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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. Scott

    Bearden is a town I saw more than the lumber mill. I preached in back in 1980's where the white preacher wouldn't let us go on the other side of the tracks (literally) b/c his church was white and it wouldn't go well with his prejudiced congregation. I can see where a place could incite someone to hate against the hate. The problem is Cone has created a theology based on his emotional state not the truth of the Word. God would best be known as having no color at all since He is a Spirit and doesn't have epidermis let alone pigment! Jesus was a Jew. Show me their complexion and that's what He looked like. Any professor upset about the trauma of lynching is kidding himself to think otherwise. I'm sure Jeremiah Wright love this. Simple case of letting one's life experience predetermine one's theology. And yes its about eternal life not just a temporal freedom from oppression. What a weak gospel that would be. And Mr. Cone blacks aren't the only enslaved of history. You are too narrowly focused on American 18th -20th century and forgetting how whites, and all races were enslaved by one more powerful economic master throughout man's time. You're a bit shortsighted sir to think its just a black only thing. There's plenty of slavery in Asia right now but its not done by the media empowered Americans so not so important to the rest of the world and Mr. Cone. "Red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the children of the world."

    April 23, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • mother73

      amen!

      April 23, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Equal Rights War NOW!!!

      Yet it was YOUR religion that did this thing. YOUR religion that says it's okay to beat a slave to death.
      YOUR religion that is a racist religion with racist roots and racism oh-so-easily expressed.

      And what church is among the loudest and most immoral? What church is the one that all those KKK were members of?
      The Southern Baptists. Racist to the core because the Bible clearly supports vicious slavery.
      And they want more "religious freedom" and make big noises pretending they are being persecuted as they enact more Jim Crow-type laws to remove voting rights from as many poor people as possible.

      They want religious "freedom" to commit crimes. They want slavery to come back. Lynchings are very pleasing to the KKK and all the little racists who hang out on the Stormfront website.
      By removing voting rights from the poor, only the rich racists are needed to vote a bad law onto the books.

      It was YOUR religion that did these lynchings. YOUR bible that gives these people the green light to be racists.
      Jesus was a racist. It's all right there in every Bible.

      YOUR religion should pay for these crimes. OT and NT. Judaism is racist.
      IT'S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE.
      There's no difference between racist "Jews", racist "white supremacists", racist KKK, racist Baptists, or any racist Christian. You all support and believe in at least one sort of ethnic group being a "race" that is above all others, a "race" CHOSEN by your "god" in YOUR BIBLE.

      RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE! YOUR RELIGION SHOULD PAY THE PRICE FOR THIS EVIL!!!

      April 23, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  2. Einzart

    People cutting off ears as souvenirs?? This is indeed disgusting to say the least. This makes me angry more than anything. But I have a few words of Cone. Those times are very different than today. That period was not just marked by Slavery & lynch mobs, but also blacks selling other blacks as slaves, a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of whites. The times today are different. We have laws and the world has become more connected. We do not tolerate those things that were done in the past. BUT, I want to know what it is that we can do to move forward because we can all spend the rest of our lives in anger and it won't affect the past but will definitely affect the future. I want to see more discussion on where we are falling short today and what we can do about it rather be stuck in the past.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Aces Full Mike

      Isn't this the Black Liberation Theology guy that espouses the filth that Jeremiah Wright preached to Obama for 20 years?

      April 23, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  3. b4bigbang

    "Swarm" of earthquakes detected in the Pacific Northwest.
    Jesus predicted these things as a sign of the end times – it's in the Gospels!

    April 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • A Moron by many other names is still just sayin

      And Jesus is wrong again, just like all the other clusters of earthquakes that occured over the last 2000 years that wasn't the end of times either. He was wrong about the arrival of the Kingdom of God in the lifetimes of some of his audience, so what do you really expect about morons like b4thinking interpreting it to mean now.

      Hey just banging! It's called plate tectonics, you bloody idiot!

      April 23, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Jesus' AMAZING PROPHECIES!!!!!!!! Nobody else could have predicted these!

      Who but Jesus, the incarnate avatar of God, could have possibly predicted wars and rumors of wars? Wow, what an amazing prediction that NOBODY could have predicted!

      "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Yes, that hasn't happened continuously since before recorded history or anything! What an amazing prediciton!

      "There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." How could Jesus have known that if he wasn't the true Son of God!

      War. Famine, Earthquakes. No, those haven't happened continuously since long before Jesus or anything. But all those other times were fake – b4justsayin has SPECIAL INSIGHT that these are the real ones, and the ones that happened every year since before Jesus were fakes.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  4. DHumeSaves

    Theologians proclaim arguments that are nonsense, but are seen as logical points by their followers who are hungry for any reason to keep believing. After all, the first premise in many Christian minds is their religion is true. And anything that is unexplainable equates to the existence of God, that Jesus is God, that Jesus resurrected, that there is a Hell for non-Christians, and all these ideas correspond with each other.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  5. Mr.Scott

    One thing about slavery that seems to mostly get left out: The blacks in Africa helped the white man in capturing and enslaving their fellow blacks. Didn't matter if women or kids were involved. Also the U.S. NAVY sent ships, consisting of 99% white men, head off slave ships and free those crammed in those ships.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  6. Justsayen27

    While America will never forget about the 86 years (FACT: America becomes it's own independant country on July 4th, 1776 with it's own laws govening the slave trade and slavery offically ends June 19, 1862) it took part in buying black salves from black Africans in Africa. But will blacks in America ever forgive their own black country men selling their own black country men to rich europeans. If the blacks in Africa never offered thier own people as a sellable item as work slaves, then slavery of blacks would never exsit...Why do you hate whites for buying and not your own people for selling???
    I live in the north east and Im always hearing how the Egyptians were blacks because Egypt is part of the African continent and they were all powerful...well if that's true, the Egyptians enslaved the Jews for over 800 years.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Ethan Hawley

      Yeah, because African Americans were given the real right to vote, almost, what, 50 years ago. As soon as slavery officially ended they had all the rights of whites. Give or take a few of the essentials. And did you not catch the section about lynching?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Faithful

      If there were no BUYERS there would have been no sellers. Supply and demand, right?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Justsayen27

      Faithful
      It doesn't change the fact that they made a conscious choice of thier own free will without any one forcing them to sell their own people. And YES..in your own words.1. Supply and 2. Demand...not demand (looking for slaves and telling the black africans to sell their own people) and supply (black africans agreeing and then selling thier own people).

      April 23, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Justsayen27

      Ethan Hawley
      Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States
      It's about the largest mass lynching in American history...and guess what, it wasn't blacks...it was Italians! It also speaks of continued mass violence and hangings of Italians in the south...difference is...the got over it...stopped crying and became productive Americans instead of using it for gain!

      April 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Shawn L

      Black men were given the right to vote in 1865, before white women.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Sphardum Noomspha

      Justsayen27, there's waaaay too many "citations needed" on that wikipedia article.

      Not saying it's all hogwash, I'm just saying there's too damn many of those things in the article.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  7. Ethan Hawley

    Word to the wise: Jonathon Walton is a womanizing mysoginist. Fact.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  8. daniel

    BLA....BLA...BLA

    April 23, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  9. ssachida

    wow, We have come a long way in the last 70 yrs with Obama as president.

    No wonder, the conservatives still cannot digest a black man as their leader.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Mr.Scott

      I am a conservative and I have no problem with a black man being the president. However Obama is the wrong man, at the wrong time. Worse than slick willie. A smooth talker but no street sense. I have little doubt that he was guided, tailored if you will, to become president with people behind him pulling his strings as he couldn't do it alone.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Faithful

      Mr Scott – I couldn't have said it better myself. Good post.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Imager24

      We have no president, I don't accept Obama

      April 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Sphardum Noomspha

      Imager24, nobody's asking you to worship the man. He's the President. If you are a terrorist, he is the only one who can sign your death warrant and have you killed if you are an enemy of the USA.
      You sound like one. You are in denial about reality. Why don't you go swap racist jokes with your redneck buddies over a bunch of cheap beer? That sounds like more your speed.

