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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. wow

    the racism on both sides is amazing......and also all the debate about slavery and the Bible. Here's my take on it from a completely Biblical standpoint: Yes, the Bible does seem to condone slavery (although the Bible had a very different idea of what slavery was than anglo americans did), but the Bible does not condone racism. American slavery had a basis in racism. Therefor slavery in America was wrong.
    My take on it from my standpoint: slavery is wrong and I have no idea why people would argue that it's a good idea.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • lol

      lol just lol. the Bible's the most racist book imaginable........

      April 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • d

      I agree with you completely. In the bible slaves did not own there own home but had a salary. Slaves could lend money to other people. A slave in the bible was anyone that was not self employed or rented their living conditions. The bible goes as far as to say if anyone owes another you are a slave that is why usury is a sin in the bible, because you should not enslave your brother. Slavery in the bible is the same as employee today.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Sphardum Noomspha

      That's total bs.
      The slavery in the OT was not "employment" like we see today. It was very harsh and violent slavery.
      There's even passages in the OT that say it's okay to beat your slaves to death.

      If you think that is "employment" then you need to go to work, pronto, and get beaten to death. Liar.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  2. trollol

    I couldn't finish reading the article. It was just too boring. ZZZ

    April 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  3. Professor Griff

    Yo I aint milk toast!!

    April 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  4. Peikovianyi

    It's too bad that most of you are mystics, because that is the problem in both religion and politics.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  5. Anita Brooks

    Slavery a sin, which hurt many, blacks,jews and so thankful for the CROSS of CALVARY where "REAL" Freedom and Forgiveness Begins. Yes, the Ango American Church, even today has overlooked this sinful core which has given a bad relfection to Christianity. Still today, the church of the living and true God is still segregated. Yes many Black Americans attend and serve at predominately Anglo American Pastored/leadership churchs, but the percentage is way down on Black Americans that have a real leadership role in those congregations. The same low percentage when it comes to Anglo-Americans who are serve under the leadership and attend of a congregation pastored by a Black American. I know, I live in such an area and for 7 years now, we will have whites come in and endure the Sunday worship and never return and in fact, turn their head if you pass them on the street. There was NOTHING wrong with the teaching/preaching from this particular Black Pastor and noting wrong with the music, in fact, this congregation sings a well balance mixutre of praise and worship music. But there is something wrong with the heart, the Bible says, it is deceitfully wicked....I genuinely LOVE my Anglo American brothers and sisters, just pray one day we can get it together because we have an onlooking lost world that is seeing us divided and Jesus says, a house divided cannot stand. Wake up Christians, someone is watching you...

    April 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  6. Trev

    Imagine how much better race relations would be in America today if whites hadn't terrorized all of the smartest, most ambitious and productive blacks between Reconstruction and the post civil rights era? (think Black Wall Street and the unnecessary trials and tribulations faced by almost every single high-achieving black person before 1970 because of the racist envy of white America).

    What's the point of trying to achieve in a country that will punish you severely for accomplishing anything worthwhile? Want to be a doctor? well we'll do our best to prevent you from being successful by placing superficial obstacles in your way and maybe even a death threat or two. Want to run a successful business? Well we'll do our best to deny you the access to licenses, information and resources that will enable your business to grow and prosper. Oh yeah we might just burn your business down too for good measure. Want to be a baseball player? Well we'll make sure you have to endure 24 hour harrasment and death threats Mr Jackie Robinson. There are thousands upon thousands of these situations that occured in Amerikka's History.

    Maybe if white america could have found a way to encourage, love, and support promising Black citizens instead of terrorizing them, we would have a better country today and a much more productive Black citizenry. think about it.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Thats Correct, Except...

      >>> think Black Wall Street and the unnecessary trials and tribulations faced by almost every single high-achieving black person before 1970 because of the racist envy of white America <<<

      And how exactly is it any different today? What changed after 1970? Nothing at all!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Thats Correct, Except...

      ... And getting worse by the day!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • IceT

      Absolutely true. Same goes for all other races who at any time in history were oppressed, killed and held back. One more thing to think about is .... what if not only did we miss out on a Mozart but what if we missed another Hitler? Think about that too!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Trev

      Things are a slightly different today. For over 200 years Black brillance, creativity and ambition was rewarded with violence, hatred and terrorism from white America. That is a pure form of psychological evil that resulted in the apathy and hatred that many (but not all) Black Americans hold in their hearts. Those horrific moments of inequality experienced by the parents, grand-parents, and great-grandparents of African Americans have been passed down through the generations and are now a permanent part of the Black narrative.
      The new trick is drug laws and mass incarceration that results in second class citizen status for huge numbers of non-violent (and often times very intelligent and enterprising) young black males. Convicted felons can be treated similar to blacks in the Jim Crow south in that they can be legally discriminated against in the job market, the housing market, the education system, and the voting system. But that's another story.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tracy

      Things are different, today. Unfortunately the system still needs a big overhaul. It will come. Our kids are much more open then we were in a lot of ways.... The World wide web has made them broader minded...Online video games have allowed friendships to happen in wildly different cultures and economic strata. DOn't discount the kids. They are still our future & they don't share all our hangups.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • MUST SPEAK UP

      "The new trick is drug laws and mass incarceration that results in second class citizen status for huge numbers of non-violent (and often times very intelligent and enterprising) young black males."
      This is just an excerpt from your shallow, ranting post(s)
      But the truth is that if young black males had some more worthwhile things on their minds then drugs, se-x and trying to live up to their desired image of "BBB" (big, bad and black),they would not be in trouble with the law and incarcerated. The truth is, many take pride in being the way they are.
      In many ways the black people in old times were much better off then today, at least they did not live like animals. Their oppressors were the guilty ones, and they have to deal with their Maker. But today, with exception of moderate number of those who don't join the norm, the black american culture has taken their followers right back into slavery! And that's a fact!
      The liberation

      April 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Sphardum Noomspha

      No, Trev is right. There are many laws being cranked out that have nothing to do with crime but only about oppressing the poor.

      It is the conservative bigots who push these laws through. They are seeking another bunch of Jim Crow laws and now they have them and they work just like they did in the old days.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  7. Jeff Lucas

    want to know what Christians think about pot law reform?
    go to bible dot org, the worlds largest bible study website, and look for the conversation about Pat Robertson's comments

    April 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  8. Peikovianyi

    Psychopaths will use theology as one more way to victimize their fellow man. No reason to excuse or romanticize religion. The world is real, we are complete and able to understand it, we are obligated by our reason to co-operate with our fellow man for our own survival. That is ethical behavior. Racism is insane.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  9. Maya

    These black pastors are filthy hypocrites. They follow a religion which follows a holy scripture which condones slavery. Black slaves were converted to Christianity by their white captors in order so that they would "know their place" as ordained by God, under white people. They used Christianity to make them forget their heritage and make them more docile. There is one thing you black Christians cannot change, no matter how much you may choose to ignore it: the only reason you were ever introduced to Christianity was because your ancestors were conquered and enslaved. Every time you pray to Jesus, you obey the racists who "owned" your ancestors. Shame on you.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Anita Brooks

      No, it pointed us to the Savior of the world, the only one who can and does forgive of our sins. It's the evilness of wicked men that caused all the rest. Thank God for slavery did open the door for us to know that we could have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. The rest, blame on evil sinful man...and trust me, God's revenge won't and isn't sweet.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • dmac

      Your post is simply not valid to me because like the early life of Mr. Cone, your conclusions appear to come the singular prism of race and as such, you are too busy pointing out the racial aspects to appreciate the message.........

      April 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Mark

      The bible was used more than any other book, to justify slavers.

      Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

      Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men

      These are just a few of the evil versus found in the bible, and some of the reason I'm glad I'm not a Christian.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Anita
      Thank you for speaking the truth, dear sister. Yes, you are my sister, our skin is different in colour, but our hearts are one in Christ! The world can not understand , they are stumbling in darkness.
      Man will never solve his own problems, because his problem is in his fallen nature, and his heart that loves the darkness rather then light. Jesus spoke those words, just few verses after John 3:16, but are shunned and avoided even by many Christians, becaue it shows us our real con'di'tion without Christ. But unless we face it, and turn to Him, we will never be healed!

      April 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      It's Groundhog Day!

      April 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      Its groundhog season duck into your own hole cs. God bless

      April 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Lilith

      I pray to thee o lord God, "Please stop HeavenSent from continuing to spam us with this mind numbing jibberish." Amen.
      ...
      I prayed for this before but oh well, I tried. But it at least proved prayer doesn't work.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Lilith

      OMG .. I post & there's HeavenSent's evil alter ego Just Sayin' .. what a coincidence.
      Folks, those two are who you can thank for this continuous spamming!

      April 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Akira

      What is your scientific basis for that?

      April 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Lilith

      Akira ... see intercessory prayer studies or the Templeton foundation prayer study. All have failed under strict scientific scrutiny. The Templeton foundation (a religious foundation) trying to prove prayer works with millions of $'s in funding actually found that people knowing they were being prayed for had higher rates of post operative complications. That's how prayer "works".

      April 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Religious Sects

      Prayer is an insult to God. It asumes God doesn't know what to do and needs your help figuring it out.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  11. Adam

    If you revile the thought of slavery, then you must revile the content of the Bible. To acknowledge the immorality of slavery, but retain the dogma that the Bible is the true word of the Creator of the Universe–one whose approval is to be sought–is to commit a convenient, selfish, and cowardly act of intellectual dishonesty.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • &^%$#@!

      "when they have no mythology to live their lives by, they just start spewing a bunch of crap out of their mouths."

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=poop%20out%20your%20mouth

      April 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Lilith

      There you are Adam. How've you been? How's that fruit eater Eve been treating you? Sorry to hear you've been evicted from our garden. Shouldn't have treated me as subservient.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Adam

      Who ARE you, Lilith? And what is your point?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Lilith

      Lilith was the biblical Adams first wife. She was not subservient to her man and was expelled from the garden by God. She was left out when the bible was reconfigured. This is from Jewish lore and is little known in christian teachings.
      Point is just to bring awareness of biblical fallacy, just for fun, sorry Adam.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  12. &^%$#@!

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    content of character... bueller...bueller?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • historygeek5

      He also said: Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America. Where does that leave us today?

      April 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  13. JUGGERNAUT

    I DO NOT FOLLOW CHRISTIANITY = it is a religion that said blacks were inferior to whites.

    I DO NOT CELEBRATE THE USA INDEPENDENCE DAY = only whites got their independence then, blacks were still enslave.

    I DO NOT CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING = a dumb holiday, thanksgiving was just a time when the whites tricked the Indians into a feast making them think that they are friends.

    the day the CIVIL RIGHT ACT was signed = the only day i celebrate in the USA

    April 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • JT

      Do you celebrate the entire month of February?

      April 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Robert

      Wow, you must be a lot if fun around holidays. I'm sure we can add Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. And while you're at it. Veterans and Memorial Day too. So much negativity, Juggernaut. I know a lot of black people while unhappy with their country's history, still would not move anywhere else....

      April 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @Robert

      how can i move anywhere else??? I was born here, my family is here and i work here.

      what a dumb comment.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • dmac

      Who too your cookie and made you soo angry??

      April 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • dmac

      Juggernaut......thanks for the insigt, that was really helpful!

      April 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  14. AGuest9

    A group of folks gathered around a man bleeding on the sidewalk, barely conscious, calling him "cra.cker" isn't racist, though, is it?

    April 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  15. &^%$#@!

    Are blacks empowered by rap?
    thug-life?
    baby-momma procreation?
    avoiding subservient dirty jobs?
    lynching awareness?
    using crappy English?

