Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Unseasonably cool here in the Great Blue Northeast just now. I will take it!
This is the magic time of year when school teachers everywhere take down student work and start pinning newspapers over their bulletin boards. What a fabulous rite of passage! Can a realistic sleeping schedule be right around the corner?
Anyway, as I was plastering up the newsprint, I saw a story from the New York Times in which it states that the Christian Right wants to malign Obama for his association with "liberation theology." Apparently liberation theology is big among African American Christians and is considered ... oh, hell, I don't know what it's considered amongst the Christian Right, because anything nasty they say about it will send them straight to Hell.
Before I became a school teacher, I was a writer -- mostly reference books. I was asked to contribute entries to this huge project called the Catholic Encyclopedia. Mind you, I was never Catholic, but I could write to a deadline.
And speaking of dead, those were mostly the people I was asked to write about: priests and nuns who were murdered for their ties to liberation theology. Some of these martyrs (for that is what the RC church considers them) are being considered for sainthood. Which they damn well deserve more than the crooked bunch running the Vatican these days!
Liberation theology is the radical idea that everyone, including the government, should be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor. You may have missed it, but Jesus Christ is on record as being a champion of the destitute and the undesirable, going so far as to suggest that these poor folks might sail into Heaven while the rich ones won't.
The Catholic martyrs I wrote about were mostly young religious people who incited demonstrations and other nonviolent peasant uprisings in Third World Latin America, in an effort to stop exploitation of cheap labor and wholesale oppression of the lower classes. I admired these dudes. (Most, but not all, were dudes.) I think they had the stuff that martyrs are made of.
I would ask Jesus to come here for an interview about liberation theology, but He's too busy. Try pinning him down! Even his own followers can't find him.
So, here in a nutshell, is my untutored view of liberation theology:
It's a good thing. We should take care of the poor. There will always be poor people among us, but we should take care of them anyway. People who ignore or dismiss poor people, for whatever reason, cannot truly call themselves Christians.
My sister-in-law told me that the robes the Cardinals wear at the Vatican cost $30,000 apiece. Chew on that one awhile and ask yourself if those martyred priests in Colombia and Argentina are going to hold open the Pearly Gates for their church's bureaucrats.
As for the Christian Right ... they're not.