      And why don't you go back to the stormfront website and stay there. We don't need your racist a&& here or anywhere in the USA.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  10. Aaron

    What about gays? I feel that the black church today should really stand up for them on the basis of what he is saying.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Peter Des

      the one thing all religions, all people of all races and creeds can agree is hating on the gays. that's the one common denominator they all have.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  11. Mike L

    Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 1 John 3:15
    If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. ! John 4:20
    Whoever does not love does not know god, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
    Since God is love, one of the distinguishing marks of a child of God-A true believer is love for the brethren.
    Jesus warned of false believers among the true. A false believer in Jesus Christ is one who "Professes" to believe in Jesus Christ-To love God when in fact they don't at all as evidenced in their actions. A profession of faith in Jesus Christ is worthless if there are no actions to back up the claim. A true believer in Jesus Christ loves God AND his neighbor.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Faithful

      More often than not it's a case of love the sinner – hate the sin. I don't think many people use the words "I hate gays" Too many people on these posts accuse others of hate just because they have an opposing opinion. Hate is a horrible word and should never be mentioned casually. Ever!

      April 23, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Sphardum Noomspha

      They did not consider black people to be human, or "neighbors" or "brothers", so all your silly quotes mean nothing.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Mike L

      This is the condition of humanity:
      All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Romans 3:23
      The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked...Jeremiah 17:9
      Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder.......Matthew 15:19
      This is why Jesus said we-(All of humanity) must be born again-We need a change on the inside. John 3:3
      In God's eyes, there is no white church, black church, Etc. rather, those who commit themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ/Become born again, are all one in Christ. Galatians 3:28 In other words, God sees the "Church" as one.
      The way that faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated is by loving God and by loving one's neighbor. A profession faith is verified as genuine when one is loving God and showing compassion, forgiveness/reconciliation, grace and mercy toward one's neighbor. Jesus has so connected Himself to humanity that when one is serving his or her neighbor, he or she is in effect serving Jesus. Jesus said, "Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you do it for me". Matthew 25:40
      This is how and why Mother Teresa gave her life for the serving of the poor and needy.
      God does not show favoritism..Acts10:34 He loves us all the same, equally. All of humanity was created in his image. In fact, God loves us so much and He demonstrated His love for us in His actions by the sending of Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for out sin over two thousand years ago. What He requires of us is that we Confess the name of His son, Jesus, as Lord and believe in our heart's that He raised His son from the dead so we may be saved. Romans 10:9
      Blessings

      April 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  12. c

    It is heart wrenching to view those poor souls hanging from the tree as the crowd stands there, some laughing....it is shocking and stone cold cruel and evil....America has such a cruel tormented past....and present....what other nation in the world invades, attacks and occupies nations that have never attacked us? Only the United States....therefore, the leaders of our nation who easily send our soldiers off to war are still killing indiscriminately people with different skin colors...and of different theological beliefs systems....Muslims and the Arabic people of the world suffer under our neo colonialism and Empire....Black, White, Hispanic, Asian religious leaders....all creeds and color leading our churches should speak out against this oppression our nation causes....only they are silent...not one pastor or priest do I hear condemning the wars the USA wages....Martin Luther King was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, which is one reason our government murdered him. ...nonetheless, there is not outcry against the wars in the middle east because they are wars against Muslims, and Christians have no problem with that.....it makes me sick, just as these photos make me sick, the evil that human beings are capable of in the name of racism, in the name of religion. IF GOD DOES INDEED EXIST, THEN GOD SEES NO COLOR OR RELIGION. GOD IS LOVE TO ALL HUMAN BEINGS. Man invented religion, not GOD. Man created boundaries, hatred and racism, not GOD. Humankind is so brainwashed which is why blacks were persecuted, which is why we wage war. OPEN your eyes.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  13. Dedicated_Dad

    5,000?

    BULL$#!+.

    And he leaves out the fact that white people got lynched too, not to mention the fact that it was Southern **DEMOCRATS** that comprised the Klan and the lynch-mobs.

    The REALITY is that in America today, young black men kill more of each other than the Klan did in 100 years.

    Then we have one Jorge Zimmerman... A bunch of Southern Democrats want to lynch a non-white man for defending himself... Why does that sound so FAMILIAR??!!

    Sarcasm aside, the only difference between that mob and the one in the pics above is that the current one is demanding the FL.gov do the lynching FOR them.

    In closing, I just need to THANK CNN for doing their part to crank up the racial tensions just a little bit more – surely that's EXACTLY what America needs right about now...

    (Note for the slow-kids: The aforegoing is known as "Sarcasm." If you don't get it, ask somebody to help you look it up...)

