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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. sortakinda

    Now let me see...how can I change what happened in the past? Oh, I can't. But I can sure rile up a whole lot of people who weren't even born then, Blacks and Whites alike! Anyone going to pay money for this?

    April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • GodPot

      How long ago was Jesus hung up and killed? How many of you were alive when that happened? Now how many of you have pictures, icons, neclaces and shrines that show him hanging there on the cross as if it was just yesterday? How long should mankind remember that murder? How many people have been "riled" up by his account?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  2. josh rogen

    two wrongs don't make a right...

    April 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  3. GodPot

    I would just like all the people on these boards who seem to think we've seen to much of this, that we shouldn't be such apologists, that this was some dark part of our past but has nothing to do with today, I would like you to think about how you would feel if that was YOUR ancestor hanging in that tree, if it were YOUR children targeted for killing based solely on the color of their skin. Now ask yourself, has enough been done to forward racial inequality and truly make amends for some abhorant behavior? Can you truly say we now live in an unbiased representative democracy that works the same for ALL it's citizens? If you believe that I have some fertile land to sell you on Mars...

    April 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • josh rogen

      I wouldn't walk around with a big chip on my shoulder daring any non same race person to knock it off.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • babykitty

      It isn't fair for all. For example, affirmative action, which is completely unfair toward some groups while benefiting others. If you think that we should all hold an entire people responsible for what might or might not have happened to our ancestors, we will have a never ending race war of ALL races. What happened to not judging a person by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character? Goes right out the window for certain people.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • GodPot

      It's not about holding any race "responsible". Until every American can look at that photo and say "That is me in that tree" we will never be past this ugly part of our history. If you are unable to do that and still feel some division between you and those men in the tree you will never be free of your racism.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • sortakinda

      If you're from Mars, how come what you say comes from uranus?

      April 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • GodPot

      I'm not from Mars, I just didn't think I'd be trying to explain racism to a 3rd grader...

      April 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  4. sortakinda

    CNN: Where HATRED FOUND A HOME. Keep those flames a-burning. Provide the forum for Haters of all stripes to spew. If you've got the time, we've got the bigots.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • glorydays

      CNN haters who are here constantly really make me laugh.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • GodPot

      White evangelical hearts: Where HATRED FOUND A HOME and will never just get up and leave on it's own accord, it needs to be evicted.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • sortakinda

      glorydays, you make me laugh, too.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • JoJohn

      It's not about 'riling' anyone up, it's about history people! Remember – those who don't LEARN from history, is doomed to repeat it! It seems that in today's world, we are well on our way to repeat the ways of the pass. Shame on all of us for letting that happen!

      April 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  5. camelspyder

    Those people in that 1930 pic would have been the Tea Party of that time. Only difference is they can't lynch anyone and they have to try speaking politically correct about other races. The inner feelings are still the same.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • jim

      Then what has been accomplished by "political correctness"?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  6. JamesT297

    It gets way tiresome to hear repeated and prolonged knee grow whining and complaining about how THE MAN is holding them back. From the 1960s to the present day, knee grows have had the upper hand vs. other minorities in the US by virtue of the familiarity with the US culture, the language and government programs specifically engineered for their benefit. And what have they done with all those advantages and tools? They have squandered them while the Mexicans have overtaken them in every measure of education attainment, economic progress, wealth creation, reduced crime, fewer unwed births and every other category you can measure. AND, the Mexicans haven't even done a very good job as the Asians and south Asians have blown right by them.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Chuck

    I wonder what's his response would be when someone says to him, "Whasss Uppp My Ni@@a"

    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • nathan

      lol..........I know dat right; just ax em....

      April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • nathan

      This is really kool pic; wow.........now i know where the term came from Whats up my nig%$@ !!!

      April 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • rhofwi

      Damn! Could you be a little more ignorant? Nope, didn't think so. People like you, make people like me sick to my stomach. You are a sad, little minded, twit.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Rev. Howard Davis

    This issue is not and never has been about black or white, it is a serious issue concerning the condition of the heart. No amount of legislation can change the heart. Today we are experiencing the results historical atrocities that took place in infancy of our nation. Generations of families continue to be affected by the wrongness that has been swept under a rug. The mindsets of the races are basically stuck in the past. They say this is a new day because we have a black president but this is also a day when our history all to often raises it's ugly head because we refuse to accept the realities of our past. As people of this great country we cannot do better until we face our selves and work together to embrace true reconciliation and brotherhood.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chuck

      There was a time when we hated fellow citizen because of their color and today we hate because of their religion.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  9. joe

    Well, at least all of the athiest and christians that are on this forum apparantly agree on one thing – their hatred of black people!

    Nothing brings a divergent beliefs together faster than a common hatred.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • babykitty

      I have read hatred of BOTH races on this comment thread. Biased much, aren't you?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • joe

      Two wrongs doesn't make you hatred of black people right!

      April 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • babykitty

      ? I don't hate black people.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Carl

      Could you indicate which of the atheists hates black people?

      April 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • joe

      @babykitty

      I have not seen a single post against white people so I am not sure where my bias is. But I have seen some very "biased" posts regarding black people. So I am confused by your reaction to my statement.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • joe

      @ carl – I knew it you are the only atheist using different names! Just joking.

      I miss the usual banter between Christians and atheists and I find it unusual that I don’t see many of the people normally on this forum speaking out against some of this hatred.

      Many of the people speak of being moral human beings, whether Christian or not, that’s all.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • babykitty

      joe, I guess you haven't read far enough down. There are several strings of comments about killing as many white children and white people as possible.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • bob

      Babykitty, once again two wrongs don’t make the whites right! (Well, it does make some whites lean more right … but I digress)

      You choose to defend the white people (thank you for trying to defend me! But I don’t need your help) but put down the black people as the ones who are incorrect for making 2 statements “further down” and use it as justification for the pages and pages of racist bigoted comments towards blacks???

      So you are not a racist – you just like to point out the “inequality” of whites in every post you make?

      April 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • babykitty

      Bob, I don't know what you are talking about. I am not defending you or white people, just trying to insert some much needed fact-checking and reality into comments that are rife with errors and hysterical about 'racism".

      April 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • bob

      babykitty, as viagra is to rush limbaugh your "facts & reality" only stand up so long before everyone sees the truth. – ditto head.

      April 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  10. GWillis

    Mr. Cone has every right to be angry about the past and to question the actions of then existing authorities. However, instead of rejoicing in the progress that has been made to make the past virtually unrecognizable in the present, he joins the current cultural poisen of victimization. Until the African American victim mentality is broken, African Americans will continue to watch other assimilated cultures fly by them in terms of economic prosperity.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  11. blahblahblah

    "many white Christians “spiritualize” the cross, seeing it as a penalty Jesus had to pay for mankind’s sins." Oh you mean the fundamental basis of the Gospel of Christianity? yeah, sorry about that...

    April 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  12. p

    Who is black who is white? Do you know,I come from a family of blacks which my grandfather was,my grandmother was a Mexican,with white skin and pretty green eyes. My aunts are married with black men. I feel as for any one we are not responsible for any action for what happened in the past. My skin is white,but I love all people i love my grandfather. He never showed us to be racial. He showed respect for everyone he was a great black man,just working to make ends meet.
    He told us we have lots of freedom he in the states. We just need to respect everyone. we all should do the same. Black white yellow brown dose it matter I think we all are of mixed colors. We need to stop blaming each other and take care of the real things that are happening in the states like the homeless,the people that need work,stop the war,feed the children we all matter. My grand children of this generation are of my grandfathers color black. So dose that make them black,does the white people owe them something. No because as the years go by the are the next generation and we need to stop this
    viloence towards each other. they need to have a better place and time as they grow up. We all breath the same air are hearts beat the same. we have to live together. Mothers need to teach there children not to be racist.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Anteco

      Good for you.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  13. Dyersburg

    He looks too much like George Jefferson to be taken seriously!

    April 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  14. 4frumAfrica

    if you are white, would you like your kids be killed by black or hispanic? whats wrong if black complains about whoever kill their kid? Stop killing kids, women and people. white, black, asian, hispanic and whatever ease on yourself. Stop this hatred. America is a good country with few useless people like you posting up here. You are hurting yourself. No matter what you say, I like white, black or anyone with good behavior.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Big George in Big D

      The blacks need to quit killing each other – there is where the majority of the killing is – within their own. I wish there was no killing, whatsoever, and I also wish racism would go away. Sadly, though, because of gentlemen like Mr. Cone, it remains an issue because he's still playing the 'victim' card. I didn't live in the horrible days of hangings, etc. and I thank God for that. It must have been horrible but as far as I know, I don't have a past family member that owned slaves. My people were poor dirt farmers and they did the work themselves. I do know that.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • 4frumAfrica

      Mr Cone needs to ease down as well. However, there is need to remember the past for the future to be good. There is still misjudgement against poor and women. This needs to stop. Mr Cone needs to stop the hate tone as well. His father was killed many years back. Talk about how to make a good future for everyone.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • urafkntool

