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. Thomas

    To present a historical picture of America where one does not portray the atrocities committed by White Men towards nonwhites is to give way to a disingenuous account of history. These things happened, and as much as you want to ignore them and only learn the "good things" of American history, many of us were on the short end of the inequality stick.

    Heck, every passover, Jews talk about the Exodus from Egypt where they were enslaved for 400years... that was, what 3 thousand years ago? Black people have a right to revisit their history just like everyone else.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • E. Brunson

      Sure, they have a right to revisit it, same as anyone else. Just don't take it out on people generations later who had nothing to do with it.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Thomas

      I didn't notice anyone, or this article, blaming any of today's whites for anything. If so, please copy and paste it and I'll apologize. Perhaps you guys need to come to grips with your guilty conscious yourselves, and stop blaming yourselves. Hey, bottom line, if you had nothing to do with it, then it should not bother you that people talk about it.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Jim

      Thomas, let me assure you, it doesn't bother me one bit.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Sparkyjim

      That is a very good point – the comparison to the Jewish Passover celebration. I never thought of it that way.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  2. Variaballlistic

    If Cone was serious about attacking racism, he'd stop supporting the religion that gave it birth.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Ron

      Christianity's universalist, like secular liberalism, and hence fundamentally anti-racist.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Variaballlistic

      You've never thought about the basis for the OT, I guess. A god of racists runs the show. Every passage that expresses this racism was used to justify things like those murders of innocent people.

      You think a Jew supremacist demi-god is going to come back to life and rule the earth forever, yet he said he was only going to be back before anyone died.

      They all died. He didn't come back. Nobody's tried finding out why because they can't contact dead people to ask them why they no longer exist.

      You think the Jewish "race" is a "race" yet you seem to think there's no racism in the Bible. You even think it's a "universalist" religion, yet it has been used to justify racist genocide by Jews, Nazis, and anyone else who wanted a good excuse.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  3. Rodeo_Joe

    Buddhism does not have this issue, never did.

    American history is very sad.
    It's future ain't looking that bright as well. Karma.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Jim

      Karma, like religion, is a concept that is appropriate only for fools and children.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Mitch

      Buddhism was largely a reaction against the caste system of Hinduism, which did have that problem.

      "Racism" isn't only an American, or even a Western, issue.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Sparkyjim

      Human history is very sad. If you were to read the history of the world you would see that at least American history has created a small improvement.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    We are wrong about our natural condition and that causes the problems between the races.

    "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.

    Black and white people need a Redeemer, who takes care of them.

    Recently I have studied the Epistle to the Romans by St. Paul and figured out the following:

    There is historical and spiritual evidence that man is not able to be tender by nature. The socalled sin is the opposite of love. Once God said to Israel, when he appeared on Sinai: "you shalt not, you shalt not, you shalt not, ... " The people of Israel behaved in a way, which caused God's comment: "you shalt not!" This means they were not in a blissful state of love or state of health. Yet at Sinai the Jews should have admitted their sinfulness or lovelessness and ask for deliverance.

    Yet at oldtestament times it was possible to get saved by faith (see Abraham, Jakob and Isaac and others).

    The point is that man (not only the Jews) is that sinful that he needs the constant support of a divine person, in order to be able to love God and his neighbour, that means not to sin. When Jesus lived visible on earth, he was the person of the Godhead, which strengthened his disciples to do works of righteousness and love, despite their sinful body. Today is it the Holy Spirit, which we can receive by sacramental baptism (we need to get born by Water and Spirit, in order to become able to love God and our neighbour).

    So, this is Jesus' primary message and was yet the message of Jahveh: "Dear weak man, you need a Redeemer, who helps you to love God and your neighbour. You are not able to love by natural power!"

    Gospel: God, the Father, delivered God, the Son, for our sins and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    Believe that and get sacramentally baptized or remember your infant baptism and you will receive the powerful Spirit of Love, which is stronger than your selfish flesh.

    Consequences of the gospel:

    – it is an atonement for previous sins

    – it shows God's love to the mankind, because Jesus died for the people, when they had not yet believed in him

    – we have died and resurrected with him: we are dead for the sin and in him (this becomes true through baptism, where we get connected with Christ's dead and resurrection)

    When we behave loveable in the power of the Spirit to everybody (even our enemies), we can commend our cases to the Lord, the Almighty, who will create righteousness at any rate. God will liberate us from oppression, no matter if we are black or white.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Jim

      You are MUCH too obsessed with the scribbling of ancient, mentally unstable Jews!

