liberation theology and land reform
tony at tlio.org.uk
Sat Jul 23 13:11:04 BST 2005
Two inescapable facts confronted Latin American pastors in the latter half
of this 20th century: that most of their parishoners lived in grinding,
abject poverty -- and that
the Church represented the only viable community organization in their
world. Out of this awareness came a new understanding of the very meaning
of the Church's work. The movement that came to be called "Liberation
Theology" began with the awareness that it is blasphemous to care for
people's souls while ignoring their needs for food, shelter and human dignity.
As Jesus participated in the suffering of the poor, and proclaimed to them
the good news of justice and freedom, so must today's church engage in the
struggle for justice in this world.
Across the Third, or developing, world, gross inequities persist, and
deepen. More of the world's poor are crowded into ever more hopeless
conditions. Yet the earth's
plenty is far from running out. In nation after nation, a tiny minority of
the wealthy hold vast areas of fertile land.
The deadly connection between land-ownership concentration and wretched
poverty is absurdly obvious on every continent.
An effective remedy to these horrible injustices depends on a precise
understanding of their causes. After all, many "cures" have proved to be
worse than the sickness.
Liberationists have tried many ideological models, seeking clarity. Are the
third world poor preyed on by raiders of the global economy, or by
home-grown robber barons? Is the financial system to blame, or are we
seeing the inevitable trauma of capitalism's march through history?
The search for understanding has led back, as well, to the Bible -- and
there, in the ancient economic laws of the Old Testament, may be found
principles that, if applied mindfully of today's economic complexities, can
provide the directions out of the Wasteland -- to the Promised Land of
economic sanity and justice.
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery" [TG]
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