregation. Barack Obama was well aware of the nature of the church under Rev. Wright’s leadership because he conducted a deliberate exploration of black churches in the Chicago area before choosing it. As Stanley Kurtz puts it, “a large body of evidence fairly screams that Obama joined Wright’s church precisely because of those radical views.”
When Barack Obama announced that “Forward” would be a campaign slogan for 2012, some pundits on the Right criticized the choice as an oversight by the President because it once was a popular term used in radical Socialist circles, particularly in Europe. Early in the 20th century, Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels published their works in a bi-monthly magazine called Vorwärts which is German for the word Forward. When written with an explanation mark, it means come on, let’s go! Vorwärts was more than a just a magazine; it was a rallying call used by Europe’s revolutionary Socialists.
The naivety of some Conservatives amazes me. Obama has proven to be very adept at communicating openly with his far Left followers without the Right even realizing it. Adopting the word Forward is just another case in point. The slogan rings a bell for radical socialists. Everyone else hears nothing but a new slogan.
Hope and Change also conveyed different images to different groups. So did “complete transformation”. Democrats, centrists, and even some conservatives interpreted Hope and Change in the context of Obama’s promises that he would bring unprecedented openness in government, a reduction of bi-partisan bickering, prompt return of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, closing of the Guantanamo prison camp and a stable recovery from the mortgage crisis.
But the radical Left saw a very different message. They knew what community organizing was. They saw the close association with Ayers and Dohrn and the farewell promise to ACORN that their concerns would be the first thing he would address as President. They saw Obama’s commitment to socialist based Black Liberation Theology. When political expediency forced him to renege on his vow never to turn his back on Rev. Wright, the preacher assured his parishioners that Barack hadn’t changed; his distancing of himself was just something he had to do in order to become President. It is in this context that the socialist Left puts meaning to the words Hope and Change. Early on, the Right wasn’t exactly sure what the pledge “to completely transform America” meant either, but his other audience did.
The consensus among socialist scholars is that America with its extensive prosperous middle class cannot be turned into a socialist society relying solely on the democratic process. Obama’s answer is Yes We Can. The Right wonders, can what? The radical Left knows exactly what.