Why Black Theology Makes Sense

Obama's pastor's ideas sound racist, but the Bible emphasizes that each ethnic group has a special mission to the world.

As Sen. Barack Obama's chances of being chosen as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee rise, the more likely it is he will have to answer tough questions about his religious beliefs, especially as they pertain to race.

Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. of

Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ

, espouses Black Theology, an approach to Christianity born in the 1960s that emphasizes racial liberation and the supposed bigotry of "white" Christianity. Obama credits Wright with leading him to Christian faith when he was in his late 20s. One of Wright's sermons, "The Audacity of Hope," provided the title of the Illinois senator's current book. Obama's close association with Wright may lead his potential supporters—not to mention his opponents—to wonder whether Obama espouses the anti-white, victimology-oriented politics of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other radical demagogues among the black clergy.


While I’m no Democrat, and I'm otherwise not inclined to come to Obama's defense, I do think the Hebrew Bible, regarded as God's word by Jews and Christians alike, offers a perspective on race and religion that could help him explain some controversial teachings of his spiritual mentor. The Bible makes it clear that racial identity can serve a positive purpose in the eyes of God and that God has chosen some races to teach important lessons to the rest of the world.

This may sound surprising, for conservatives like me are supposed to be in favor of race-blind thinking. That is why Rev. Wright received a

hostile grilling
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David Klinghoffer
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