continuing thread on media coverage of wright

According to Steven Gray writing in Time:

While Wright, 66, vented on a lot of subjects at his National Press Club appearance in Washington on Monday, he failed to articulate the so-called black liberation theology to which Trinity and scores of other mainstream black churches adhere — and to which he owes his fame and reputation.

Say what? Failed to articulate black liberation theology? Excuse me, that was his entire press club speech. What Wright said is that while he has no disagreement with James Cone (godfather of black liberation theology) he does not prefer the term liberation theology but rather prophetic theology of the black church, arguing it goes back further historically than liberation theology–which is equated with movements in the 1960s and 70s, particularly in Latin America.

Like all good trained pastors of that generation he had three points to his sermon: reconciliation, liberation, and transformation. Those are the hallmarks of the theology he articulated.

This however is accurate:

Still, says Dwight N. Hopkins, professor at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, and an authority on black liberation theology, “Mainstream Americans have no idea of what the black church is.”

And in answer to my “political voice“:

“I know it’s hard being quiet when you’re attacked,” says Vernon G. Smith, chairman of Indiana’s legislative black caucus, who says he’s known Wright for nearly two decades. Smith, who is concerned about Wright’s effect on the May 6 Indiana primary, says he’d hoped Wright would “bear it, and wait,” before publicly venting his frustration. But, says Smith, “for anybody who’s built a church or institution to try to help the ghettos of the inner cities of America and then have that legacy potentially lost, it’s got to be painful.”

Correction. I noticed a line in an Andrew Sullivan post I missed before where he says:

parts of his address at the Press Club were completely uncontroversial and even contained some important truths.

He doesn’t mention what those important truths are, but I did miss that part in my earlier criticisms.

Update:  Eugene Robinson with what I think might be the best response yet.

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Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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