White House distances Obama from liberation theology

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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs implied Thursday that President Obama does not subscribe to a version of Christianity dubbed as “liberation theology,” and argued that the president’s beliefs are more akin to traditional Protestantism.

“The president is a committed mainstream Christian,” Gibbs said, when asked whether Fox News personality Glenn Beck has been correct in describing Obama’s faith system as “liberation theology.”

“I have no evidence that would guide me as to what Glenn Beck would have any genuine knowledge to what the president actually does or does not believe,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs did not say outright that the president rejects liberation theology, which in general interprets the gospel of Jesus Christ as primarily a mandate to help the poor and needy, but also has many streams and variations on finer matters and points of emphasis.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Gibbs said. When pressed again, he said, “I can only imagine where [Beck] conjured that from.”

But Gibbs did strongly imply that Obama does not subscribe to liberation theology, which Beck often refers to as “black liberation theology.”

“People are entitled to their own opinion — as ill-informed as it may be — but their not entitled to their own facts,” Gibbs said.

Beck has said in the past that Obama is prejudiced against white people because of the nation’s past sins of slavery and racial discrimination. In fact, in July 2009, Beck called Obama a “racist” and said he has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” But since then, Beck has said it was the president’s theological orientation that he mistook for racism.

“His viewpoints come from liberation theology. That’s what I think in — at the gut level I was sensing. And I miscast it as racism,” Beck told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.

“What does the president believe? Four different speeches since he’s been president, he has told — and mainly students — that your salvation is directly tied to the collective salvation. That — that’s not something that most Christians recognize,” Beck said.

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  • whoframedrudy

    “I can only imagine where [Beck] conjured that from.”

    He ‘conjured’ it from Obama’s membership in Rev. Wright’s church, whose mission statement proclaimed Black Liberation Theology. Rev. Wright said so on Hannity.

    “liberation theology, which in general interprets the gospel of Jesus Christ as primarily a mandate to help the poor and needy …” Huh? No, Liberation Theology teaches that if God does not tell you to hate whites, then you should reject God:

    “If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community … Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy.”
    –James Cone, founder of Black Liberation Theology (African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West ). Rev. Wright spoke of James Cone in his interview with Hannity.

  • The_anniebanannie


    Rev. Wright and Obama are Black Liberation Theology worshipers. Not sure where all the Catholic Church and South America come into that at…I think it’s all getting turned around in this discussion.

  • victorerimita

    The Rev. Wright was arguably the preeminent exponent of so-called “black liberatio theology” in America before he retired. It is Barack Obama, not Glen Beck or anyon eelse who made the claim that the Rev. Wright was Obama’s spirtual mentor. He famously took the title of one of his books from Wright. Obama heartily embraced Wright right up until he didn’t, when Wright became an emabarrassment to the 2008 campaign.

    Since Obama attended Wright’s church for 20 years, since Obama says Wright was his spiritual mentor, and since Obama clearly subscribes at least to the “social justice” (Marxist) part of liberation theology, I fail to see how imputing liberation theology beliefs to Obama is a baffling stretch, for even Gibbs.

    As to accusations that such an imputation is “racist,” this charge is now well known to be the leftist equivalent of “witch.” It is utterly meaningless, and in this case has nothing to do with liberation theology, which is mainly an economic and braodly sociological belief system.

    Is it “racist” to say Obama is a subscriber to “black liberation theology?” It would be if that claim were solely based on Obama’s race. But not if it is based on an assumption that Obama’s 20-year attendance at the church of the nation’s premier BLT exponent indicated some small acceptance of Wright’s views. Why else would he go there so long? Maybe just for political opportunism, true. But it’s not a wildly absurd notion that Obama may have actually agreed with some of what he heard there, despite his preposterous claims he never heard Wright say any of that stuff.

    • truebearing

      Bullseye! Nice job.

  • liberty1789

    I don’t know, Bobby, but we seem to have a different idea of what constitutes “facts”. With obama spending 20 years i the pew of a liberation theology church and harping about “corporate” instead of individual redemption, one might get the feeling that he is tad closer to liberation theology than mainstream. And oeno, kudos to you for throwing in the whole Mormon thing. It certainly raises this conversation a notch. Your “atheism” doesn’t really excuse bigotry, but hey, what do I know? I think you may be a tad closer to liberation theology than atheism, but that just is a guess.

  • Tess_Comments

    “Gibbs did not say outright that the president rejects liberation theology, which in general interprets the gospel of Jesus Christ as primarily a mandate to help the poor and needy, but also has many streams and variations on finer matters and points of emphasis.”

    Obama was a community organizer. Don’t they help the poor and needy? Isn’t the Obama Health Care Plan aimed at helping the Poor and the Needy at the expense of all? When ever I hear Obama speaking in front of a crowd all I hear is a Preacher who insisted he is right everyone else is wrong.