M. Shawn Copeland on Black Theology

Does the burden of proof lie with black liberation theology? That is one of the questions I considered in a recent post in which I engaged the public theology of Anthony Bradley (who proceeded to make unfounded assumptions about me here) . In light of America's history & persistent struggles with white supremacy and American theology's complicity with this legacy, I think many still fail to appreciate black theology's important place and [not necessarily "unbiblical" or "unorthodox"] concerns.  Catholic and Womanist theologian M. Shawn Copeland wrote an excellent article this summer for America Magazine called "Revisiting Racism." Copeland discusses black theology's history and its attempt to make sense of Christianity's entanglement with chattel slavery and antiblack racism in the United States. She writes:

Despite the passionate language and polemical tone of Black Theology and Black Power, James Cone’s theology remained a Christian theology, taking into account the complex religiosity of the enslaved Africans and their descendants as well as the tradition of radical advocacy of the historic black church. Professor Cone sought to give voice to the seething pain black people felt at the betrayal of the Gospel through the indifference and racist behaviors of too many white Christian clergypersons and lay people. Thus, he distinguished sharply between sacred Scripture as the word of God and sacred Scripture as it had been manipulated to serve the social and cultural interests of white Protestant and Catholic churches and their memberships. Black theology demanded a new consideration of the cultural matrix that is the United States in light of God’s revelation in Jesus of Nazareth.

Read the rest of Copeland's take here