    This cycle at least produces more voters. Look on the bright side. They’ll all vote democrat.
    🙂

    April 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Belinda

      Cone, should take some small comfort that my parent's in the fifties, were so disgusted by people like you, that they never once said a single negative thing, about African Americans , who lived next door. The Cooks, hardworking , their children went to A&M, they were wonderful neighbors. I am so proud to have been raised by parents , that were so heartbroken over lynching that they decided to raise their children in a truly Christian way.

      April 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"They’ll all vote democrat."

      Sure, there have never been anything such as Black Republicans?

      April 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • redball

      um what's your point here?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      O, gee – yet another sad, impotent 'armchair warrior'. No life experience, no guts; only fear and insecure need for attention (and looks for it at CNN? That is truly sad...)

      April 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  16. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    The mindfields of all the brainyards past and present to ever onwardness are as churning linkages in transitional entourages of hopefulness's dreamt visionings! As the clusters of synicisms' rancidness is shouldered and distanced, the eyes of tomorrows will ever be the timely beggards and braggards lisfulness decrees! Challengers of youths' stewardships will one night or day become as a settlements' vicariousness in the summertime moments! Treat well thereupon the closeted prayers of sanctimonies' revealing assundered moments, while ever pushing the waywardedness dreamalities' debonaires!

    April 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  17. mikstov33

    Why doesn't CNN post pictures of and have a story on all the Union soldiers who fought their own brothers in some cases for slavery and bigotry to end?And died horribly on the battlefield? These gave their life for a just cause only to see it go for naught,because the racism grew stronger after the war than before.And what about the black soldiers who fought the same battle alongside the whites?The KKK started as a kneejerk reaction amongst the slaveowners fearful of the backlash that may have come as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation.Jim Crow was its sidekick.Religious zealotry played as much a role in the lynchings as real crimes, often because some felt superior to others.Honest Abe did not have all this in mind.

    April 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      Why this typical reaction to always ask "What about X? Why don't they talk about Y". It's a strange thing to focus on in response to a single article that doesn't seem that controversial – "Lynching is Terrible" – where is the problem with that?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  18. JUGGERNAUT

    I DO NOT FOLLOW CHRISTIANITY = it is a religion that said blacks were inferior to whites.

    I DO NOT CELEBRATE THE USA INDEPENDENCE DAY = only whites gt their independence then, blacks were still enslave.

    I DO NOT CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING = a dumb holiday, thanksgiving was just a time when the whites tricked the Indians into a feast making them think that they are friends.

    the day the CIVIL RIGHT ACT was signed = the only day i celebrate in the USA

    April 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You're confusing man made religion practices with Jesus' truth written in His letter address to all of us, the Bible. God made all the races on the 6th day and said it was good.

      Amen.

      April 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”it is a religion that said blacks were inferior to whites.”

      Hmm...said is past tense...

      >>>”the day the CIVIL RIGHT ACT was signed = the only day i celebrate in the USA”

      So with the history of how parts of American history treatment of African Americans why is USA not held to your same past tense standard?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      Yes, thank you – we are all enthralled to, yet again, hear you describe what you do, what you do not do and every other detail you feel necessary to reveal about yourself.

      It is an interesting response to this article; can't say I understand it, but I can give you my list if that would be good?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  19. jamest297

    Everyone needs to give this story a rest. Get yourselves over to Yahoo! and read the story about Britney Spears $20,000 bra. It's amazing –

    April 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  20. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    The sometimes shallowed avenues of reasonabilities may never be awakened by tidal clockworks' beckonings! The assuring flow rates of contingencies' frontiers will ever awaken the mindfields' passing glares! Yet still and unmoving are the ailments' followers and their petting conditions! Friendly gestures will ever whisper the needy ever onwards and to the gentleness flowing! While the everness is always in motions, the never viewed consortiums of challenged justices may well even the rate's flowing! Challenge therefore and ever do make renditions one's cases for the entwining embers' logistics!

    April 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Codswallop.

      April 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
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About this blog

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.