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.

BY: David Klinghoffer

 

Continued from page 1

Babel’s citizens wished to be forever united as “one people” (Genesis 11:6), speaking "one language" and holding "one opinion" (Genesis 11:1). As they were building their famous tower, symbolizing this artificial unity, God responded by firmly fixing each nation as a linguistic unit, each speaking its own language so as to be unintelligible to the people of any other nation. God then scattered these nations across the “face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9).



Furthermore, the Bible tells us that God singled out one nation, the people called Israel, descendants of Shem, to deliver a special message about the relationship between morality and monotheism. That is the Jewish nation's special gift to the world: that the one God, in contrast to the many gods of paganism, demands that people live according to moral principles stipulated by God himself. The Jewish God, unlike the amoral gods of paganism, embodies the good and desires that people seek the good.



Thus, if the Bible makes it clear that the Jewish people have a special God-given message, it is not farfetched to believe that there is a special African message, entrusted to black people, the offspring of Ham, alone. You might call that message "black theology." Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh, the nineteeth-century Italian Kabbalist, explained, "Each people has its own special character and embodies a particular idea, and so has an appropriate field of activity in which its genius must develop and express itself."



This is all a way of saying that God probably has a divine mission for every race and ethnic group, and that whatever unique contribution Africans have to give to the world, it is not racist to suggest that a black church, even a black theology, could be the vehicle for making that contribution. This is an idea advanced by Obama's spiritual mentor, Rev.Wright, of which Obama needn’t be ashamed.



But what is the African mission to the world, according to Obama? Of what message does it consist? These are questions whose answers would tell us a great deal about Obama himself.



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