The church where Sen. Barack Obama has worshipped for two decades publicly declares that its ministry is founded on a 1960s book that espouses "the destruction of the white enemy."
1 April 08
Trinity United Church of Christ's Web site says its teachings are based on the black liberation theology of James H. Cone and his 1969 book "Black Theology and Black Power."
"What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love," Mr. Cone wrote in the book.
Mr. Cone, a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, added that "black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy."
Mr. Obama's campaign, which for weeks has weathered criticism about inflammatory racial language by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. at Trinity, said the candidate "vehemently disagrees" with those tenets.
"It's absurd to suggest that he or anyone should be held responsible for every quote in every book read by a member of their church," said Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin.
"Barack Obama is not a theologian, and what he learned in church is to love Jesus Christ and work on behalf of his fellow man, regardless of race, class or circumstance. This is a faulty and disingenuous approach to a church, and a flawed way to judge a candidate," he said.
Mr. Obama has been a member of Trinity, on Chicago's South Side, since finding religion there 20 years ago under Mr. Wright's mentorship. Mr. Wright married the Obamas and baptized their children, and a sermon of his inspired Mr. Obama to title his book "The Audacity of Hope."