Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Liberation Theology for White People Okay With You?

During the middle of the Presidential race, the media gave quite a bit of attention to the Trinity United Church of Christ (Barack Obama's place of worship for 20+ years) in Chicago. The church was heavily criticized because it has a strong emphasis on addressing the needs of the Black Community. I think it makes sense for them to take that stance. After all, they're in Chicago. With a local population that consists of so many Black people, somebody needs to address their spiritual and social concerns and this has been the church's role for thousands of years.

I thought about this today when I was watching a video clip on Jesus' General. It was the trailer for a documentary called "Banking on Heaven". It exposes the polygamy, abuse, and murders that regularly take place in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (Mormon) church communities. It includes interviews with people who have escaped from these communities and have made it their mission to help those whose lives have been negatively affected as a result of growing up in those circumstances. Beyond those mentioned in this particular documentary, there are several ministries that have been established with the goal of helping those who in this situation.

I'm not saying that many women, children, and teenagers in the FLDS church don't need help. It's clear to me that they do. What I wonder about is why so many people don't seem to have a problem with the ministries (run primarily by white people) that are designed to focus their help on those who are in this almost exclusively white community, but become highly offended if they hear about a ministry that is primarily by black people that is designed to focus its help on those within the black community.

Is liberation theology okay with the average American only if its ministers and targets are white?

Update: I listed Obama's former church as "Trinity Church of Christ". The name of the church is actually "Trinity United Church of Christ". As a commenter pointed out to me, the Church of Christ and the United Church of Christ are two separate organizations with no ties to each other. I apologize for the omission.

5 comments:

harrietsdaughter said...

Thank you for asking this question - you so often put into words something that is troubling me. That whole focus on Trinity and Dr. Wright was so disingenuous at the least, and a clear reminder of historical amnesia about what the black church can be, and often (though not always) is.

Kristin said...

Yeah, I've wondered about this as well. I don't understand the disconnect at all. Or, frankly, any of the problems that people have with this particular church, which is really not all that radical, actually.

Also, just to clarify... It's Trinity *United* Church of Christ. The UCC is a mainline protestant denomination that is a far cry from the ultra-conservative Church of Christ. (I grew up in the UCC in the South... I got kinda sensitive about being mistaken for the CoC and having to field questions such as, "Why don't you allow musical instruments in your church services?" There are actually no historical ties between the two denominations.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey Tulip!

This is exactly what white supremacist thinking does...it PRESUMES that what's okay for themselves IS NOT for all others.

Black organizations are accused of being "racists" for focusing on issues that impact blacks but there are MORE white-owned, white-financed organizations in this country that serve the interests and needs of whites than ANY OTHERS in this entire country!

I am happy that Trinity was not phased at all by the white media's slander and continued to carry on their ministry programs and to keep their focus on the UNDER-SERVED in their city!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Khadija said...

Hello there, Tulip!

{waving}

Rev. Lisa recommended that I stop by & check out your blog. I'm happy I did---it's great!

Back to your post: It's a very simple matter of "Do as we say, not as we do." When Whites take care of their own needs, it's fitting & appropriate. When Black folks take care of our own needs, it's an example of scary & inappropriate "separatism."

I'm pleased that over the years, more of us have matured to the point that we don't listen to this type of noise anymore. I remember being pleasantly surprised by the numbers of Black men who ignored White America's admonitions to not attend the Million Man March. It's good for us to think for ourselves.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

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