      April 22, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • RhapsodyNblue

      Jesus, Randy, you sound like a nice person, but give it a rest already.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  5. E. Brunson

    Yep, it's official.....CNN is now the colored news network.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Thomas

      I guess you guys will just have to do with the other thousands of news outlets out there.... as far as I know, the news is for everybody, not just white people... so perhaps 1 of 10 stories will be devoted towards blacks. You still have 9 of 10 that are not.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Sparkyjim

      It's official that you have posted your ignorance up here for all to acknowledge.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. Denhunter

    I think that it is ironic that the only photograph they can come up with about the 'lynchings in the SOUTH' is a horrific picture of lynching from that the Great Southern State of ....INDIANA??? But, but...lynchings only occurred in those EVIL Southern States, right? Not the ones that lead the Grand Army of the Republic to burn every home in the South!

    In it's butt-first rush to judge George Zimmerman and cause a newsworthy racial blow up in Sanford, Florida, they show a picture of a NORTHERN lynching. Was the Indiana war motto 'Let's us Free you to Hang you!'?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Kevin Barbieux

      You should read a history book, you obviously would learn a lot.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • E. Brunson

      Absolutely....my feelings exactly. Using that photo to incite further aggression against whites for black political gain.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • California

      More hand wringing about something that happened in the past and yet it comes up again and again. When is it going to end so we can move forward instead of this useless foray into memory lane. The only attempt is to stir up the hate to get the base out. CNN needs to try reporting on the ecomony and the debt with some much vigor.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Gloria P

      The photo is the first thing you see...and since they are talking about the south..that will put people off from what the writer is talking about. I am in Alabama and I find the photo disgusting. I find it ironic that most white people here are teaching our babies to love everyone and not see skincolor, but articles like these might only promote hate.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Thomas

      There was a time where Indiana was home to the KKK... the KKK set up shop where the "free blacks" were in order to keep them in check.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • larvadog

      Gloria, what would you have us do? Ignore the past so as to not take a risk on learning from it? This issue is not "in the past", it still exists in the heart of many people and should always be remembered as part of what humans are capable of.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Sparkyjim

      This is a "famous" photo. And the fact that it took place in Indiana only attests to how widespread the problem was. We are taught a whitewashed history in high school. Learning the real truths about our ancestors only helps us to see that it is up to us now to uphold what is good and true. "If we don't learn from history we are likely to repeat it..."

      April 22, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Gloria P

      Larvadog, of course history is important and it needs to be taught, BUT if there is really to be healing..if that is what both races want..BOTH races need to be teaching the children to love everybody. Sure there are still people who are racist..but that goes both ways. My granddaughter is 8 years old..and is just learning about slavery..and it breaks her heart. The main point I was making is that a picture taken in Indiana about an article about race issues in the south...well doesn't seem right. By the way, I was born in 1962 in Bessemer Alabama..very close to Birmingham . While I have seen things that were not right..most of the people I have known had nothing to do with abuses against black people. Bad feelings against white people should be kept only to the ones who are evil.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  7. NewMexico720

    Yes, black kill black and so on and so forth. But back in the early 1900's and into the 60's, people would kill black people just because they were black. Racist pigs all those people who shared in the killing of people just because of color.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  8. Forest for the trees ..

    How many white people have been "lynched" in "black" neighborhoods? Whether it's a drive by shooting an alley beating or a knifing of a white in the "wrong" neighborhood ... a lynching by any other name is still a lynching.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Thomas

      Sir, if you are insinuating that more whites have died at the hands of blacks, then you are absolutely wrong. In fact, it's not even comparable. It used to be LEGAL to kill a black man "for raising his hand to a Christian"... they didn't even keep count of all those that died under this statute. Look up "Rosewood, Florida" where an ENTIRE black community was murdered. Not just one or two... hundreds... during just two days... and that wasn't the only town like that.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  9. RowJimmy

    just another black racist spouting hate. he's trying to get on the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton gravy train.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  10. Mike

    Religion is a mental illness.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  11. Henry Bowman

    Meanwhile, as men like Cone choose to obsess over events 70 years past, more blacks are murdered in this country each year, mostly by other blacks, than were perhaps ever lynched by whites in the old south. But it is much easier to talk about the enemy white man than it is to honestly address the real problems facing black people in America today. Black people do more harm to their own people than the KKK ever could.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • rozzie j

      Well America had better never mention 911 again as America has probably killed more arabs/muslims than have killed them-and Pearl Harbor? why does anyone even remeber the date–PLEASE no one ever mention the Holocaust again and the so called "massacres" by American Indians (they were only massacres when the soldiers lost but victories when they won)--yeah, it's heavy on the sarcasm because people do remember what defined them except one important difference –how do you free people from oppression and they remain in the land of the oppressors and expect to thrive? Yes we (AA) have come a long way and sadly hold ourselves back waaay too often–but don't ask a people to forget a history that damaged them-simpl, they can'T–however, they should learn from it!

