Monday, January 21, 2008

A message for King Day

I want to followup this week on last week's post about Barak Obama's minister which was excerpted by the Journal Sentinel and the response of some of our locals to it.

But, first, a reflection for King Day.

One of the local bloggers referred to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's affinity for James Cone who is a prominent early advocate of black liberation theology. I've taught a summary of Cone for law students, contrasting his approach to racial reconciliation with that of Martin Luther King and then drawing comparisons with threads in the case law on equal protection. I think that what Cone preached is fraught with problems that are quite pertinent to the present contorversy over Reverend Weight and Obama, but he is certainly worth studying.

In fact, I refer to his work in some recent scholarship on the government's ability to exclude worship from limited purpose public forums. Cone was quite insightful on the political implications of Christian theology for blacks' response to, and understanding of, the Jim Crow era. He cites one traditional African American prayer:

And now, Oh, Lord, when this your humble servant is done down here in this low land of sorrow; done sitting down and getting up; done being called everything but a child of God; Oh, when I am done, done, done, and this old world can afford me a home no longer, right soon in the morning, Lord, right soon, meet me at the River of Jordan, bid the waters to be still, tuck my little soul away in your chariot, and bear it away over yonder in the third heaven where every day will be a Sunday and my sorrows of this old world will have an end, is my prayer for Christ, my Redeemer's sake, and Amen and thank God

Keep religion out of politics? Not quite so simple.

No comments: