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A Newsweek Web Exclusive with Edward J. Blum

A recent Newsweek Web article opens with the following line:

As
Sen. Barack Obama deals with the fallout of controversial remarks by
his pastor, a noted historian explains how the Rev. Jeremiah Wright
came to say what he did.

That historian is Edward J. Blum, author of W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

NEWSWEEK: You’ve said that African-American church leaders have taken America’s Christian values and turned them against the nation’s practitioners of racial discrimination, violence and imperialism for hundreds of years. When and how did this tradition begin?

Edward J. Blum: It began even before the United States became the United States, during the slave trade. Throughout slavery, African-Americans used the Bible to challenge their enslavement. Olaudah Equiano, a slave who was later freed, wrote a narrative juxtaposing the Christianity of the slaveholders vs. his own Christianity. Frederick Douglass said he hated the Christianity of whites but loved the Christianity of Christ. As Africans became Americans and embraced Christianity, they continued to turn the teachings of Jesus against whites.