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America’s ‘angriest’ theologian faces lynching tree
A crowd gathers in Marion, Indiana, in 1930 to witness a lynching. This photograph inspired the poem and song “Strange Fruit.”
April 21st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

America’s ‘angriest’ theologian faces lynching tree

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When he was boy growing up in rural Arkansas, James Cone would often stand at his window at night, looking for a sign that his father was still alive.

Cone had reason to worry. He lived in a small, segregated town in the age of Jim Crow. And his father, Charlie Cone, was a marked man.

Charlie Cone wouldn’t answer to any white man who called him “boy.” He only worked for himself, he told his sons, because a black man couldn’t work for a white man and keep his manhood at the same time.

Once, when he was warned that a lynch mob was coming to run him out of his home, he grabbed a shotgun and waited, saying, “Let them come, because some of them will die with me.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

James Cone knew the risks his father took. So when his father didn’t come home at his usual time in the evenings, he’d stand sentry, looking for the lights from his father’s pickup truck.

“I had heard too much about white people killing black people,” Cone recalled. “When my father would finally make it home safely, I would run and jump into his arms, happy as I could be.”

Cone takes on a theological giant

Cone left his hometown of Bearden, Arkansas, and became one of the world’s most influential theologians. But the memories of his father and lynch mobs never left him. Those memories shaped his controversial theology, and they saturate his recent memoir, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

Cone, who once called himself “the angriest theologian in America,” is still angry. His book is not just a memoir of growing up in the Jim Crow era; it’s a blistering takedown of white churches, and one of America’s greatest theologians, Reinhold Niebuhr - a colossal figure often cited by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, Niebuhr’s importance is acknowledged by both liberal and conservative Christian leaders. President Obama once called him one of his favorite philosophers. Niebuhr, the author of classics such as “The Irony of American History,” died in 1971 after a lifetime of political activism.

Cone, however, said neither Niebuhr nor any other famous white pastor at the time spoke out against the most brutal manifestation of white racism in the 20th century America: lynching.

Between 1880 and 1940, Cone says, an estimated 5,000 black men and women were lynched. Their murders were often treated as festive affairs. Women and children cut off the ears of lynching victims as souvenirs. People mailed postcards of lynchings. One postcard of a charred lynching victim read, “This is the barbeque we had last night.”

But Niebuhr said nothing about lynching, little about segregation, and once turned down King’s request to sign a petition calling on the president to protect black children integrating Southern schools, Cone said.

Niebuhr’s decision not to speak out against lynching encouraged other white theologians and ministers to follow suit, Cone said, because Niebuhr was considered the nation’s greatest theologian.

“White theologians didn’t say anything about lynching,” Cone said from his office at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he teaches a course on Niebuhr. “I tried to find a white theologian who addressed it in a sustained way. No one did it.”

Cone’s criticism of Niebuhr baffles at least one well-known Niebuhr scholar. Charles Lemert, author of “Why Niebuhr Matters,” said King often cited Niebuhr as an inspiration. He said he’d never heard that Niebuhr rejected a petition request from King. “It would be so remote from everything the man was.”

Lemert said Niebuhr had established a long record of speaking out against racism, beginning when he became a pastor in Detroit. Niebuhr may not have spoken out against lynching and other forms of racism later on because of another reason, Lemert said.

“He had a debilitating stroke in 1951,” Lemert said. “By the time the civil rights movement was full blown, he was retired and getting ill.”

Why Cone is angry

Cone has spent much of his career condemning the white church for saying little about slavery or racial justice. Yet his pugnacious reputation doesn’t jibe with his appearance. He is a slight man with a boyish face, cinnamon complexion and dimples. He has a high-pitched voice that drips with the Southern inflections of his native Arkansas.

Cone first gained attention in 1969 with the release of “Black Theology and Black Power,” a book he wrote after urban race riots and King’s assassination.

That book took theology out of academia and placed it on the still-smoldering streets. He became known as the father of “black liberation theology.” He said God was black (he meant it figuratively) because God was closest to those who were oppressed and despised - black people in America.

Cone said his passion for justice comes from growing up in the black church.

Cone blended the racial pride of the black power movement with an emphasis on social justice that had been a part of the black church since enslaved Africans first read the Bible. Jesus' primary message, he said, wasn't about getting people to heaven, but liberating people here and now from oppression - racial, economic and spiritual.

Cone said he was tired of white theologians writing about an otherworldly theology while cities burned and blacks were murdered by racists.

“I felt like I was the angriest black theologian in America,” he once wrote in his book “Risks of Faith.” “I had to speak out.”

Cone inspired some and angered others.

Critics say he developed a divisive, racist theology that describes God as black and whites as evil. They say he’s stuck in the '60s and never abandoned the bitterness of growing up in segregation.

Supporters say Cone exposed the hypocrisy of white churches and gave voice to helpless, poor and oppressed Christians in places as far away as China and Latin America.

The Rev. James Ellis III, an author who has been both critical and supportive of Cone, says before Cone, theology was interpreted through a white male perspective.

Cone has inspired not only blacks but also women and other racial minorities to enter seminaries and the pulpit, he says.

“Whether you agree with Cone or not, he’s definitely someone you need to deal with,” said Ellis, author of “OnThaGrindCuzin: The School Daze of Being ‘Incognegro’ in 1619.”

“He takes the gloves off and gets down to the nitty-gritty.”

Jonathan Walton, an assistant professor of African American Religious Studies at Harvard University, said listening to Cone is like “listening to a Hebrew prophet.”

For many people, Walton says, Cone “exposed that the God that they were worshiping was more consistent with the Pharaoh in Egypt than the Hebrew children.”

Cone said people still misunderstand his theology. He said he does not believe that whites are more sinful than others.

“God made us all as brothers and sisters,” he said. “I’m mad when people don’t treat others as brothers and sisters. I’m concerned about the suffering of all people, not just black people. If anybody is being treated unjustly, I’m with them.”

Singing about the ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’

Cone said his passion for justice comes from growing up in the black church. In his recent memoir, he describes how blacks relied on music and faith to deal with the cruelty of segregation.

On Saturday nights, he said, blacks in his hometown would go to juke joints with names like Sam’s Place to hear blues songs like “Hoochie Coochie Man.” On Sunday mornings, some of the same people would go to church to sing spirituals like “Lord, I Want to be a Christian in My Heart.”

Church comforted Cone, but it also made him ask questions.

“My thing was, if the white churches are Christian, how come they segregate us? And if God is God, why is He letting us suffer?”

The cross, he said, helped him find some answers. He said many white Christians “spiritualize” the cross, seeing it as a penalty Jesus had to pay for mankind’s sins.

But black Christians, starting with the slaves who took up the Bible, also viewed the cross as a way to cope with suffering.

Blacks looking at the images of lynching victims took heart from Jesus’ suffering on the cross and his resurrection, Cone said.

He writes:

“Black Christians believed that just knowing that Jesus went through an experience of suffering in a manner similar to theirs gave them faith that God was with them, even in suffering on lynching trees just as God was present with Jesus in suffering on the cross.”

Cone also talked about his personal suffering in his memoir.

He writes about his wife, Sandra, who died of cancer in 1983. He saw her on the night she died. He said they were joking and laughing as she chided him for not leaving her hospital room to get rest.

He finally did leave, but she died at 3 that morning. Thinking about the cross helped him grieve, he said.

“God talked me through that,” he said, his voice softening. “You look suffering right in you eye and say, ‘You may get me, but you’re not going to have the last word.’ ”

Cone also talks about his parents, Charlie and Lucy, who inspired him and his two brothers. Charlie was a woodcutter who encouraged his wife to return to school, where she eventually earned a college degree.

“I didn’t grow up with a lot of fear,” he said. “I just thought my mother and father would protect me.”

One of Cone’s fears today, though, is that the contemporary black church is losing its distinctive theology. He said there’s less talk about justice and more talk about prosperity.

“You go to almost any black church today, and you don’t hear spirituals anymore,” he said. “What you hear is this happy, ‘I’m prosperous’ kind of stuff. I’m not for that. You don’t come to church to be entertained. You come to wrestle with your spirit.”

Cone may still be angry, but he’s also mellowed. He’s tempered some of the voltage from the language he used in his earlier books. And he’s accepted criticism from some black women theologians who said he didn’t include the perspective of black women in his works.

Yet thoughts of his childhood and his parents never seem far off. In his books and lectures, he returns once again to them, especially when people compliment him for his boldness. In one essay, Cone wrote:

“At most, what I say and do are just dim reflections of what my parents taught and lived.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bible • Black issues • Books • Christianity • Church • Crime • Culture wars • Persecution • Prejudice • Race

soundoff (2,563 Responses)
  1. JUGGERNAUT

    THE GERMANS GAVE the Jews an apology.

    BUT whites in the USA never gave blacks an apology for slavery and segregation. Many whites thinks that blacks will just forget and put our heads in the sand NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

    April 22, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • BlogHaha

      Blacks shouldn't look for apologies , they should just killWhite children and get even , turn this Sh....hole country into civil war though many blacks would be killed , but take with you as many as possible , best solution

      April 22, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @BlogHaha

      MANY BLACKS WILL BE KILLED??? lmao

      black are physically stronger than whites.

      and there is about as much blacks as white in the USA army.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:29 am |
    • Variaballistic

      What would an empty apology do for you, exactly? Would it remove all the crimes that had been done? Would it stop any of the current crimes? No.
      Then why demand an apology? You want one anyway? From who, exactly?

      April 22, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Mary

      JUGGERNAUT. it s like hating the English for what they did to my people during potato famine that would be foolish -one the generations are not even close to being the same– two id rather move on with my life, and three I don't see no Irish need not apply and the last time i fought with a protestant waaaaas um NEVER. You keep slavery alive my friend by enslaving your own people to hate, despair and poverty...

      April 22, 2012 at 5:13 am |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Mary

      the only difference genius is that Segregation was over ONLY 48 years ago, that is not even one generation and racism is still alive and well in the USA.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • Mary

      JUGGERNAUT I was born in the 70s nope sorry didn't see segregation and thank you that is exactly my point you have old people stuck in that era.... While the rest of us are trying to live and they are trying to put there unhappy era on us.... Sorry juggernaut you are not going to do that to me. I do not believe in segregation nor do i have any ill will toward people and if you do then Im sorry that you are so full of hate you can't even see your friends of all colors standing next to you.... called Americans...

      April 22, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Joe

      Mary. You are wise. It's funny how racism is mainly applied to whites and seen as it can only come from whites. We are one people and it is sad when people are stuck in the past and force hate on others. Juggernaut, I'm Native American, the African Americans were not exterminated to the level that my people were in the country. Read some history and try not to forget the people before any of you. I value this country dearly and its hateful minded people that keep it from moving forward and it isn't the majority causing the hate, because if the majority wanted you enslaved or without freedom, it would happen.

      April 22, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • Tom

      I have the same message for you as I had for the other gentleman here. People like you need to grow up and grow out of the past. I am not white by the way. I used to live among black communities for many years and I have experienced more racism directed at me from blacks and never from any other racial group out there. The more you keep harping on the past and being angry the more you will be destroying yourself. Just look at the Jewish people who lost 6 million to the Nazis in 5 years, compared to the 5000 mentioned here in this article over 60 years. They got over it and they are one of the most successful ethnic group in the world today.

      And by the way, most or all of this generation of whites you see today had nothing to do with what happened over 70 or 100 years ago. So, please stop holding them responsible. May God bless you!

      April 22, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Denhunter

      Because most white families living in this country came here AFTER slavery was banned. They owe you nothing. Are you gonna apologize for the millions starved in Ireland by the British? One million > 5000.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • db

      The white population of today never owned slaves, did not lynch anyone, and did not participate in anything like this so they have absolutely nothing to apologize for. So get off your soap box and feeling sorry for yourself. You can make yourself into what ever you want today with a little work and effort. We are not here to support you, nor give you anything as that distroys your self reliance. Be a man and own up to today, not 1930 or any other historical period that we are not responsible for.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • sweet georgia peach

      Why should I owe an apology? Did I or do I own any slaves? NO! I am not resopnsinle for what people did in the past before I was born! And get your history right ...who sold some of the blacks to the whites...their own tribesmen ....and there was also white slaves too!....not all people who were in the south owned slaves! Time to look at the future. And stop living in the past!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • truthmatters

      Absolute truth. And the facts are that 1st ministry is in the home. That should be noted here if it wasn't already. If 2 generations ago the situation was so bad, then it is evident that the racism or lack of empathy for others was taught in the home. Subsequently, people today do indeed deal with racism every day. So, it is not a look backwards. Racism is extremely prevalent in real estate, job opportunities, education, etc. – called Money. And those in power or in influential positions of power are the sons/daugthers and grandsons/grand-daughters of those who quite possibly were racist and/or non-compassionate for others of different race/ethnicity. Does that mean all whites are racist – Absolutely Not. But it does mean that there may be many people who are not persons of color who are in the 20s, 30s, 40s or above who can be racist. And the effect of racism is normally more prevalent and powerful to those who hold the power in education, workplace and society overall. And we know that is not blacks in general. That is the point.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • electroguy

      Racist black trash...

      April 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Justsayen27

      ...have the blacks forgiven their on kind for selling their own kind to the rich europeans and profiting from slavery?

      April 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • jane

      Steve Cohen, a Jewish representative from Memphis did introduce a bill, which passed, which apologized for slavery.
      But hey, us Jews have never gotten an apology from blacks for the Crown Heights pogrom although blacks did get an apology from the city for the Tulsa riots. When are blacks going to aplogize for their 50 years and counting KKK like behavior towards Jews, Asians, gays, etc

      April 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • distractedwriter

      This is another useless article. White people won't ever get it.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • distractedwriter

      Justsayin, obviously the blacks haven't forgiven each other, this is why there's so much black on black crime. They're just as much angry at each other for the bad deal as they are at whites.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      @juggerhead: Sure, there are lots of blacks in military but whose side do you think they are going to be on. Military Blacks takes orders from White Men or Women and if their commander tell them to shoot and kill a black person, that's exactly what they are going to do. for example, if you and a white man are having a fight and a black cop shows up do you think he is automatically going to take the black person's side. I really doubt it. Blacks authority figures are placed in that position to help protect whites not blacks. Black cops know whites pay them not their fellow blacks. They are paid to protect white people and their property and most were raised on the white plantation to serve Massa (UNCLE TOMS)

      April 23, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Sue

      Why do I owe any black person an apology? I didn't ever treat a black person bad. Why should todays blacks have the right to accept or deny an apology to their ancestors. I don't hear all races of men apologizing to todays women for the fact that we used to not be able to vote, get paid what we deserve or that it was not illegal to smack your wife around. Treat people right today, stop looking back. Stop looking for retribution through money. People should be treated with kindness if they are deserving.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Sue

      Juggernaut.....which white should apologize to which black? The way it should be handled is the committer of the crime should apologize to the victim. In many cases whites who committed the crime have sought out the black victim and publicy apologized on camera many years after the crime was committed. Within that select group those blacks forgave the white that committed the racist behavior. Many of the people who were involved in the original crime of this article are dead.....that does not mean that their great grandchildren are still racists and lynching. What makes you think those people who may be kind upstanding citizens owe you an apology? Are blacks that have committed crimes against whites or any other race apologizing, and if not are whites and others allowed to call all blacks criminals because they have committed crimes? You can't judge all by a select group. Try going to a predominatly black school as any color besides black and see how you are treated. You haven't walked in others shoes. I love all people and I don't dislikes any race for crimes committed against me, because I don't judge an entire race for something a select few did. You should be going after the apology from the people that owe it to you, not the great grandkids of someone who committed a crime against a family member from 70 years ago.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Chris

      Look at all those inbred rednecks in the photo. You should be so proud

      April 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  2. Bob

    Stir that pot CNN, stir that pot.

    April 22, 2012 at 4:20 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Stirring the pot is better than letting it explode.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • Variaballistic

      Here's what the pot looks like:

      Intolerant racist snobs who own everything and are never caught, foster as much oppression and vicious attacks on innocent people who are poor and helpless.
      This makes the poor angry.
      Repeat cycle until some of the poor have nothing left to lose and who are provoked to seek any kind of justice whatsover, the more violent the better.
      Use this violence to justify cracking down even harder. Spray pepper spray into the faces of children. Stab them with electric prods and shock them. Let some of them die by police violence. Don't let them have any justice or fairness.

      Repeat cycles as needed until you've gotten every poor person who does not knuckle under into prison.
      Repeat more cycles anyway to justify more crackdowns and because you like doing it.

      Shoot anyone who resists. Confiscate anything for any reason, because now there's thousands of worthless laws prohibiting every action that could remotely resemble resistance.

      Use the helpless poor as your own private slave pen. Kidnap and do whatever you want to any poor person. Kill whoever you like. Poison them if there's too many poor people. Let them know who's in charge again and again. Show them their efforts are useless against your wealth and corruptive power..

      Add random laws. Crack down harder. Use people's religion to drive them with their rage and terror to whatever you want.

      Continue to profit in a grossly overdone manner throughout the whole process. Enjoy your wealth however you like.
      Ignore any laws you want. Laws are for poor people.

      Don't let any uppity people get the upper hand. Show them who's boss even though you've burned it into them since they were born.

      Repeat. Keep stirring. Now we are up to date. CNN posts article to stir required response from poor black people.
      You post. I reply. The rich ones doing the status quo will ignore us all and laugh at the situation.

      They are the status quo people. They are the problem. They need to be stopped in the name of humanity, in the name of whatever goodness you might like to see in the future. Just be willing to help and help as you can and maybe we can wrap these chains around the neck of these grossly evil people and their status quo.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:08 am |
  3. mediacrasher

    Many Caucasians are incapable of having a conversation about race and lynchings. They think Blacks when reading this or their history will get so mad that they're going to "seek payback" so instead they resort to syllogistic, childish parallels and ad hominems. It's really quite sad. An insecurity and illness they suffer from due to decades of a false nurturing of this sense of White Superiority. I don't know if they will ever be honest with themselves to say "Hey, let's take a look at that." Pray for America.

    April 22, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • BlogHaha

      Their time will come , they won't know what hit them , I d love to lynch all the wives of the CNN 's Staff , make them know how it feels.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • Brad76

      What on earth are you talking about??! Your mind is stuck in the 1800's. Please come back to earth, no one is out to get you. Racists are actually a minority, and you're judging ALL white people based on that? That is just awful, and incredibly rude and obnoxious.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • truthmatters

      Also remember that a majority of the KKK were in church every Sunday so called worshipping God. Don't think that their sons/daughters – grandsons/grand-daughters were not in church as well. So I would love to hear the explanation about that. These are facts and some of their generational descendants are in powerful/influential positions. So, what God were they serving and worshipping. That is not Godly at all treating, killing and disrespecting others in that manner. So, although the racism of today may be different or displayed in different forms, it absolutely exists and is done on a day by day basis. Guilt and association gets a negative reaction from those who don't want to talk about it. Most who talk about it who are people of color are not just talking about it because they are trying to bring back history, but they are talking about it because they witnessed it personally yesterday, today or tomorrow and want to make it plain that it is WRONG and not ACCEPTED.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • distractedwriter

      Whites say this is all deserving because of blacks selling blacks into slavery, welfare, and black on black crime. Of course, whites had nothing to do with any of it.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • InvisibleWoman

      VERY well said Media Crasher!

      April 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  4. BlogHaha

    Keep pushing it CNN but don't blame lacks , when they start killing a bunch of whites, just a warning......

    April 22, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      What country do you troll from?

      April 22, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • distractedwriter

      Um, blacks can't really do that so effectively because they have no war knowledge and no major weapons as a group. On the other hand, whites are very capable of eliminating blacks by the masses.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  5. Hassan

    The ministry of enviroment and urban development are packing the refuse in some contaminated area

    April 22, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • BlogHaha

      You re not an American

      April 22, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  6. steve

    I don't see the black poverty issues getting any better in this country for a very long time. It appears everything is going downhill once again. Poor education, poverty, no jobs, a total dysfunction in the family just to name a few. The violencein all major cities is running rampant throughout the entire country. Sometimes i wonder, if the plan is in place for a race war to somehow bring about equality. Everything else to date has failed, so why not more bloodshed.

    April 22, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      whites USE DRUGS MORE THAN BLACKS, YET THE RATE OF BLACKS GOING TO JAIL FOR DRUG USE IS HIGHER THAN WHITES.

      RACISM IS STILL ALIVE IN THIS COUNTRY.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  7. JUGGERNAUT

    IT IS FUNNY THAT THE RACIST ARE ALWAYS BLAMING CNN, INSTEAD OF BLAMING RACISM.

    April 22, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Sal Papageorgio

      You are full of hate. Do the world a favor and kill yourself

      April 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  8. ffact

    CNN. the Race news network

    April 22, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Koko's comment here demonstrates racism is funny news for some.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  9. AdmrlAckbar

    Cashing in on current racial issues and combining them with the normal healthy flow of already polarized belief traffic.. Shame on you CNN... Then again I'm not really surprised... Think I will be turning to the Onion from now on for fair news

    April 22, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  10. koko

    WOW! Black people must really love hanging out from the trees. 🙂

    April 22, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • jvonhamlin23@yahoo.com

      Im sure you are aware that comment was inappropriate.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Rae

      You've been reported. Congrats!!

      April 22, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • BlogHaha

      But now your sisters are hanging upside own to be fu........ Ked by blacks

      April 22, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • 7Pillars

      Gee, yet another sad little bigot seeking attention. What does that say about you, KoKO? Are you some chubby Armchair Warrior with zero life experience munching nachos? An 8-year old pretending to be racist? Or just some impotent little drama queen fantasizing about feeling import an?

      You probably know the names we give to those insecure, impotent trolls who hide behind anonymity and keyboards – if you knew a thing about life or ever served in the military or ever seen/experienced violence in Real Life you'd probably have more courage...

      April 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Just Sayin'

      @7Pillars:

      >>> An 8-year old pretending to be racist? <<<

      If 8-year-olds pretend to be racists like that, does not say much about their parents, does it?

      April 23, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  11. Good Me

    Why keep posting articles of B vs. W?? Only the media keeps racism alive.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Variaballistic

      You are forgetting word of mouth and other forms of communication. Parents teach it to their kids. They get it from religion, from books, from not questioning what they see and hear and all that. Your view is simplistic.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  12. Phattee

    It took some real underhanded methods, but Fox News managed to convince the GOP base that white, Christian Americans are the most oppressed people on the planet.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Brad76

      Oh dear.... gimme a break. Ugh, I lose more faith in humanity by the day.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  13. truetruetrue

    Black history month has been long over...*yawn*

    April 22, 2012 at 3:44 am |
  14. Whatever

    HELLO. HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY SPIKE LEE JUST ORGANIZED A LYNCH MOB AND AN AMERICA FAMILY HAD TO FLEE THEIR HOME IN FEAR.
    But CNN goes back in time to this instead of asking Why hasn't he faced charges? He broke both state and federal laws. (dispersed threats electronically over state lines, Hate Statute -more)

    April 22, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Did not hear about this. I just looked it up not on fox, but CBS and NBC. Lee admitted being wreckless publishing an address that did not say lynch them but it is a loaded gun pointed at dynamite, he apologized to couple, and he is probably going to be sued as he should be, if not prosecuted.

      Don't recall any apologies from the KKK for actual extra judicial lynchings from their well planned enemies list.

      This recent killing, almost swept under the rug, is now being handled in the courts where it needs to be.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • Whatever

      ALL such offenses need to be handled by the courts, and no group or individual should get a special pass from this -a damage control apology press conference does not count.
      Also, this apology was given to the mistaken couple only, NOT Lee's intended target, Mr Zimmerman, and not to The People for declaring himself America's Judge. Jury and Executioner.
      Remember the four nooses hanging over the campus building at Duke U?......turns out they were 100% INNOCENT, she was lying.
      And even IF they, Zimmerman, what have you, were guilty, lynch mobs, of any color, for any reason are both unacceptable and illegal.
      Lee needs to go before a judge for his actions. Had a tape of them getting burned to death in their homes made it to YouTube?.......God only knows what that would have provoked.
      (imo, this would be Lee's 1st offense (not sure) and jail would be too extreme, but a fine and probation, a REAL & PUBLIC Wake Up call is warranted for this.)

      April 22, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      I hear your point. I agree if he has committed a crime he should prosecuted, minimally sued. His actions were stupid and negligent. Compared to Rush or Beck, he is not as inflammatory but could have resulted in death or massive riots, which I think Rush and Beck believe are necessary to promote and justify their views. Sending out an address is not the same as saying go lynch them. Because he is national celebrity he owes a bigger apology. Compare that to the other two which as policy never apologize because they in fallible.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  15. Doug

    What God would be debateable?

    April 22, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • matt

      Every single one of them ever cooked up by sick human minds!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:56 am |
  16. sarahalbion

    CNN is determined to start a race war in America

    April 22, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • BlogHaha

      I d love to see that I'd kill as many whites possible

      April 22, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Rich

      2nd Amendment is for black people, too. If a civil war is what some folks want. I'm with it...bring it on.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Realist

      Since blacks generally are surrounded by blacks on a daily basis, they tend to forget that they are only 12% of the US population. Throw in the fact that 25% of black males of "fighting" age are in prison, coupled with their historical lack of ability to plan (logistics, strategy, etc.), and a race war would be an utter disaster for the black race in America.

      Gun manufacturers are breaking sales records over the past couple of years. Who exactly do you think are buying all those guns? You guessed it. White middle class Americans.

      Don't start a race war. It is not the answer and it is not worth it. Drop the bravado and get realistic.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  17. johnfrichardson

    Keith, you are the one not learning from history. Those race riots were horrific and took a horrific toll. But they didn't happen in a vacuum. They were a grossly dysfunctional response resorted to when all functional responses were seen as being cut off. And where on earth do you get the idea that Obama wants race riots? That's reckless rhetoric.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Quick

      Obama is protecting the status quo.
      In that regards, he is indeed oppressing the people, especially the ones getting the larger brunt of the clearly biased "law enforcement" thugs that are out there – like black people in poor neighborhoods. All the racial profiling going on, including any of it done by anyone anywhere, is discriminatory and criminal in intent.
      Obama is not, by his actions, a "black liberation theology" activist of any sort. He's become "The Man who keeps the black man down".
      That's just one of the ways in which he sucks as a President. Any President that protects and enhances the status quo we have is a President that sucks in that regard.
      Don't defend what doesn't deserve defending. If Obama does something wrong, we should call him out on it and maybe someone will point out how nice it would be to change that part of his personal expression that intrudes into his official duties.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      johnfrichardson,,,,,, ,,,,,, ,.,.

      Judging a person's word(s) is left up to one's judgmentations! Calling someone out on their word(s) becomes likened to feudalisms of the sociialized constructs leaving the victor overcoming the vanquished as ever the case(s) may be! I find writing to be a way of non-conformity and is a useful tool for my mindset hierarchies! Without much fanfare needed for me to write issues upon, doing so keeps me in syncronicities' dependencies without being an intentional idiot as many who post here truly are! As the Mindfields are awashed in the brainyards' shifting momentumns of many multi-angularisms, Life beckons to be understood as it s should be!

      April 22, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Whatever

      I got the idea when Mr Zimmerman's President announced that if he had a son he'd look like Trayvon Martin. (gold grill too?)

      April 22, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • Variaballistic

      How do you know what Obama wants? Does he call you up late at night and confess his deepest desires to you over the phone? Or does he text you?
      Let's get real, shall we?
      All we have to go on are all the actions being taken by every subordinate to the Executive Branch.
      The Justice Dept. is not getting rid of the thugs and other nasties in the Dept. Sheriffs still stop them "colored" boys and pull over beat-up old cars because the owner is clearly too poor and their car is ugly.

      No, the White House is not going to announce the continuance of the status quo. That's not news and they don't really want to point out the obvious, as it is not really popular among people who know what the status quo is and who are the victims of it and not the oppressors using it for their own personal purposes.

      See if you can ask Obama his deepest desires for getting things changed for the better. Ask him how strongly he feels and if he would risk his life to help every poor person, many of whom have large amounts of melanin in their skin.
      Go ahead, john. Let us know how it all works out for ya.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Keith

      Whatever states one reason. The 2nd is that neither Obama, Eric Holder, or the media tool for that matter, took issue with the Black Panther's issuing a bounty on someone. I'm certain that you just can't go around threatening the life of someone. I'm positive there is a law for it. If the President is indeed the superior intellectual genius that many of you portray him to be-then he made his statement intentionally. His silence in NOT condemning the Panthers bounty was equally intentional. He appears to want chaos-not a system of due process. Isn't that odd coming from a lawyer?

      April 22, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Keith

      One more thing, johnfrichardson, can you imagine if it had been the KKK putting a bounty on a black man on national TV?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  18. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    Today's theologians as in what this blog writes about, are antiquations of historical fondness and are corrupted via their Time's or ages! Today's breed of theologians are no more adept in their eyesights' futures! We have need of theosophies deferring from their currencies' flow-rates ever to ease our ways toward Armagedon's Ending! Life subsides and ebbs and flows and still the clock does ever tick tock tick tock! The global stages are ripened and yet are growing rotten inch by inches as the wagons do draw ever closer toward cliffs edge! Our worldly journey will never be a completion and yet the people will complete their individual journeys irregardless Life's Ongoings!

    April 21, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      More incoherent rambling rumblings ...

      April 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      johnfrichardson,,,,,, ,,,,,, ,.,.

      To dream perchance to see that which was saw is where the "real" seeing minds' want to know!

      April 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Oh shut up.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      POD...the mud of your evolutionary past has clouded your thought processes..

      April 22, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  19. Colin

    I have never understood the whole idea of a "geat theologian." It's a bit like a "great astrologer" or a "great palm reader". When the whole silly nonsense of living happily ever after we die is made up anyway, how does one distinguish a great theologian from an ordinary one? Is the former a little better at telling the simple minded folks who still buy into that garbage exactly what they want to hear?