    April 23, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Peter Des

      you do realize that Democrats were the conservatives. It wasn't until FDR was elected that the switch happened, that Republicans became conservative and democrats became liberal/progressive.

      get your facts straight before you start spewing your ignorant rhetoric.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  14. Bob

    1930: lynchings 2012: Creationism in science classrooms

    I suppose that's improvement.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  15. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  16. John-117

    Why don't these racist rednecks realize that every stupid racist thing they do just validates hateful anti-white racists.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  17. BigRed

    There are three unforgivable stains that America can never come to grips with, because they are so horrible and always shall be. These are; the perpetuation of slavery, the genocide of native Americans, and Jim Crow racism that resulted in years of lynching. Any and all Americans will always bear that stain of shame.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      There is another one, that is a dark spot on America's conscience.... allowing the people who are hurting and in need of care to go without it. Many are dying before their time, because of cruelty imposed on people by the powerful, greedy beasts who are leaching those who are hurting and in need for their gain. There are many forms of slavery..... I have to say, this country has a heavy spirit of slavery looming over it, it only took up a different form.....
      But so long we are as nation racially divided, we're not going to overcome this monster in midst of us, that's leaching the life-blood out of us!

      April 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Shay

      Don't forget the "witches".

      April 23, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Faithful

      There's also the disgusting and immoral forced sterilization of black people.One of the worst perpetrators was Margaret Sanger – one of the founders of the American Birth Control Council aka Planned Parenthood.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Urafkntool

      Actually, bigred, you're wrong. The three stains are multiculturalism, desegregation, and white geNOcide.

      April 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  18. ron

    just another angry man with needing a soap box to be heard..whether he is white, black, asian. We do not need any more anger.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • BigRed

      Ted Nugent rants and the right defends his right to free speech. Yet when someone not from the right tells their story they are branded as angry men in need of a soap box. Perhaps this is the unique message that we should take away from this. Only the right wants to be heard. No one else need say a thing in their closed world.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • paulm5545

      Big Red -“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.” HE "branded" himself, so your Nugent argument falls flat.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  19. citizenn

    White liberals are racists who like to believe that non-whites need to be rescued. The obvious implication is that white liberals think that black people can not take care of themselves. Black activists like Jesse Jackson are willing to go along with this, because they can make money on the deal.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • John-117

      @citizenn Amen to that!

      April 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • BigRed

      Wow that is a seriously flawed generalization and a window into a bigots mind.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • pat carr

      I'm white but a centrist. Not all liberals are like that. Get real. Everytime i hear "all" i discount the rest of it. It's an adolescent mentality

      April 23, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  20. Sydney

    I always wonder why most blacks vote democratic when the democrats are their worst enemies and the conservatives want real freedom. Just listen to Jessie Jackson and other leaders from the black community keep black folks under their spell of weakness and wanting them to depend on their leadership to solve all the racial problems. Won't work since blacks are equal with whites and need not be put down by Jessie and other black leaders. Listen to Bill cosby for the real solution !!!!!!!! Vote Republican for real freedom since the Dems. have not solved anything thru the years as leaders of their people. They like the down trodden so folks will depend on them, then they can dictate who to vote for and how to live.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • edwardo

      Nice try! Repubs want to keep blacks in poverty. Repubs vote for the interest of the rich. Most black people are poor. You are a baphoon.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Shecodes

      The answer is obvious: the Republican welcomes unrepentant racists - just take a read of the average 'conservative' reader's posts - I have read the most shameful rants and insults against black people that it would make your head spin. There is no chance to attract blacks until the GOP leadership renounces it and stamps it out.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Larry L

      Not all Republicans are racists. Most racists are Republicans. To believe otherwise is delusional.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • BigRed

      Yeah, nice try. Using the incredible revisionist approaches is a Republican specialty. It is clear that lynching was a right wing conservative tool to terrorize minorities. It was a right wing conservative minority that started the Civil War. It was a right wing conservative minority that perpetuated slavery. In almost every instance of the brutalizing of innocents you see right wing conservatism at work. No one is fooled by anyone who lies so frequently that nothing they say is taken seriously.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • BigRed

      Wasn't the KKK a conservative social club? After all isn't that how you'd like to describe it?

      April 22, 2012 at 11:45 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.