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. RhapsodyNblue

    You just keep digging this hole deeper and deeper, don't you? You do realize, respectfully, that your sermons are full of contradictions? It's a fine line between passionate faith and fanaticism. Romney is likely to be bigoted because he's Mormon? Really? As a Christian, I don't appreciate the bad advertising. Lord, save us from your followers.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • RhapsodyNblue

      My apologies again. Was supposed to have been a reply to Rainer Braendlein's last post.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Variaballlistic

      Why anyone would want to feed such an idiotic long-winded troll like that is beyond my understanding unless you're just stupid.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Sorry, I know that I must appear presumpteous, but regretably it is true that all manmade religions have no delivering power, they don't mediate the Spirit of love, which is a real person of the Godhead.

      We can only overcome our hate and anger, if a divine person dwells in us.

      Only true Christianity mediates a divine person to us sinners.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Lilith

      ballistic, sometimes it's fun to poke a troll & watch them squeal.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  2. William Watts

    Liked the article and am moved to read some of his books

    April 22, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  3. perennial2

    " ... a black man couldn’t work for a white man and keep his manhood at the same time."

    Well, that explains why so many black men are in prison or 6 feet under by the hand of another black man. Or why there is a 70% illegitimacy rate among blacks in America, with most of those mothers and babies on the govt. white man's dole. Or why every other race in America double deadbolts their doors at night, especially women. Manhood, indeed. Violence and hatred have existed since the first fish crawled out of the primordial goo. It still exists everywhere on the planet, and it has to do with ignorance, tribalism and survival of the fittest. Read a history book.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Guy Mafrtin

      Ill let lynching, slavery and the raping of black women go as soon as you let pearl harbor,civil war enacting and your rebel flag go.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • 7Pillars

      HEY PERENNIAL TWO! You sound EXACTLY like about 1,000 other sad little Armchair Warriors who have been Told What To Think by their Masters. They must have given you all the same Script!

      Wow, I feel lucky to be a Patriot who can THINK FOR MYSELF! Liberty is an awesome thing, but you wouldn't know because you are NOT free to think what you want or think for yourself; You think what you are TOLD to think!

      Here is proof you're Brainwashed: Do you EVER challenge your own thinking, assumptions or conclusions? Do you every QUESTION them? DO you ever ask whether the source of your information is BIASED? BECAUSE YOU DO NOT DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS, that is credible preponderance of the evidence of BRAINWASHED (No, really! I read it in a magazine!).

      April 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  4. db

    This was not just an American problem, it has occured over and over again in different societies and executions in different styles. It has occured since before Chirst and I am sorry to say will most likely continue well beyond our lives.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  5. glu

    CNN sks, it is a worthless mouthpiece for race baiting prcks

    April 22, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • dhondi

      yes, the trayvon rage has died down somewhat....so they need to stir up some more trouble.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  6. Rich

    Reading these comments, it's apparent that the divide is too wide between us and whites. I say we need to begin the purge already and get this race war started. I ain't in the NRA, but I pack heat.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • dhondi

      Put down the pipe.

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

      With that gun, you will probably kill another black man.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • mikstov33

      Careful what you wish for.......

      April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • T Stevenson

      They will try to start a race war, but it will end up being a conflict between the Federal Government and white supremist groups in the midwest and south. We will end up giving them southern Canada, their confederate flag and all of the moonshine and Ford pickup trucks they want. Good riddens.

      America is great BECAUSE of its diversity. The last thing we need is an all white country – we'll end up looking like Norway (not a superpower, few Olympic medals, weak military, bland, cold, heartless, agnostic)

      April 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Rich



      April 22, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Vivienne27

      Lets get it on. Have Glock, will travel!!

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

      Instead of packing heat,try packing that skull of yours with some intelligence.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    There are too many nominal Christians. The gospel of the cheap grace, which dispenses from righteousness and love in daily life, is widespread.

    A true Christian overcomes his selfishness, hatred and anger by the power of the Spirit of God. The divine nature is stronger than our sinful nature. The divine nature we receive at sacramental baptism, the rebirth. This is the gospel of the costly grace. The costly grace doesn't dispense me from love and righteousness, but on the contrary improves my life.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Lilith

      I wonder how many Christians (true or nominal) are in that picture. Unlikely an Atheist in the bunch.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  8. KC

    I have read 2 stories on CNN today. One about an angry man who stays in a prison of racialism and wants to continue to scream about it and one man who got out of prison and vowed to help as many out of bondage as possible. Chuck Colson when he ministered to those in prison did not look at skin color. It is time for ALL ministers and teachers of the gospel to lay down their past, forgive and start teaching all people of all colors how to get out of the bondage that holds them down.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  9. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yet another proof that Obama follows angry black Christianity, along with his lifelong pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright... while also being a secret muslim who wants to establish an atheist utopia...

    April 22, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • T Stevenson

      ..... another fool blinded by the rhetoric of Fox News. Poor brainwashed sap never had a chance.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Dennis

      You are expressing stupiity at it's worst,birther boy!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Why would a Muslim want an atheist utopia?You have just spewed nonsense.Total FAIL!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • 7Pillars

      "A MUSLIM WHO WANTS AN ATHEIST UTOPIA"!?! WOW, genius, did you come up with that all on your own!?! Your massive Brain-Power is far beyond mine, BECAUSE I ALWAYS THOUGHT IF YOU ARE A MUSLIM THEN YOU CANNOT BE AN ATHEIST! We are all so glad to have big brains like you to really 'Think Outside The Trailer'!

      PLEASE – explain in full, specific detail exactly how that works! I love to learn new, complex ideas like that (and just ignore all the laughter – they might think they are laughing AT YOU, but they just don't have your intelligence and grasp on the notion that YOUR President is both A Muslim AND An Atheist!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  10. mark ducharme

    forgetting the past is as bad as living in the past.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  11. TnScorpion

    How about if we compare the number of blacks who were lynched to the number that were gunned down by inner city gangs. For that matter, let's compare it to the number of whites murdered by blacks. Or don't those people matter?

    April 22, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Name

      I am white, so that's established. The vast majority of "lynchers" were not prosecuted. That's the huge difference.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • wrong side of the bed

      I think the point is that the white church turned a blind eye to the violence.Quite similar to the RCC cover-up of the hideous, world-wide pedi-preist crimes.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • 7Pillars

      YEAH, TNSCORPION! What a GREAT thing to be all Self-Righteous about – an article that says "Lynching is Terrible" – how dare CNN post such an article!

      Glad for armchair warriors like you to point out the flaws in this kind of article – we are all grateful that you have been told what to think for so long that you just automatically spew the same thing over and over and over, WITHOUT THINKING FOR YOURSELF...

      April 22, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  12. Name

    Asked and answered.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  13. Rick

    CNN, the Jersey shore/Jerry Springer of news. Cheaper than real news. Cannot compete with real news. So you might as well drive the wedge by race baiting. At least the lowest common denominator of society, if they can read after 6 PBRs may visit CNN. I only visit to get a laugh at the sensentionalism. Then I go to check out the real news somewhere else.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • perennial2

      Pretty much.
      You always know CNN weekends will be "can I get an amen" black history Saturday and Sunday.
      Either the 3 or 4 white people in the newsroom never work weekends or Time Warner has a bigger problem on their hands than they think. Scary how many political and social moderates are fleeing to as many other news sources as fast as they can, checking into CNN occasionally just to see which Mos Eisley Cantina aliens are still in charge.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • wrong side of the bed

      CNN posts these articles to encourage conversation on important subjects.This network is easily the top source for news in the world.Some people would prefer easy to digest subjects, that please everyone.Try not to throw up your hands in frustration when an article hits a little too close to home.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • 7Pillars

      HEY RICK!

      ARE YOU SAYING THAT AN ARTICLE THAT SAYS "LYNCHING IS TERRIBLE" IS "RACE BAITING"!?! Wow, that is some world-class intellect you have. Can you please expound on your theory, Professor? I would LOVE to hear how you explain that one!

