James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree is a perplexing book.You wonder if its socialism using religion as a pretext to promote ideology or whether the attack against money is part of a larger value system intrinsic to the Bible. It is liberation theory or religious socialism which in its most powerful version asserts that according to the scriptures and the teachings of Jesus, the poor and the weak are the most morally admirable since they are uncorrupted by power brought on by wealth. The basis is that spirituality and capitalist consumer society are opposed concepts to a social and spiritual life. Material things are not a means towards a higher end, but an evil in itself; all within the context of America as some struggling new Jerusalem committed both to democracy and racism, equality and insidious identity…
This opposes the view of the wealthy being honored and fulfilling a role of charity and aid for those less fortunate. In the case of Cone, it is an advocacy of society’s resources that strongly echoes Martin Buber and his social philosophy of “religious socialism” , a roadmap to utopia and a particular interpretation of his own Judaic view of messianism. The quote attributed to him was ” religion without socialism is like a soul without a body and socialism without religion is like a body without a soul. either case it is not a living being.” A mantra picked up by Cornel West, MLK, a variety of socialist environmental groups and others dipping into a Jordan River of liberation theology. Thats complicated enough, given Cone’s antipathy to wealth in general, but the introduction of race into the equation seems to diminish scripture in favor of dialogues in community…
“The Jews were responsible for bringing negroes into the Rhineland with the ultimate idea of bastardising the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate.”…( Hitler )
JAMES CONE: Even though you’re living under the shadow of the lynching tree. Because religion is a spirit that is not defined by what people can do to your body. They can kill your body, but they can’t kill your soul. We were always told that. There is a spirit deep in you that nobody can take away from you because it’s a creation that God gave to you….
Now, if you know you have a humanity that nobody can take away from you, they may lock you up. They may lynch you. But, they don’t win. … …You don’t have to understand all about the history of lynching to know what a noose is. Everybody knows that. Somehow, that– that gets– you don’t have to know that history. It’s in– it’s in American culture. As you say, it’s in the DNA. It’s our– it’s white America’s original sin and it’s deep. Like, for a long time, we didn’t want to talk about slavery. They don’t like to talk about 246 years of it. Then a hundred years of legal segregation and lynching….
…Now, you don’t get away from that by not talking about it. That’s too deep. Germany is not going to get away from the Holocaust by not talking about it. It’s too deep. So, America must face up that we are one community. We– you know, if anybody in this society– if anybody is brother and sister to the other, it’s black people and white people because there is a– there is a tussle there that you cannot get out of. It is a– it is deeply engrained in our relationship to each other in a way that’s not with anybody else– Read More:http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11232007/transcript1.html
MLK:I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection….
…When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows….Read More:http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
….”the core of liberation theology is profoundly “theologal” – that is, rooted in the very nature of god. you see, there’s an immediate relationship between god, oppression, liberation: god is in the poor who cry out. And god is the one who listens to the cry and liberates, so that the poor no longer need to cry out. .. so we speak of a black god, mother god, worker god. this de-mystifies what’s been passed on to us! In our process of organization and liberation of our people, it’s important to meet a god who is more like us.” – leonardo boff Read More:http://dialogicalecology.blogspot.com/2011/08/im-working-on-reader-that-will-include.html