Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Black Theology and NAACP Equals Victimization by Akindele Akinyemi
The circus in Black leadership has hit pandemic levels in Detroit. Blacks are desperate to embrace anything other than the truth. Recently, the Detroit Branch NAACP had their 53rd annual Freedom Fund dinner at Cobo Hall. The speaker was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL. He is also the former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama.
It seems like people, both Black and White, are polarized over the issue of Wright. Rev. Wright claimed that conservatives have not launched an attack on him personally but the Black Church. We know that is complete nonsense because the Black church is one of the most cliquish sect of people in the community. If anyone is being attacked we are doing it to ourselves.
Of course most White people who I speak to do not understand Black Theology. They dismiss it as a made up or feel good theology. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel--every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation. This theology maintains that African Americans must be liberated from multiple forms of bondage--social, political, economic and religious. This liberation involves empowerment and seeks the right of self-definition, self-affirmation and self-determination.
I would go along with this 100% except this form of theology is based on Marxist philosophy. This is the same philosophy that has kept Blacks in bondage for decades in our own community. Black Theology actually encourages a victim mentality among blacks here in Detroit. Reducing Black identity to "victimhood" distorts the reality of true progress.
The NAACP invited Rev. Wright to speak from a "liberated perspective." Rev. Wright nor the NAACP is in the business of liberating Black people. If that was the case then the NAACP and other churches who preach Black Theology would be in lockstep with the majority of Blacks who are pro-life (from protecting the unborn to stopping the violence), support educational options (such as charter schools and vouchers), and support rebuilding families in urban communities by way of promoting relationship building and marriages. The NAACP nor most Black churches are not in the business of family or relationship building.
To tell you the truth I do not blame Whites for our conditions but ourselves. Blacks feel that we need affirmative action when we don't. We seek handouts when we should teach our children and families to work and earn a living. We vote for the same party that has promoted criminal public policy that keeps us trapped on a plantation.
This brings me to Professor John McWhorters' book Losing the Race. McWhorter articulates three main objections to victimology: First, victimology condones weakness in failure. Victimology tacitly stamps approval on failure, lack of effort, and criminality. Behaviors and patterns that are self-destructive are often approved of as cultural or presented as unpreventable consequences from previous systemic patterns.
Second, victimology hampers progress because, from the outset, it focuses attention on obstacles.
Third, victimology keeps racism alive because many whites are constantly painted as racist with no evidence provided. Racism charges create a context for backlash and resentment fueling new attitudes among whites not previously held or articulated, and creates "separatism" -- a suspension of moral judgment in the name of racial solidarity.
Personally, I think it is the ultimate fallacy to believe that the culture of victimization is kept alive from the pulpits of Black Preachers on Sunday mornings. If we accept that premise , then we must accept at least two other that are just as incoherent. One is that Blacks in America have achieved equality in all of the social arenas. Another one is that any claim to the contrary is a perpetuation of the culture of victimization. Therefore, I disagree with Rev. Wright or anybody else who states that Black people in this country, are oppressed.
The Church in our community cannot preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sit still while atrocities are being committed against Black people all over the country. A church cannot be preaching of eternal salvation while thousands of young Black men will not make it past 30 years of age. It is the church's intrinsic role to call society's attention to society's problems. We see many examples of that in the different leaders that God chose to to carry on His work. In the bible, from Moses to Jesus, we see how crucial it was to fight against institutionalized "injustice" in order to bring about change. Yet, Blacks continue to be divided over what form of Christianity we need to practice. While most Blacks (both conservative and liberals) are confused about the direction of the church in the Black community I see daily how Muslim communities in Dearborn and Hamtramck live in peace, practice prosperity, and keep their families intact. Yet, these people supposedly practice a false god (Allah) and a false prophet (Muhammad). These people come from Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Egypt, Bangladesh and Palestine. If that is the case how come their children are playing outside in front of their house in a Islamic neighborhood while in a Black Christian neighborhood gunshots are heard and drugs are sold? Who are the real terrorists here?
The Jewish community talks about connecting with Blacks in the urban community when it comes to race relations. However, we know that groups like AIPAC lobbies for American taxpayers money to be sent to Israel to support their infrastructure. Why? Because there is a connection between Christians and Jews right? If that is the case ask yourself why would Jewish people move out of Detroit after the 1967 riots? How come when we moved to Oak Park and Southfield they (the Jews) move further out? Yet, some of them want to come and discuss race relations.
We want to be like the present day Jews but do not want to work as hard as them to keep our communities intact. Jewish people keep their money in their community. Their families are intact. Their women are respectful and keep themselves accountable to their husbands. The family worships together on the Sabbath. Their schools exceeds regular public schools. We cannot say that with Black Christian communities in Detroit.
The same goes for the Asian community. Most Chinese or Indian people practice Buddhism and Hinduism. These people are prospering, families are intact, and are highly educated. Their children are disciplined and they do not make excuses for their vision for education. However, Blacks in our community who practice Christianity claim that their way of life is not true. If that is the case then how come they control the automotive market in the USA right now? How come we find more Indian and Asian doctors than American doctors?
Black Theology has its roots in the Black Power Movement of the 1960s. Some of the strands of this theology comes from African Spirituality (which most ignorant Christians call paganistic even though the very strands of the Black Church comes from West Africa). But because preachers who practice this form of theology keep our people in the dark with its Marxist leanings it is hard for Blacks to forgive Whites and move on in America. However, you never hear about someone from African Diaspora preaching this type of victim theology. Why? Because most Nigerians, Ghanaians, or Jamaicans understand how hard work will pay off in the long run.
Most immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean adapt and assimilate better than those Blacks born and are educated in America. Additionally, crime statistics show that Black against White far exceeds the converse. Perhaps the reason is this Marxist version of Black Liberation Theology, that reinforces the Black concept of victimhood, is then manifest in violence against the alleged victimizer.
A pastor who is valiant enough to use the pulpit as a venue to point out social conflict, must brave enough to use that same venue to point out solutions to the conflict and wise enough to help guide in the implementation of those solutions within his community.
Therefore, Black Liberation theology is not a theology but a political stance which promotes victimology. It is no longer needed in our community in its present Communist form. I am not against teaching the historical, linguistic and geographical perspective of the Bible as it relates to Black people. But what we should be focusing on is the spiritual nature of God and His rules. The Gospel should be taught to all nations, regardless of color.