Part 2: Liberation Theology and politics

My last post compelled me to expand on the same topic, which has been a preoccupation of mine over years. I know it may not interest a lot of people, but there is a niche it does.

The words Liberation Theology normally conjure up certain images and, to many of us, is closely associated with Obama or his radical preacher in Chicago. Now all that may be true. However, I don’t think too many people realize the scope of influence it has had on Christianity, churches, or the well-meaning Christian faith.

There were plenty of links in the previous article for a primer. Still an in-depth look at it is really necessary. I started seeing connections many years ago and the subject, with its influence, has stuck with me. I often wondered why I am so bothered by it?

Well, that is self-explanatory if people understood exactly what it is. It sort of validates the concerns all by itself.

Start with the Black Liberation theology that most of us heard of, thanks to Barry and a few others. It is often subtly promoted while lumping in MLK Jr. I don’t agree with that notion but he is commonly used to promote the theology.

Black Liberation Theology is more a radical strain of an already radical ideology. See, in as much as it is a theology, it also seems eerily similar to a political ideology.

(Wikipedia):”Black theology, or Black liberation theology, refers to a theological perspective which originated among African American seminarians and scholars, and in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world. It contextualizes Christianity in an attempt to help those of African descent overcome oppression. It especially focuses on the injustices committed against African Americans and black South Africans during American segregation and apartheid, respectively.

Black theology seeks to liberate non-white people from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christian theology as a theology of liberation—”a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ,” writes James Hal Cone, one of the original advocates of the perspective. Black theology mixes Christianity with questions of civil rights, particularly raised by the Black Power movement and the Black Consciousness Movement. Further, Black theology has led the way and contributed to the discussion, and conclusion, that all theology is contextual – even what is known as systematic theology.”

But Liberation Theology itself is not just race specific. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, it has its roots – at least the current form – back in Latin, South America decades ago in the 60’s. The crossover made Christianity both its promoter and apologist.

That puts it back around the same time as the youth unrest and protest movements in the US. (commonly known as the radical 60’s) It also puts itself around the time as Saul Alinsky developed and pushed his radicalism. Of course, Alinsky’s version would not involve religion or Christianity – or does it? Anyway, it means radicalism is not specific to Christianity; but just became a new vehicle to promote and spread radicalism via making common cause in using the Christian community as an ally.

In Latin America, Catholic clergy developed this movement primarily as an answer for poverty they saw and as a way to relate to those people, the poor.

So Liberation Theology is described, in Britannica [1] as:

“Liberation theologians believed that God speaks particularly through the poor and that the Bible can be understood only when seen from the perspective of the poor.”

Basically, they “affirmed,” at a Catholic Bishops conference in 1968, “the rights of the poor and asserting that industrialized nations enriched themselves at the expense of developing countries.“[1]

Does that sound at all familiar?

Also, the Catholic Church for years is more than aware of the theology. As usual, the RCC has written on the subject.

THE RETREAT OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY

by Edward A. Lynch (EWTN Library)

Few intellectual movements have begun with more immediate, favorable
attention than the theology of liberation, developed by Latin
American scholars in the 1960s and 1970s. Encomia to the “new way of
doing theology” came from North American and European scholars and
from many Latin American bishops. At the Second General Conference of
the Latin American conference of Bishops (CELAM), held in Medellin in
1968, liberation theology seemed to come into its own even before the
English publication of Gustavo Gutierrez’s 1973 .

Twenty-five years later, however, liberation theology has been
reduced to an intellectual curiosity. While still attractive to many
North American and European scholars, it has failed in what the
liberationists always said was their main mission, the complete
renovation of Latin American Catholicism.

Instead, orthodox Catholic leaders, starting with Pope John Paul II,
have reclaimed ideas and positions that the liberationists had
claimed for themselves, such as the “preferential option for the
poor,” and “liberation” itself. In so doing, the opponents of
liberation theology have successfully changed the terms of debate
over religion and politics in Latin America. At the same time,
liberation theology had to face internal philosophical contradictions
and vastly altered political and economic circumstances, both in
Latin America and elsewhere. Having lost the initiative, liberation
theologians are making sweeping reversals in their theology.

The response to liberation theology was sophisticated and
multi-faceted. Nevertheless, it is possible to describe its essential
ingredient rather briefly. John Paul II and the other opponents of
liberation theology offered it a cultural challenge. That is, they
took issue with what liberation theology tried to say about the basic
meaning of human life and what is most important to living that life. …./ More

Now that we know what it is today, we also can see the effects it has had on anything from the church to the culture, to every other segment of society. Basically what civil rights and the anti-establishment protest movement did to society, liberation theology did to the Christian church at large.

So while there have been reformations in Christianity’s history, this liberation theology has also now permeated it – in my view. Some may argue, but I only ask that they look around with a critical eye and then tell me it has not.

To simplify it: a sociopolitical Marxist construct that pits the poor against the wealthy.

This conveniently fits into the Democrats’ Marxist paradigm while tying materialism to the church — in that case to the RCC. So it fits the bill all the way around, at least for the progressive Left who use it as an apologetic for their ideology. (doubling as a recruitment tool) But I don’t want to get into whether Democrats actually stand for the poor or downtrodden. The Left has the rhetoric down, and this provides a religious, achem Christian, validation and authority for it. This also conveniently fits with some Hispanics or Latin American immigrants familiar with it from their homeland.

The orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church did take issue with it. Those like Pope John Paul II had opposed it. However, as we find in other areas, mere opposition of something does not equate to abolishing it.

What happened though is this movement theology lined up to merge forces with the secular left, as well as leftist political ideology, and the anti-Christian atheists. It fit for both worlds, while reducing any perceived threat to or from secularists — because it had a mutually shared set of goals and platform. It detours Christians from their central faith, to one based on materialism. If Marxists could find anything in that to oppose, I don’t know what it would be. It fits Christianity to Marxism and its step-child socialism uniformly.

What’s not to like for Atheists, Secularists, or Marxist progressives?

The second beauty of the Liberation Theology is that it inherently mixes religion and politics, almost by its nature. And that has many Leftists thrilled with it. No, you thought they had this issue on the left about combining religion and politics, with something called the Separation of Church and State? Wrong. This was exactly what the doctor ordered.

So Liberationist clergy are also ecstatic at the perfect union. And who is to complain, after all? Not the secular Leftists, not the church or clergy, not the Marxists. Who’s unhappy?

That brings us to the next point. Many Christians, even some evangelicals, have latched onto the ideas. That means it has spread across the spectrum of denominations, from the RCC to Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, to small local Christian organizations. See, that was the idea. I call it an epidemic — with as many negative consequences.

That takes us to the polls.

To the polls, to the polls… the Left wants that Christian vote. And, if you think about it, in many ways it even opposes traditional Christian thought and influence. So it is a stealth counter-influence to traditional, real Christians — namely at the voting booth. Now the paradox is that the Left really cares nothing about Christianity, per se, but Liberationist Christians do care about leftist ideology, making them common cause allies. Christians apparently don’t care that the alliance really opposes Christians.

Footnote – reference: [1] By Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica
[2] EWTN https://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/LIBERATE.TXT
[3] Black Liberation Theology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_theology

Right Ring | Bullright

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