Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Why the 'Liberation Theology' Label Should Worry Obama

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size

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.

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

In his chapter on Faith in "The Audacity of Hope" Barack Obama concludes by recounting a conversation with his daughters in which he admits that he does not know where we go when we die. No Bible-believing Christian would say this. Regrettably, the President is far from alone in claiming to be a Christian while disbelieving what the Bible says - there are entire denominations, such as the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ & many others in which belief in the Bible's teachings is optional, if not openly opposed in many respects. In terms of Heaven & Hell, to doubt their existence as the two possible destinations of mankind after death is clearly to put one outside of the pale of historic Christianity and make one a Christian in name only. President Barack Obama is either a Secular Humanist, which is the dominant "religion" (and religion it is, as Dewey's "The Humanist Manifesto" declared) of the American public education system. This is troubling enough. But, what is even more troubling is the possibility that he is actually a secret Muslim acting under the Islamic principle of taqiyya, which allows one to lie about being a Muslim temporarily in order to further the Muslim cause. The fact that the President went back to using his Muslim name (after abandoning it for most of his youth) is a possible indicator of this. In Islam the name that you use is very important - remember Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali? This (along with the fact that both his birth father & step-father were Muslims) is why much of the Muslim world claims the President as one of their own. Furthermore, a true Bible-believing Christian, especially one who comes from a Muslim background, as Obama's backgroung & Indonesian experience indicates, would not simply extol the virtues of Islam, as the President constantly does, without also expressing his personal belief that Jesus is Lord (that is, Allah) & Savior - See Romans 10:9-13 & Acts 4:10-12. I have never heard the President do the latter. From a practical standpoint this is understandable, as this declaration is punishable by death in most Muslim countries (especially if one was once identified as a Muslim as Obama was). But, a President who fails to criticize this reality is clearly more supportive of Islam than Christian liberty.

September 03 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Actually, you all are forgetting the little old piece of paper up in Washington DC called the United States Constitution. Each one of us is granted freedom of religion. That said, I don't really care if a president believes a mouse is their chosen diety. It is how that person who was chosen to represent our nation presents himself/herself to other countries reflects either well or poorly as to how the citizens of America are portrayed globally. Also, in the Constitution, there is supposed to be a seperation of church and state, and with that said, as president, isn't it considered proper that the president does not attend any set paticular religious organization? Since that person who is chosen to lead America, that person is the embodiment of the entire citizen whole, and cannot feasibly represent all religions and all beliefs, so wouldn't it be best to not attend any religous functionalities?

September 03 2010 at 1:50 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Thank you Glenn Beck, Fox News, and AOL for doing the job the FBI and Justice Department failed to do when vetting this foreigner. Start the impeachment proceeding immediately! I want my country back!!!!!!!

September 01 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

People not familiar probably think a Southern Baptist Church is racist. I grew up going to one and never heard one thing bad about Black people or any talk of politics. My dad and any of his family would have walked; I can't say for sure my mom's family would do the same. I need more explanation to why more Blacks are not in conflict with Wright's message. Some guy stated yelling at me calling me a racist as I was walking into a Walmart because I didn't take a soda he offered. I'm guessing he was playing a joke. If I were a racist I probably wouldn't shop that particular store. Funny, if he had a kid with a white girl; it would probably be more white than me. Roland Martin makes lists on why Blacks should hate White people and he is still on TV. I you want to stop racism all sides need to be involved. Sheiks are almost as white as their sheets and live next door to the blackest of Black people. Arabs made eunuchs out of Black men but for some reason Southerners keep being called most racist (think underwear bomber). Read about Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley. I could give other reasons why slavery in the South was not so simply categorized. If Whites are going to get labeled racist no matter what they do then why bother fighting against racism. Obama sure didn't put up much of a fight against it.

September 01 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This is why people do not connect with the President , They really do not trust him because he sat in the Rev Wright church and stated he never heard nor was present during the Rev's sermons . Please the American people don't buy this , you sit in a church for 20 years and you expect people to believe the excuse . He is a true believer in this theology because he uses some of the same words in his speeches . His own words make the case .

August 31 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Choked with fear, a new reality of power and control is shifting the very core of America, and the leadership style of the past has become suspect and expendable. Why would anyone conserve the divisive policies of the past. They no longer apply or fit the claim to diversity that many in this nation use a cover up. The use of religion, in any context, as a means to win the minds of voters will backfire, as it has been proven already. The fear of the "old way" movement will hinder any progress that the president is trying to make. As a nation, this country can't afford to split any further apart. Why the hell is anybody listening to that jerk anyway. He has no credential whatsoever to make any claim to God or justice, and not once has he offered any practical solution to help reverse the decline of this nation...and even if some predict that the president may not serve a second term, what can his adversaries do to improve anything? By the time the end of his term arrives, the country will be in shambles because of fear of progress and lack of absolute change from the "old ways".

August 31 2010 at 11:11 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

Why, it's not out of hand already?

August 30 2010 at 3:50 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

From an article about the event, referring to Beck: "The essence of the movement was about "people of faith who believe you have an equal right to justice," he said in an interview that aired Sunday." So, if Beck was talking about people of faith having a right to justice, what is liberation theology? People of faith having a right to justice? I'm confused. This is a political weapon? It might get out of hand? Obama believes this, but Beck does? Or doesn't? I can't follow what the problem is, or who thinks what.

August 30 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Glenn Beck is a Mormon. Any Christian will tell you that his/her faith begins and ends with the Holy Bible, and the Book of Mormon is NOT required for salvation. Therefore, Mormons (even Glenn Beck) cannot be considered Christians.

August 30 2010 at 2:13 PM Report abuse -15 rate up rate down Reply

By suggesting that the President is an adherent of a Christian (but un-Catholic) doctrine, isn't Mr. Beck implicitly, publicly, renouncing the claim that he (the President) is Muslim?

August 30 2010 at 2:09 PM Report abuse -11 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>