Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Liberation Theology

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.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I don't believe that the Catholic church is as keen today about liberation theology as it once (pretended) to be. As for the Religious Right, well, peasant and worker uprisings might interfere with corporate profits. I'm not surprised they pooh-pooh such ideas.

BellaDonna said...

"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."

I found him! He was behind the sofa the whole time... ;-)

(Sorry, I could NOT resist that.)

Makarios said...

When Joey Rats (who is now Pope) was Grand Inquisitor under Pope JPII, he apparently made it his personal business to censure, silence, suspend, and/or excommunicate as many prominent teachers and practitioners of liberation theology as he could. According to the great oracle, Wikipedia:

"In August, 1984 Cardinal Ratzinger stated that liberation theology has a major flaw in that it attempts to apply Christ's teaching on the sermon on the mount regarding the poor to present social situations."

Another good idea down the drain.

Judy said...

Seems like a lot of the Repubs are christian...however, the Repubs don't like to take care of the poor; just the rich...what's wrong with this picture??

Alex Pendragon said...

It has now occurred to me that the phrase "Godless Christians" is not really an oxymoron........

Anonymous said...

perhaps today's rich people are treating the poor badly because they are jealous of the poor's ability to get into heaven while the rich remain outside?