    April 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      As theology is normally an exercise in ever more elaborate bits of meaninglessness, I'm usually inclined to the same viewpoint. When someone manages to bring theology to bear on real world issues, I think it is fair to suggest there may be some value to their work.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Quick

      They are "great" because they are able to fool much larger numbers of people that what they say is "worth" listening to – and that's where the different value systems of each person come into play – any strong emotional response that can be shared among a large number of people is going to be viewed by those people as "significant" in some manner.
      If they approve of the person, they say they are "great" or something.
      If they do not approve, more negative words will be used.

      Cone, as a humanist, is someone who is fighting for equal rights for all humans. I fully support such a stance.
      However, Cone, as a preacher, I do not approve of, as he is not liberating his listeners from the mind-control slavery they are all subject to. He becomes, as a preacher, their jail-keeper, the guy who makes sure the chains are properly tight upon their oppressed minds.

      Does he point out to his fellow Christians with dark complexions that those "klukkers" who do the lynchings do them because they are ignorant, stupid, sadistic, and brainwashed to hate anyone who is not "white"?

      I don't know if he's ever done that. I've never heard of the guy before today. This "great" label sounds like pure bs because I haven't heard of the other guys listed either before today. Who said they're great? People I've never heard from, I guess.

      But if he points out the brainwashed sadistic theology of the KKK, then he should be pointing out the brainwashed sadistic theology in the Bible. What preacher would ever do that?

      April 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Alice

      Colin
      A "geat theologian" is more like a "great bull $h.it.er"!

      April 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  20. Keith

    An endorsement from Obama is not something I would want. What is the purpose of this story? Fomenting racial trouble? Like the Black Panthers putting a $10,000 bounty "dead or alive" on someone? Isn't THAT illegal? This Obama regime and its media tools are trying to cause a civil war in this country-be wary of them. They would like a "controlled burn" to achieve whatever goal it is they want to attain, but this fire will get out of control.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhahahhhahhha! "An endorsement from Obama is not something I would want."

      As if it's something you could even imagine getting in your wildest dreams, you moronic boob.

      Obama wouldn't bother with some know-nothing like you, Keith. You're barely making minimum wage, if you're employed at all; you don't have a degree unless it's from some 3rd tier cow college, and you wield about as much authority and power as as the dick of an octogenarian.

      Really, dude, dream on. You couldn't get a vote of confidence from a chorus of frogs.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      I see that Keith has the Tea Party talking points in good order.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah. Jeebus lub de Tea Party. Dey be de blessed.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Keith

      Have you noticed how firearms are flying off the shelves at sporting goods stores lately? Probably not, as I suspect you wouldn't notice that sort of thing.
      There is a ton of gunfire every weekend where I live-mostly target, I suppose. Trunkslammers from Saginaw, Flint, Detroit, and such. If and when it hits the fan-the cities will become instant meat-grinders. My parents lived thru the race riots of the late 60's. I've heard the stories-it wasn't pretty. LOTS of people just ceased to exist when it was over. Gone. Kaput. An old friend of the family worked at the Stroh's Brewery in Detroit. He said lots of people who used to work there were gone when it was over-never accounted for.
      What happend in Detroit and in LA in Rodney King incident is going to happen nation-wide. And Obama wants it to happen.
      One thing seems to be for certain-no one learns from history, thus it will be repeated. It saddens me that horrible judgements are about to befall this nation. We deserve it. I would repent and get my ass straight with God if I were you-there's not much time left.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Oh, I see, probably a card-carrying member of the Michigan Militia. Let Detroit burn, no one lives there, anyway.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      How the hell can you compare this guy's quite sensible complaint about white church complacency in the face of LYNCHING with the New Black Panther Party's bounty-based calls for violent vigilantism? It is the lynch mobs who practiced what the New Black Panther Party preaches: do it yourself street justice w/o trial or any other semblance of due process,

      April 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Keith

      You ASSume much, AGuest9. And as with most those like you, you assume wrong.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Keith

      AGuest9

      Oh, I see, probably a card-carrying member of the Michigan Militia. Let Detroit burn, no one lives there, anyway.
      It would appear you are a racist bigot wanting all those in Detroit to burn.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Methinks the fundie protests too much.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Keith

      Your depraved mind prevents you from any rational thinking, Tom.

      April 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.