In the Name of The Father, and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Amen.
ORBIS NON SUFFICIT
SOLUS DEUS SUFFICIT
Alert: In May of 2015, I became aware of indications (and here, here, and here) that Liberation Theology is a disinformation active measure of the KGB … and, one presumes, its continuation under the name FSB. I am inclined to credit these indications. Therefore, although the following essay, dating from 2008, does not cover that aspect of the phenomenology of Liberation Theology, bear in mind that I would have treated of it approvingly had I known or guessed about it then. I should have. Notwithstanding that lapse of mine, the essay stands.
Doing Violence To Christianity
And The New Testament
The phrase “liberation theology” is redundant. When it first came north from south of the border, theologians wondered whether there is another kind. Theology is the structure and the content of liberation. What could be meant by this redundant language? Is there another kind of theology than the liberating kind? What is liberation if not theology or theology if not liberation?
Not long after these questions emerged, so did answers to them. Not long after the answers emerged, they were suppressed by commercial and political interests. Yet, the answers were insightful and accurate and they remain in effect.
Liberation theology is a misnomer for what is essentially “aggressive messianic collectivism.” – the phrase belongs to James Lileks. Liberation theology is an iteration of the politico-philosophical ideologies known as syndicalism and socialism.
(Communism, Fascism, Caliphism/Koranolatry and liberation theology share inspiration from and numerous features of socialism. Liberation theology and Caliphism/Koranolatry share evocations of syndicalism.)
It began during the 1950s in Brazil, Columbia and Peru among Roman Catholic clerics, prelates, philosophers and theologians, principally Jesuit. However, absent the impetus of decisions taken at Vatican II, it is doubtful liberation theology would have sprouted legs.
(I am unaware of any decisions at Vatican II that benefited the Roman Catholic Church or Christianity generally. Authorizing the Mass in the vernacular was a good idea and necessary, but simultaneously excluding the Mass in Latin was ideological and high-handed, as shown by the fact that authorization of the Latin Mass, along with the vernacular Mass, had to be restored. We are, after all, The Latin Church, and no exigency of history, ideology, professorship, revolution, insurgency, conquest, sedition, preaching, fantasy, scholarship or will can alter that fact.)
Although they succeeded in time Sayyid Qutb, Frantz Fanon and, for the greater part, Karl Popper, liberation theologians mostly coincided in time with Jacques Derrida. The assumptions and activities of these and concurring personalities run generally parallel in purpose and reach with those of liberation theologians, although playing on seemingly limited or distant regional and doctrinal stages.
Grace And “The Poor”
The premise of liberation theology is that The New Testament identifies “the poor” as favored recipients of Divine Grace and, therefore, centers, occasions, nexuses, work flows or, as some would say, channels of Divine Power and Will. (The term of art for this premise is “preferential option for the poor.”) The status and therefore endowments of “the poor” in what classical theology calls “the economy of salvation” (Greek economos, building up and out + Latin salus, health, being straight and upright plenarily) are superior to those of all other groups in the eyes of liberation theologians. So were they also in the eyes of the elderly Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy.
(Note that the analytical regime of liberation theology relies on a premise of collectivism, namely, the concept and assumed-to-be decisive category of “group.”)
From this premise, and with rigorous consistency, consequences are drawn for the theological arts, for ethics, for aesthetics, for academics, for economics and politics, for all manner of verification and evaluation and for all structures and activities of society and culture, to include government, industry, labor, business, the arts and education. (For example, Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Symphony No. 10, Amerinda, which the composer wrote before the official onset of liberation theology! Villa-Lobos was a precursor in this particular.)
Liberation theology holds as fundamental doctrine that “the poor” (also deemed “the oppressed” on account of their “poverty”) know all and do all that needs knowing and doing and for that reason their wishes and interests should modulate and finally govern the structure and content of the concerns of other groups. (This core doctrine of liberation theology reflects the Renaissance humanistic and the later Romantic doctrine of “the noble savage,” a phrase first used by Dryden but commonly and legitimately associated with the minatory philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau.)
According to liberation theologians, society, politics, economics, aesthetics, academics, religion and philosophy must be seen from the viewpoint of “the poor/the oppressed.” Following adoption of that point of view, all activities must be directed or conducted by, to and for the delectation of “the poor/the oppressed.”
The reasoning behind this demand is straightforward:
In consequence of their favored status in the economy of salvation, “the poor/the oppressed” are superior creatures. They are endowed with the qualities and therefore the moral and cultural dignities and prerogatives of persons others call Übermenschen. “The poor/the oppressed” are the superior party in their relationships with ordinary humans in society and history. In practice, they are to be revered and admired, their superior example and condition hypostatized.
(Übermenschen is the plural form of German Übermensch [über, superior to + mensch, ordinary man], he who struggles to sublimate his creaturely relationship with the ordinary men of history. Übermensch is Nietzsche’s word for persons who have successfully struggled to overcome and transcend the conditions of ordinary existence. Such personalities comprise a new existential reality in being, a supra-ordinary wisdom in power, beyond morality, beyond religion, beyond culture [including government] and beyond verification or evaluation. Übermenschen unite ecstatically all functions of life in their personhood, their being.)
In Nietzsche’s development of the term, Übermensch-hood is achieved and conferred by Will, which is the structure and power of Being Itself (Latin, esse ipsum) actualizing itself in ever-self-transcending, ever-more-intensely-distilled individual power personalities who unite in themselves the power and meaning of earth, life and history. Übermenschen are Spirit and Will incarnate directing history.
Liberation theologians argue that Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ of history, paid special attention to “the poor/the oppressed” and in so doing as a￼n act of Divine Grace conferred upon “the poor/the oppressed” the status, dignities and excellences of Übermenschen.
(The New Testament indicates that Jesus’ circle of family and close acquaintances lived in Bethany, the “Silk Stocking District” of First Century Jerusalem. It was widely known, though not undisputed [by his natural brother James and by John the Baptist], that Jesus was the senior heir to the Throne of David and that he moved in the leadership orbit of First Century Judea. On this and related points, the work of Barbara Thiering is decisive, despite the shunning of her work – on account of her Australian base and the anti-Christian animus of the double apostate Géza Vermes – by American and European scholars of The New Testament, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the history of the First Century.)
Übermensch-hood is conferred upon “the poor/the oppressed” by God in Christ through Grace, according to liberation theologians.
(Though not entirely subscribed to by liberation theologians, in Roman Catholic theology Grace is Divine Will materially acting and directing this and that element of history. Liberation theologians identify the goal of Grace as the elevation of “the poor” above their “oppressors” so the former may control the lives of the latter, or in other words, oppress them. Classical theology of The Latin Church (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) identifies the function and goal of Grace generally as overcoming estrangement and ambiguity by reuniting man’ existence with his essential nature, which is divine nature did he but know it. Grace is an instance of the directing creativity of God as the Spirit of God grasps and shakes a life, transforming and sublimating its existence into the Life of God. Grace is God embracing, enfolding and merging life into His own heart, taking life into His Divine Life above and beyond the experience of estrangement and ambiguity. Grace sounds nice and desirable, but while it surely is desirable, it is not “nice.” Grace is a terrifying experience in the offing and “maddening” to ordinary eyes for some time thereafter. Yet its power of attraction is utterly convincing as well as irresistible.)
Nietzsche and liberation theologians converge in positing the possibility and, in principle, inevitability of Übermenschen. In addition, both identify Will as the force driving the creation of Übermenschen. However, Nietzsche and liberation theologians diverge in their identification of the nature and origin of that Will. And they diverge radically in their descriptions and evaluations of the excellences of Übermenschen, however these are brought into being.
Nietzsche estimates more highly than do liberation theologians both the capacity of life as a whole to drive itself positively forward and upward and the excellences of Übermenschen. Übermenschen are characterized by struggle, hard work, high character and accomplishment. Their excellences are real and deserve admiration.
(Classical Christian Logos Theology favors Nietzsche’s estimates in this regard. The Logos of God is the Logos of the Universe and thus the essence of all its parts and processes. Logos cannot be distanced or separated from Itself. Christianity has a very high view of man’s nature (Greek ontos), purpose in being (Greek telos) and capacity for accomplishment (Greek theoria and praxis).)
Übermenschen have achieved and so possess unto themselves the qualities of elegance and nobility won through definite struggle and strong, successful effort.
Liberation theologians do not directly offer to identify “the poor/the oppressed” as persons of excellence in arts, law, aesthetics, industry, elegance and the other definite, deserving achievements of culture. They are not that unrealistic. However, by introducing the factor of Grace, even special Grace, as the pivotal factor regarding “the poor/the oppressed,” liberation theologians ascribe to “the poor/the oppressed” the status of embodying all excellences as well as deservedness because, they insist, God does through Grace as witnessed by The New Testament.
(Liberation theologians’ concept of special Grace, can be parsed from descriptions of Grace but does not represent the full discussion of it in classical theology. Their concept subverts the classical principle of God’s equal nearness to all and theirs to Him. Periodic outbreaks of antinomianism and charismatics, however, do employ the concept of special Grace to describe, validate and commend themselves at least. This phenomenon has occurred in the history of the churches since the days of St. Paul, who condemned it and its ideological base: special Grace.)
Thus: Grace made specially for them has conferred upon “the poor” the moral status of saints and sages and the cultural status of overlords. “The poor” are the norm of accomplishment and excellence against which all accomplishments and excellences are measured and to which all must conform. This is a necessary consequence of the assertion of special Grace regarding “the poor/the oppressed.” Liberation theologians are not coy about facing that consequence. They sharply embrace and advocate it. The name of this assertion is idolatry.
(Hollywood promoted the doctrine of the superiority of “the poor/the oppressed” for decades before liberation theologians asserted it and continues promoting it up to modern times. The poor, all-good, all-wise campesino [Spanish, farmer, peasant] oppressed by someone or other is a durable Hollywood idol. Examples are The Magnificent Seven and The Mask of Zorro. Since the 1980s, Hollywood made the all-wise, all-powerful, all-controlling black man or black woman mostly to supplant the campesino for this ideological function. Examples are Sheena and Bedazzled.)
Special Grace is an extension of the Roman Catholic doctrine, from Aquinas, of donum superadditum. This is why “liberation theology” arose in the Roman Catholic Church during its centuries-long thralldom in Jesuit totalitarian nominalism. That thralldom had a brief and blessed respite, during the Papacy of the learned Benedict XVI, but has returned with a vengeance in the installation of a liberation theologian as Pope Francis I.
Liberation theology, therefore, urges “the poor” and their minders to be active, even aggressive practitioners in daily affairs of the preferential status conferred on them by Grace. This makes liberation theology a basis for political activity in pursuit of its own ideological fulfillment.
The term of art at the center of liberation theology is the Medieval Latin word praxis, which is based on Greek prattein and gives English “practical” and “practice.” It means do, act by entering the realm of struggle and accomplishment. Praxis is an existential term with an ontological root. (Classical Greek philosophy is the first European existentialist philosophy.)
Liberation theology focuses on “doing theology” in the sense of making the assumptions and conclusions of The New Testament and liberation theology, which liberation theologians assert most truly exposits The New Testament, effective in the daily lives of all citizens. Through interpolation of example and intervention in praxis by “the poor,” all citizens are to be transformed into the supra-ordinary life “the poor” already enjoy, at least in principle, by dint of Grace.
So for example, liberation theology advocates both regular participation in ecclesial meetings and worship (lay-and clergy-led) and revolutionary activism through ￼“bottom-up” social/political/economic “community organizing.” All this is praxis justified by the special status “the poor” and their minders enjoy in consequence of (1) special Grace in the economy of salvation and (2) responsibility to extend and stabilize that economy omni-directionally in execution of The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
(The economy of salvation is the structure and content of the doctrine [Greek docta, reliable learning] of soteriology [Greek soter, savior, helper, maintainer + logos, reason in the sense of the power and meaning of the structure of Being Itself].)
As used by liberation theologians, the concept of praxis contemplates two goals:
• participation in ecclesial events; and
• revolutionary extension into political action to “liberate” “the poor” from “oppression.”
(The internal contradiction of these goals is that if “the poor” are “liberated” from their “oppression,” either they no longer are poor, in which case they must be removed for oppression and then re-oppressed, or, they must be kept perpetually poor (that is, oppressed) so that liberation theologians and community organizers keep their jobs. In either case, “the poor” are mere pawns for the self-promotion of their bumptious handlers, liberation theologians and community organizers, who, as the facts demonstrate, are evil people. Countless “Black Clergy,” “Muslim Clerics.” “professors” and “politicians” illustrate this point.)
Orthodoxy And Orthopraxis
To distinguish itself from classical theology, liberation theology describes itself as sponsoring orthopraxis (Greek ortho, straight + Latin praxis, action) rather than orthodoxy (Greek ortho, straight + Greek docta, learning). The distinction is between straight forward practice and straight forward knowledge or learning. (In classical theology this is not a distinction because doctrine is practice, following the ontological-existential principal that, as Hegel famously said, “The truth is the whole.”.)
