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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. GreatPerspective

    A wonderful perspective and also true of the south, and America in many ways. Slavery would not have taken place without the sanction of white churches. Neither would Jim Crow and segregation have existed later. Same as what we're seeing re-emerging in primarily red states today, which are more often southern or southern mentality. Such laws as the Stand Your Ground law can be found in that old southern lynching mentality. That law is also supported by lawmakers and individuals claiming to be right win conservative "Christians."

    April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Justsayen27

      Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican
      White Democrates started the KKK to keep slavery in the south
      Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and freed the slaves
      Over 618000 died in the civil war which was prompted over the freeing of slaves. At least 98% of the northen soldier fighting to abolish slavery were white.
      Educated black African sold there own kind to rich europeans
      African Americans claim that blacks were the royalty of Egypt because it's on the African continent...but didn't the Egypt enslave the Jews for more then 800 years.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  2. rftallent

    With regard to the Zimmerman case, true Southerners do not even consider Florida "the South" so give it a rest. I live in Alabama and I'm tired of stories about what generations before me did that only inflame the younger generations and make it harder for us to live in unity today.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  3. Justsayen27

    After their increased immigration to the US in the late 19th century, Italian Americans also became lynching targets, chiefly in the South. On March 14, 1891, eleven were falsely accused of being associated with the Mafia. This incident was one of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. history.[19] A total of twenty Italians were lynched in the 1890s. Most lynchings of Italian Americans occurred in the South.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_State

    We got over it and moved on to be productive Americans...so what;s your excuse???

    April 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • GreatPerspective

      Justsayen27, today's Italians in America are considered white. The Italians you speak of in that period were primarily of the darker Italian in skin color. Yes, there are, or at least WERE, dark skinned Italians.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Name

      no parlo americano

      April 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Steve

      Italian-Americans are productive?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Justsayen27

      GreatPerspective
      Those Italians were NOT lynched because of skin color...as CLEARLY stated...'eleven were falsely accused of being associated with the Mafia".
      Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_racial_violence_in_the_United_States
      It tells on the mass violence and lynchings against the Irish...not think there were to many dark skined Irish!

      Certain segments of America want to make hate crimes based ONLY on color of skin when that couldn't be farther from the truth as I just proved. If people want to talk about history...know all of it, not just what serves your cause.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Justsayen27

      Steve...lol....ok ok, at least we aren't still CRYING about it 150 years later, expecting or anything because of it.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  4. Mickey

    You have abused your use of journalism when you use graphic photos of lynching in an attempt to remind black voter to show up and vote for Obama in November. Yes, what a grand idea? Let's use hangings to fire up our black base. This is going to be the ugliest presidential race ever. CNN fair & balanced. I think not. That's OK. First Trevon Martin, then black linching. I wonder what's next for CNN. How about KKK Klans men. Only a fool doesn't recognize why the writer felt compelled to write this article & why CNN placed it front & center. Why not heal the world & not divide it. This world is serious need of another Michael Jackson & James Brown. Obama certainly is not the great uniter as promised.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Sue

      I thought fair and balanced was fox "news" slogan

      April 22, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  5. db

    You have to hand it to Obama, he has empowered the Blackman with pride of being black. The only problem is that he has also driven the racism wedge deeper into society by not representing ALL the people of the USA, which are Black, White, Yellow,red, and Brown. By appearing to support only his own with programs, bills, hiddent agendas, and negativity he shows his utter contempt for those of other races. We actually need a POTUS who remembers what his job is, a nonpolitical representative of ALL the people of the USA elected to an office fairly, and that the position is not a prize but an obligation to perform in the best interests of the Citizens of the USA, not foreign citizens or interests.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • GreatPerspective

      db, that's where you're wrong. It's the likes of Rushie Lymbaugh and right wing conservatives and the tea party who have drawn that "wedge" between the races.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Sue

      How do you figure that he does not represent all people. I am white, he has done plenty for me these last 3 years.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  6. jonavark

    More blatant race baiting from CNN.. on a Sunday too. What crap. It's the PAST CNN.. concentrate on the mess the black community is in NOW..

    April 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Tyme

      Very sad

      April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Sue

      Why are you so threatened by a story like this?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus offers the solution for the problem of racism (it is only that we have to get him rightly).

    The problem of all human beings on earth is that a germ of death dwells in them. This germ always seeks a pretence to hate his neighbour: different color, belief, nationality, status, etc..

    In America the germ used the black/white problem, in Germany it was the discrepancy between Jews and Germans. It is all the same.

    Once even Jesus was confronted with such a problem, when he met a woman from Samaria (the people of Samaria had another religion than the Jews and they could not bear each other).

    Jesus has overcome that problem:

    Once the Jew Jesus met a woman from Samaria at the well of Jacob (John 4).

    Jesus was very thirsty from a long walk and said to her: "Give me to drink!" The woman refused, because Jesus was a Jew and the ordinary Jews despised the Samaritans (the Samaritans were somewhat supersti-tious).

    Yet the woman made a mistake, because Jesus was not a typical Jew, but a loveable Jew. He responded, he had given her Water of Eternal Life, if she had asked him.

    Jesus did not want to talk with the woman about the conflict of Jewish faith and Samaritan faith, but he showed her that she had a lack of love, which would be the consequence of the true faith.

    We can learn very much from this story.

    All false religions are bigoted. They tend to handicap believers of other religions (see how the woman handicaped Jesus by not giving him water, although he was in need). In contrast, Jesus had been ready to give her not only ordinary water, but living water. Jesus had not considered the religion of the woman, but only her need.

    Hence, if I am a Christian and born by Water and Spirit, I should help people in need independent from their belief. If my Muslim workmate needs an advice, I should give him an advice. If my Hindu neighbour is hungry, I should give him food. If my Mormon classmate is hurted, I should transport him to the hospital.

    The true Christian love is independent from belief, nationality, colour, social status, etc.. True Christian love is not bigoted, but sees the neighbour as a human being with full human dignity, which is loved by God and for which Jesus has died and resurrected or for which God delivered his Son and raised him from the dead.

    Concerning Romney:

    Romney is a Mormon bishop and they are of course bigoted. It is questionable, if Romney becomes president, if he will treat all poeple of America equal. I could imagine that he will prefer the Mormons (I cannot prove that).

    John 4:

    Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ

    April 22, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • db

      Are you feeling well today or did you forget to take your pill? Your post is definately from a sick mind.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • CurryMonster

      I'm not sure what this massive post was about, but all I can say is that Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and all the rest are all different religions with the same belief: to do good and love and respect others. Also, don't quote from the Bible to prove a point, use your own reasoning...in moderation of course.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  8. Robert

    This is the first pro-second amendment piece I have ever seen on CNN.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  9. Craig

    That's great picture of the Tea Party that have at the top of the page.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • T Stevenson

      No, the tea party would be burning the bodies and claiming that they never had a birth certificate.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • db

      Do you two children even know what the T-Party is?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  10. Mike

    James Cone is a radical and amoral individual. A subscriber to "Black Liberation Theology," Cone advocates violent overthrow of "white establishments" while claiming that Christianity is a "white man's religion." CNN – why do you continue to report one deluded man's ramblings as a "belief" and even more so, why is this front page news? Isn't the floundering economy, an unemployment rate above 8%, wars in the Middle East, high gas prices, etc more important? I know it doesn't make Obama look good, but it's the news – deal with it.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  11. Jerome

    Black on Black killings have put the KKK and lynching out of business. Keep giving blacks guns and they will take care of themselves.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • perennial2

      The irony is the "segregated south" front page cutline, with an inside Indiana lynching snap. After the Civil War when blacks moved out of the south, the north and midwest became just as intolerant of blacks. *Still is.*

      April 22, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  12. alyarby

    Here we have it, from the most trusted name in....in....dog doo, to be honest. C'mon, CNN, take down this absolutely horrid piece of racial fire-fanning and try NEWS for a change. That would be something different, wouldn't it?

    April 22, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  13. Name

    @mark ducharme
    I concur.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  14. sweet georgia peach

    All I can say is look at arrest records ...look in prisons...read the news papers...that will tell you there is more black on black crime,,,I read about it or see it on the news every day....I'm from the south and I don't like it one bit when some black man or some white man tries to make me feel guilty about something that happened in the past that I had no control over...I treat everyone with respect..but I also expect everyone to respect me...if you disrespect me ...you will get 'God bless you're. Will not stoop to your level if you disrespect me. Also...we are AMERICANS...nothing more nothing less...when you start say or thinking of you self as African American, Asian American,Hispanic American...whichever....you are the one seperating your self....

    April 22, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • sweet georgia peach

      Sorry about the typos.....

      April 22, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • NNx592QA

      Yes, there is a lot of black-on-black crime. But black-on-black crime and a higher rate of black crime in general essentially has roots in social disadvantage caused by whites that goes all the way from the days of slavery until today. To disregard that would be ignorant and unfair. The high rate of crime amongst blacks does not mean the black people is more crime-prone; it simply means they are not given equal status in the society. Having a black president doesn't change that fact.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Troy Sr

      That ideal is part of the big problem, we want to act as if we all are equal and we'er not. We come from different parts of the world, we come in all shapes and sizes, some born with money and some without. However, our differences are what make us special. Acting as if we're the same means we set expectation as to how we should speak, laugh, grow, understand etc... So yes we do need to treat each other with respect. The Jews will never relive the Holocaust because they will never let the world forget it. Sometimes it's hard to look at what your ancestors did, but it's part your history and although I'm not bitter it's a part of my history that I do not plan to forget.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Alexis

      I too am a white female who has lived in Georgia all of her life and racism is rampant here. It May not be as overt as dragging an innocent person from their home but is nearly as sinister because white people sometimes refuse to acknowledge its existence because it is so ugly and close to home. Look, don't listen to me or any preacher or news caster – go right now and do two things: find out the racial break down of your city or town, % of whites, % African American % Hispanic, etc. then go look for the websites that posts pictures of people who just got arrested and see if that percentage matches. If you don't go do this simple thing, then you will know In your heart that you don't really believe what you say – and that is between you and your Lord.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  15. Leonard

    I keep hearing white people complain about people of color blaming them for the sins of the past, as if time stopped some time in the past for lets say a year or two and then started again with 'new' whites, no, the bridge was never broken, its just another generation of people, just because Jim Crow is no longer here theoretically nothing has changed. If you people are so much against racism then everytime you here it expressed in the society, you come out against it where ever it expresses itself, like the industrial prison complex, the inferior educational system, preditory bank lending, stop & frisk laws. All these things are address with a timid apology but never stopped. It doesn't seem to mean anythings to the white society because it is not happening to them, if it were it would stop over night. Your complacency is your nod.

    Don't blame CNN, they only report it as it is, not as you see it. Their not the one's calling our president monkey's and his children chimp's and depicting him eating water melons and fried chicken on the white house lawn, thats racist, yet whites as a whole never condemned it.

    Religion is not the answer either as most of this racism was preached right off the pulpits. I hate to say it, but there will be a lot of innocent people getting hurt if this country does not come to grips with this problem, of course that begins within one's own heart and home. If the Jesus were alive and living in America, he'd be called a terrorist.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  16. Whome

    Keep stirring the pot.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • JP

      Totally agree. The South isn't this way anymore, and you find just as much racism in other parts of the country. Let it happen in the South however and it gets nationwide attention. As long as the media keeps bringing up the past and keeps stirring the pot, there will continue to be unrest. I think that for the most part you will find that we all get along quite nicely as long as there isn't some antagonist like the media needling us.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  17. Dennis

    Keep the racial anger going CNN..Be sure to do it on the "Belief" page,which is usually about not believing. You have a very obvious agenda.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  18. mark ducharme

    is zimmerman next to even the score america?

    April 22, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Sue

      probably, but only because he ruined every chance to plead self defense by sayng in court "I did not know if he was armed or not"..... dumb idiot

      April 22, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  19. Y'all disgusting

    This is real racism, not the so called 'bigotry' the gays are crying about.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Variaballlistic

      You need to look up these words you're using, yall.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Fred Evil

      Nice example of BIGOTRY Y'all.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • across12

      As your screen name says, you are a really disgusting humanoid.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  20. glu

    White people are all devils and should all be wiped out.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • T Stevenson

      I'm black, and comments like these are not needed. Most white people are fair and honest. But some of the troll idiots in this blog are total jerks.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Al sharpton

      Then who would we be able to use the race card on? Seriouslyy think about the calamity that would ensue if only blacks were on earth...it would be united thug states...

      April 22, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • john

      Glu – Sounds like you are quite the racisit. How's that working out for you? I'm guessing you life sucks and since you are the master of your own destiny, you can't blame yourself, so blame the white man and everyone and everything else for your failures in life.. I've met more racist of color than white. So you fools playing the race card – remember that it goes both ways. CNN way to go...no news that divides the nation ...you always seem to create some. For all you racist of other color...for the past three generation, you have not been a slave, no one owned you (except the democratic party), you made your own choices in life. stop blaming others. If you want to smoke crack and kill people of your own race...It is a choice YOU make. No one else. If others want to sit and watch and blame everyone else...It's their choice.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
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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.