      April 22, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  14. agonyflips

    Billy Holiday sang Strange Fruit:

    Southern trees bear strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
    Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
    Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees

    Pastoral scene of the gallant south
    The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
    Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
    Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

    Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
    For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
    For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
    Here is a strange and bitter cry

    Hear Strange Fruit by Billy Holliday:

    April 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • agonyflips

      *crop, not cry

      April 22, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Patriot00

      If the south had won the civil war, would we have become the nation we are ?. I dont think so.
      Wonder which candidate/party is popular in the south.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  15. cajuntide

    This was truely a sad and useless time on the history of our country.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Guy Mafrtin

      Yea you right just like 9/11

      April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Judy75201

      I so agree.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Dennis

      Yes,it was a painful era in American history.Are we going to continue to "look back" or move forward"???...most are aware of this history.Whites don't wish to return to it,blacks can't seem to look beyond it and wish to dwell in it.When do we turn the page of history to the modern world of today...or are we to remain lost in the past?..Mr.Cone is an angry,bitter man who bases life on his past and apparently cannot envision a future.He is a prisoner of his experiences from the 60's Deep South.He no longer lives there,but is forever trapped in negative thoughts unwilling to free himself of them.He also speaks negatively of Rev.Neibuhr not speaking out against racism during that time.Isn't that exactly what Rev.Sharpton and Rev.Jackson are doing by only selectively based upon race,crying out about racism?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  16. Bert BigDongler

    Ok CNN, we get it. After your slanted views on Travon and article after article on to woes of the black community – white people are evil, they should all feel guilty... and to repent they should vote for Obama...again. Message received.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Bert

      No one has said that all white people are evil, and all Black people are not bad. We are all part of the HUMAN RACE. However as an African American who had a relative lynched, we cannot allow this history to be forgotten but we cannot also live in the past. Unfortunately there are those like you who seem to think this is not serious and a joke. I can only pray for you and others like you because you will never understand.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • T Stevenson

      Glad you got the memo. Others don't seem to get it yet.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jack Johnson

      This is not about all whites or all blacks are bad its about the majority of the white was evil and even thow you see kids in the lyching pictures you cant blame them for what thier parents allow them to participate in, today if they would allow that they would be cited for CHILD ENDANGERMENT and or be lock up or there kids would be in foster care just to look at the lynching pictures you see all the law that was being broken , one of the main 1 is contributing to the delinquency of a minor and the main and the main 1 first degree Murder with second degree murder on everybody who stood there and watch i'll tell you what go to a lyching today and see what trouble you would be in

      April 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  17. religion=ignorance

    ALL religion is false.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • cajuntide

      To bad you cant truely prove that. If it makes you feel better to think that go ahead its your choice.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Lilith

      cajuntide can't prove it either. Religion is as real as an emotion but no more .. prove otherwise.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Tim Jones

      Correct, Religion is an excuse to kill others.

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

      Everything that exsists is measureable, that does not always mean we have the means to measure everything.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • mark ducharme

      Only in the understanding how little we do know do we know anything at all. Belief and faith is closer to the truth than any statement of fact by either side of the religion fence.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  18. mary

    thank you for this insightful article. It's good to be reminded of our history -- so we don't repeat it and perhaps some of the neanderthals will be enlightened.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • T Stevenson


      April 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  19. Jennifer

    I agree with this man. It's in our own timeline, not back in slavery, that thousands of lynchings took place with many of those criminals still living, without conviction or responsibilitiy for the disgusting crimes committed. Somehow our justice system is not fully working as it ought.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

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

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

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

    Jesus has overcome that problem:

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

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

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

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

    We can learn very much from this story.

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

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

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

    Concerning Romney:

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

    John 4:

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

    April 22, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Lilith

      How many of those standing in that pic were Christians and how many were Atheists? I bet i know the answer ... and so do you.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      There are too many nominal Christians. The gospel of the cheap grace, which dispenses from righteousness and love in daily life is widespread.

      A true Christian overcomes his selfishness, hatred and anger by the power of the Spirit of God. The divine nature is stronger than our sinful nature. The divine nature we receive at sacramental baptism, the rebirth.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • TownC

      Saying Mormon's are bigoted is a prejudicial statement. I don't think judging people based on your own preconceptions is a very good thing to do.

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

      Lilith, you are correct that people in the picture are probably not atheists. But I would bet those responsible for the atrocities in the Soviet Union or in Cambodia or Communist China were not Christians. Ideology, be it religious or otherwise has always been used by certain unscrupulous people to commit terrible acts.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Bigotry is actually a problem of the fallen human nature. This fallen nature always seeks a pretence to hate the neighbour: different colour, belief, status, etc..

      The problem of all manmade religions like LDS is that they have no releasing power, but only dream of deliverance. Hence, a Mormon will never be able to love with a pure love like a Christian can do it.

      We only can love, when we have received God's Spirit of Love. The Spirit we get at sacramental baptism.

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

      Very true TownC, my response was to Rainer's asertion of christian love. I hope you weren't implying that if you're not Christian you must be Atheist.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • RhapsodyNblue

      You just keep digging this hole deeper and deeper, don't you? You do realize, respectfully, that your sermons are full of contradictions? It's a fine line between passionate faith and fanaticism. Romney is likely to be bigoted because he's Mormon? Really? As a Christian myself, I don't appreciate the bad advertising. Lord, save us from your followers!

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

      For what respect of any person should the Christ, the one sent from the Father, who lived in righteousness, even to give up His life, for other's eternal have? Should you or another person of differing colors of ideology, fellowship, or heritage be held accountable differently, simply because you openly profess one over the other? By what service is it, that you call out a political candidate, or that you single out his own variant based the same convictions you hold true? Is it by what fruits or by what numbers such judgment is justly seated? Is one sinner more needful than another? What does remission of sin call for? Infinitely boundless and Godless choices with constant prospect of eternal Salvation? The Spirit of Truth speaks to all those found in belief, not for what they said or did, but in combination of what they now say and do, to what end their heart is set upon. Those with an ear to hear and have opened their eyes, that they may see–they are already prepared for. Those with neither an ear to hear and/or an eye to see–their crusades are for naught, for they are found counting sheep, rather than inspecting fruit.

      Ceremonial washing isn't what gives someone new life. It is by that way, that an oath is taken, to stand firm for convictions the Father sets upon His Children that willfully take on the name of His Son, to be washed and anointed, even to bear a cross. That isn't to profess that you are perfect, to literally martyr yourself, or to walk away in reproof. Simply put, it's that when you take it upon yourself and believe on Him, that you profess with your mouth, that He may be glorified and you may be sanctified by His Atonement. Accepting the great sacrifice taken for the remission of sin; you loose your bindings to this world. You reject your former sinfulness, with every walking step, the step prior is a foot forward to bettering yourself and the world around you. Taking on righteousness isn't rejecting the notion that you also remain in need of perfection. It is only through His Son that you are saved, when you are, you are found above reproached. That which was sieved is set free and accepted with open arms.

      It is only through your words and what works you are set upon, that you are found faithful. Focusing in on one part of many, which of any fellowship, all those faithful therein do understand that it isn't your religion that makes you found in faith. Rather, it is your rejection of your former selfish self. What good is it, if you refuse to lay yourself down, in service of others? And what service is done, if you curse those you are in contention of? There is no contention for a lot in this kingdom, which is in heaven. It isn't a race to the finish, only a sense of urgency, to find yourself believing what you preach, which is to say to find yourself believing on Him, following in His strange ways, which aren't your ways, the ways of your peers, nor the ways of devils which tempted His Son or still accuse all those in contempt of God. You won't find the Son making one fellowship choice over the next, if they teach falsely, all is lost, because, it was never there to begin with. There is no commonality with a contentious spirit, and the lovely spirit, no, not a thread. Fidelity is unwavering, after walking this way, then talking this way.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
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