      April 22, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • larvadog

      Henry, you should work on your math skills. James Byrd, Jr. was "hanged" in 1998 just as sure as those two men were in the picture from 1930. The hatred that existed 70 years ago still exists today.

      It is inconceivable to me why it is that, when faced with an issue of inherent complexity that needs understanding, there are people who wish to "simplify" the issue by adding more complexity. Can you see this issue for what it is, rather than complicate it further in relation to other issues?

      April 22, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • irfday

      rozziej... Not saying reminders aren't necessary, but when was the last time you saw the twin towers ablaze on the CNN site? and that was just over a decade ago. Most of their coverage regarding the ongoing conflicts is pro-muslim/anti-western in nature. Let's not compare the coverage of such actions as being equal. It is obvious that CNN has sold its soul to the race hawks.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  12. vad

    5000 lynched by whites in 60 years? Ok, I am curious to know how many whites have been killed by blacks since 1940. I would be suprised if it is not at least double that. The real suprise however is the alarming rate at which young black males kill young black males. Where is cone's so called "anger" over that?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  13. Kevin Barbieux

    We should not forget the past, BUT neither should we wear the bad things that happen to us like a badge of honor.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  14. Livelystone

    Sadly many churches are still separated along lines of race. My parent's church denied racism but the only black couple there were the last to receive the cup of wine representing the body of Christ......... in other words no white people had to put their lips on a cup that 'black folks" had touched with their lips.

    For different reason than race, I have been made unwelcome at most churches but that is because of prophecies said and being followed with signs and wonders that most churches do not witness themselves. Consequently, I understand the pain that comes from being scorned and having to be "outside the camp".

    One thing that they hate about me is the testimony I have of a vision given to me from God that showed Jesus on the Cross as He was at the time of the crucifixion....... and He was a dark skinned man when all the pictures I had ever seen of Him showed a white skinned man.

    That vision of a dark skinned Jesus is recorded in the book "Modern Day Prophet" that is also spoken of poorly by todays theologians.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  15. abcdxyz

    People, this is an article on the religion blog about, well, religion. I thought it was well done. If you don't want to read about religion, and you think the economy is a subject more worthy of your attention, don't read the religion blog.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein


    • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

    Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

    And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
    Zeb’s alphabetical listing

    o “bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
    Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
    You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
    ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
    co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
    co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
    cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
    cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
    ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
    ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
    ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
    ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
    jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
    ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
    koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
    pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
    pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
    ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
    se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
    sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
    sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
    ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
    va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
    who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

    There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
    Allowed words / not blocked at all:
    raping (ra-pe is not ok)
    shat (sh-@t is not ok)

    The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those

    April 22, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  17. Guy Mafrtin

    Why they keep talking about 9/11..........why they keep bringing up Pearl harbor? Why talk about OK. Bombing, Oh man Jesus died on the cross why bring that up? Dont like hearing about things you a your family were involved in,get over it as you people would say.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  18. GlassHalfFull

    Hey, look at the bright side...we've progressed.Blacks can now intimidate voters and place public bounty's on people's heads without any consequences.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Liz

      They can also force prosecutors to file bogus charges by shooting up cop cars.

      April 22, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  19. starr

    wow..this man seem like someone i would like to set down and talk one on one with, very interesting.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Jim

      You must be joking!

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


    People like you need to grow up and grow out of the past. I am not white by the way. I used to live among black communities for many years and I have experienced more racism directed at me from blacks and never from any other racial group out there. The more you keep harping on the past and being angry the more you will be destroying yourself. Just look at the Jewish people who lost 6 million to the Nazis in 5 years, compared to the 5000 mentioned here in this article over 60 years. They got over it and they are one of the most successful ethnic group in the world today. May God bless you!

    April 22, 2012 at 8:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.