Liberation theology

Liberation theology
: An provocative exchange is beginning on Ibidem, a blog from Spain, regarding liberation theology, a liberal religious cause of the ’60s and since. It usually comes in the context of opression and poverty in Latin America. But a commenter on this blog quotes Irish theologian Seamus Murphy SJ, who brings liberation theology into the context of Iraq and the Vatican’s opposition to the war there:

In Latin America in the 1960s, there emerged a way of doing theology known as the ‘theology of liberation’. Its focus was the poor and the oppressed, its starting-point was their experience, and its inspiration was the God revealed in the story of the people of Israel.

God, the merciful and the compassionate, is a God of justice on the side of the oppressed, and his plan of salvation unfolds in their struggle for liberation….

Liberation theology focuses on the story of the people of Iraq, rather than on abstract philosophical and legal categories….

Since 1968, Iraqis have lived under a brutal dictatorship where the oppression and fear is far worse than any reported from Latin America, as UN and Amnesty International reports show. Since 1979, some 200,000 Iraqis have been murdered in prison. Far more have been tortured….

While liberation theology does not encourage violence, it acknowledges the right of people to defend themselves against murderous repression. Uprisings by Kurds and Shi’ites in 1987-89 and in 1991 were put down in large-scale massacres, sometimes with chemical weapons. If they were to rise again, they would have the world’s sympathy. Liberation theology would say that the Lord, who breaks the rod of the oppressor, was with them. But unaided rebellion would have no prospect of success, and our bystander sympathy, our distant indignation (if we even noticed) would not prevent it being crushed with great slaughter….

But, sadly, Christian solidarity with them is overwhelmed by pacifism, neutralism, and anti-Americanism….

Liberation theology would say: God is with the victims, and failure to stand in solidarity with them is a betrayal of the Gospel.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    If liberation theologians cannot approve of this war, then they owe Idi Amin a big, engraved, apology.

  • Amen.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Liberation theology does not apply, for the following reasons:
    1: Saddaam is not an ally of the United States.
    2: His likely replacement is not Marxist.

  • My guess, though, is that there are few liberation theologians left…or maybe I am just too out of touch with religion.

  • Richard:
    As if Jesus would care about either point 1 or 2?

  • Ed

    From an official Church point of view, Liberation Theology became moot in 1984 when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith denied LT as valid method of doing theology for Catholics. As a follow-up, the Church secularized at least one theologian (Leonardo Boff of Brazil). That there are still those within the Church who sympathize with it’s teachings is both obvious and, for this Catholic, disturbing

  • Richard Aubrey

    As if liberation theology cared about Jesus, or vice versa.
    I spent some time in Central America in 1987, and did some homework in preparation.
    Liberation theology is to liberation as the Bolshevik highjacking of the Russian Revolution is to freedom.

  • Brazilian, but not dumb

    Ok, guys. I am a brazilian. And I have to say: this theology SUCKS. I see the effects of this in brazilian media and people.
    Actually, our new president loves this kind of philosophy.
    Man, that’s bad…

  • Balbulican

    The discussion above points out the irony, and the futility, of the Right trying to co-opt the concept of “Liberation Theology”. Those who now cite it in defense of the invasion of Iraq would have been the first to condemn it when it developed in the 1960s as response to oppressive Central and South American governments supported for the most part by…well, would you like to guess?

  • The 1910 Fruitgum Company?

  • Balbulican

    Damn. Send that man a baseball cap. I didn’t think ANYONE was gonna get it.
    Okay, Mr. Wizard, who was Apollo C. Vermouth?

  • Turn me on, dead man…