“Black” liberation theology is in the news these days thanks to Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright, but liberation theology in general goes back to the 1960s or slightly earlier and was popular among “radicals” in South America for many years where it was known without the “black” prefix.  In any event, James Cone’s iteration of BLT gives you the nub of either formulation:

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community.  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.  What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal.  Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

To understand South American liberation theology, you just delete “white people” and insert “wealthy land owners and multi-national corporations,” and substitute “indigenous poor” for “black.”

The defect — and it is a defect — in this theology is that it turns the relationship between the human “worshipper” (being generous) and God upside down.  God exists to serve the political and emotional needs of the human theology professor.   The professor “accepts” or “rejects” God.  The professor directs God to participate in this or that activity.  This is entirely upside down and displays a self-centeredness of amazing proportions. 

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