      Actually George, the majority of the killing is black killing white. 85% of violent crime in America is committed by a supposedly 18% part of the population. See "The Color of Crime" for absolute truth and facts.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • 4frumAfrica

      so urafkntool you mean lynching was justifiable? this shouldnt be able race. white, black, asian,hispanic all kills. why not treat them as individual with bad behavior? people like you are problem of this society.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      Actually, 4Frum, I think that they should have been shipped back to Africa where you and they belong. I don't agree with lynching or violence at all. I will say, however, if blacks start a race war, I'll be happy to defend myself and my family.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  15. alienprophecy

    This is just a propaganda piece laid out to make Obama's reelection campaign just a little bit easier–an apologist piece for black liberation theology, which tries to make it out to seem like some cute, feisty little philosophy put out there by a puffed-up old man. I highly recommend people look it up themselves, because you can't rely on this network for any information that runs contrary to Obama's goals.

    Isn't it strange that this article never mentions that Rev. James "God-D-mn America!" Wright preaches black liberation theology? I guess it's because CNN has already foresaw that the attacks on Obama for his relationship to Wright would be renewed, so they come out with article, which is totally irrelevant to just about everything except the election, so that people wouldn't think that it was so bad when Obama gets tied to it again.

    A Harvard study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism showed that, during the 2008 elections, 46% of the stories CNN ran on Obama cast him in a positive light, while only 8% were negative. In contrast, 63% of McCain's coverage was negative!!!

    If you care about your vote and the future of this country, then do yourself a favor and diversify the news sources you draw from. Even -MSNBC- showed less bias than CNN.
    If you

    April 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • 4frumAfrica

      if someone you know had been killed, would it be a propaganda? get a brand new brain.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      You have hit the bull's eye with your observation. As the next few months you'll see the beatification of Obama continue to assure his reelection. The lemmings and the sheeple will come out in droves once again and their vote is as cheap as a sandwich, ride, and giftcard.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • joe

      "when Obama gets tied to it again"

      I see what you did there, very sneaky! You guys are so good a conspiracy theories and subliminal messages.

      To bad they are never true – just you trying to "stick something" on somebody else for your own political gain.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • 4frumAfrica

      i know you dont like to see Obama as president but you have to live with it. Stick with it for another 5 years.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  16. granger

    is this CNN or the history channel? ancient history still being resurrected by CNN besides, all this "justice for Trayvon," is merely a ruse for what the black folk want; a lynching...

    April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  17. triguy

    Not to be TOO intelectually honest here, but this CNN story is as timely and relevant as a story about draft card burning and it's timing smacks of CNN capitalizing on raw emotions from Zimmerman's actions. Huge numbers in the black community are being killed RIGHT NOW from black on black violence but CNN knows printing a photo from the 1930s and bashing the South always gets nods from readers whose personal knowledge of the South is limited to Hollywood portrayals (give a southern accent to any character if you want the audience to believe (s)he's a hick, bigot, hayseed,etc). Just because CNN's regional bigotry is acceptable to much of the general public doesn't make it any less bigotry.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • fred

      You cannot deny that a disproportionate amount of the bigots in America today are from the south. Granted, it’s not as bad as it used to be, it’s bad enough.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jim

      I visited the south once and I must admit that the Hollywood portals of the south are pretty accurate. I heard the term “hey boy” so many times I began to catch myself saying it after I went home.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      What's ironic is that the photo is from Indiana. Last time I checked, Indiana isn't part of "The South".

      April 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  18. BRan

    que racist comments in 4,3,2,1

    April 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • bob

      Oops! Your count down didn't even make to 1.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Kids love heroin

    If they wouldnt have broke the law they wouldnt have been lynched.
    I personally think we should bring lynching back. Those people on wall street would straighten up real quick.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • fred

      I know right, how dare they be born black. Rotten criminals... They deserved it

      April 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • fred

      ^ Sarcasm ^

      April 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  20. Dyersburg

    The article claims that 5,000 black people were lynched between 1880 and 1940...that was a long time ago!
    According to the National Library of Medicine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7563453) A total of 7288 gang-related homicides occurred in Los Angeles County from 1979 through 1994...just one county in one State over a five year period...WOW! Why have I not seen Cone, Obama, or Oprah doing something to stop black folks from killing other black folks?

    April 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • EDJ

      Well said. Furthermore, where is Cone on ANY on any such "organizational" killing, since he is with ANY group that is oppressed and suffering?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • fred

      Can I have an apple when you’re done comparing it with that orange?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • sharky

      LOL Der because lynchings were white on black killings.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Carl

      Fred:

      Yes, it IS apples vs. oranges. I think the point of the post you are replying to is that the growing problem has been apples for the last 50 years, but this old guy is still complaining about oranges.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:27 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.