Is respecting and/or worshiping the black stone of Kaaba an important part of Islam in order to please God to gain his favor?
Like when a scholar specifically go to the black stone and kiss it.
Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Daw'ud reported that 'Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it.
Then he said:
So basically, it's ONLY done because the prophet did it.
Worshipping anything but Allah is shirk, but kissing and touching and etc. aren't shirk, as kissing and touching are not among the worshipping behaviors.
Also the black-stone is not what is thought about, it is believed according to Shia Ahadith that the black stone was indeed a white stone from Heaven which turned into black due to wrongdoings of Adam's children, and the white stone is indeed an angel, one among the highest ranked angels, the first who accepted the covenant between Allah and His angels, so that Allah chose him as the most trustworthy one to preserve the covenant of His other creatures, so was sent out from the Heavens toward the Earth after the Covenant day before Adam's descension to the Earth. All the humans' covenant in there kept inside that stone and people are told to touch it every year (although it is not obligatory) during Hajj, like renewing the allegiance to Allah, so that the black-stone is like the God's hand on the Earth. [You can find one such Hadith in Kaafi, v.4, p.185, although I have seen other such Ahadith as well]
Note that according to Quran consciousness is not limited to what we know as a live-species, even stones are alive but to being alive to an extent not understandable to our material senses. You can see it e.g. when Allah informs us like the followings:
And there are many other verses reporting the same news. Note the "whatever" instead of "whoever" in a verse like this:
And Allah the Wise never use a word unless there is an intention before that. Also note the following verses:
And last but not least, note that all the fake gods (with the exception of a few, like Jesus, Uzeir, the Virgin Mary, PBUT) would be sent to the hell for being worshipped:
And even there is a Hadith that an idol of Arabs in Mecca was appeared to Imam Ali --peace be upon him-- as a black ugly man and was killed by him according to an order from the holy prophet to Imam, then the idol was found as broken by people in the city.
Anyway, there are things that we know and there are things that we think we know and there are things that we don't know at all. If respecting a person or kissing a family member (kissing being a manner to show liking or respect) is considered as shirk then kissing and touching the black stone and many other things (seemingly non-alive species) may be shirk as well, otherwise if someone accuse a Muslim for shirk and cannot prove it he will be stopped to be questioned in the Judging day.
(Shia Islam view)
Shia believes the black stone is more than a stone and also believe grave of prophet and Imams are more than the black stone.
Also Quran says the shirt of prophet Yusuf PBUH did cure the blind eyes of his father. So there are more sacrad things that are blessed and can be kissed.
Reference and more evidences: