Much has been made of Glenn Beck's statement on "Fox News Sunday" that he "has a big fat mouth" and that he "miscast" President Obama as a racist. This, of course, is because it makes for easy headlines like: "Beck Regrets Calling Obama a Racist."
Less has been made, however, of Beck's amendment
to the statement -- that President Obama was instead "a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim."
Obama's connection to such theology, which seeks to marry faith and social action, is presumably based on the years he spent years attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright church services (it is clear that Wright's theology is "rooted in the tenets"
of liberation theology).
At first blush, this doesn't seem like a new
, or particularly potent, attack. But casting Obama as a follower of liberation theology also casts him far outside the mainstream of American religious thought, and specifically at odds with the Catholic church
-- whose adherents compose a vital voting bloc in modern American politics.
The last two popes are on record denouncing this brand of theology. Early in his papacy, John Paul II said: "This conception of Christ as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive of Nazareth, does not tally with the church's catechism." And, as cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger once called liberation theology a "fusing of the Bible's view of history with Marxist dialectics."
By making the ridiculously wild "racist" accusation, Beck hurt his own credibility. And by accusing Obama of faking his birth certificate and of being a closeted Muslim, some conservatives harmed their own cause.
But the argument Beck seems to have finally arrived at -- that Obama is actually an adherent of liberation theology -- is much more plausible, and thus, a more potent political weapon.
No doubt, some Obama strategists are debating how to respond to this charge -- should it get out of hand.