The Greek prefix ortho means undistracted, not wandering from original purpose (Latin principium, principle, the power to bring something into existence), straight forward, single-minded, single-pointed movement, such as the shortest distance between two points. That is ortho which proceeds into life and conducts itself as itself, “being there” (in Martin Heidegger’s sense of German dasein, being neither subject nor object but rather above the subject-object split) as its own sublime existence, whatever that is, in its own terms and relating ethically (personally) with whatever or whomever comes along.
That is ortho which is always from, by, on, in and to its own vector and always in appreciation of its essential nature. An Übermensch is an indomitable presence because his existence and his essence are one orthogenesis (Teilhard de Chardin famously used this term; combining it with his own most piquant neologism, one may say that “Cosmogenesis is [orthogenetic] Christogenesis.”). That is ortho which is utterly single-pointed about actualizing its potentials.
The Greek word docta means reliable learning and knowing in the sense of that which is loved as real by experience through all faculties of a creature. The complete creature participates directly and by mediation in learning and knowledge (Greek gnosis, ecstatic engagement of all faculties in loving discovery, expression, articulation and control of reality as a whole; gnosis derives from Sanskrit jnanam, which bears the same meaning; knowledge is the ecstatic, simultaneous presence and expression, in unity of thought, word and deed, of all four types of love: love for an inferior [libido], love for an equal [philia], love for a superior [eros] and selfless love without object or subject [agape].)
Knowledge is ecstatic union in love and love is ecstatic union of knowledge. Doctrine expresses that which has been learned/loved holistically and ecstatically through both direct and mediated experience. Doctrine is knowledge/love expressed in an aesthetic form such as words, painting, music, sculpture, etc.
Liberation theologians coined the term orthopraxis, applying it to themselves and their aims, in order to justify political activism by and on behalf of “the poor.” They also meant the word to shield them from criticism and sanction by senior ecclesial leadership, whose legitimate mission is to guard ecclesial law (Canons of the Church), theological orthodoxy and ecclesial viability and vitality. Nonetheless, not a few were criticized and some were sanctioned, including the Swiss Theologian Hans Küng.
(Küng is not strictly speaking a liberation theologian. However, his concerns approach tangentially those of liberation theology, though from a higher, more refined plane of discussion. His Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration, prepared for the centennial convocation of The Parliament of the World’s Religions, remarks qualities of “social justice” (a liberation theologians’ dog whistle) that exceed in both desirability and deployability qualities aimed for by liberation theologians. Still, his challenge to the doctrine of papal infallibility (propounded by Jesuits at Vatican I) concurred on a key implication of liberation theology and induced the Vatican to recall his license to teach Roman Catholic theology.)
Precarity And Re-Identification Of The Favored Group
Liberation theologians’ verbal shield – orthopraxis – was penetrated almost from the beginning. It is not difficult to do. However, the movement and preachment of liberation theologians did not cease or even abate when their shield was stripped off them.
On the contrary, by means of their and others’ re-identification of the favored group, liberation theology has become the accepted ideological foundation of almost all secular societies, notably those speaking German, French, English, Italian, Danish, Dutch or Spanish.
(For example, the favored group is re-identified from “the poor/the oppressed” to “blacks,” “the abused,” “the obese,” “the homeless,” “refugees,” “immigrants,” “the disabled,” “women,” “GLBT,” “the unemployed,” “the under-employed,” “minorities,” “women,” “the under-age,” “the depressed,” etc. The list can be endless. Liberation theology is ideological incitement and support for tyranny by a minority, any minority, the very condition the Constitution of the United States of America, in concert with common sense and the long and deep convocation of historical experience, intends to thwart.
(This triumphal “march through the institutions” by secularized liberation theology has helped to harden the resolve of Caliphists/Koranolatrists to extirpate the orbit of The Latin Church – polemically labeled “the West” or “Western Civilization” by its indigenous “cultured despisers” [the phrase belongs to Schleiermacher], such as The Frankfurt School – from the face of the globe because of the irredeemable filth, impiety and blasphemy of its secularity. Wahhabism – a modern Caliphist puritanism – arose as a reaction to the several national Enlightenments in Europe and the Americas during the 18th Century.)
Opportunity for a significant re-identification of the favored group was provided by economists who developed in their terms of art the concept and socioeconomic category of precarity. This concept refers to the regularity and sufficiency of a person’s or a group’s income and therefore the predictability of its forces and processes on the charts of economists.
(Terms of art express a stochastic structure, a general, sometimes more, sometimes less, integrated and consistent structure of assumptions which deploys, directs and controls the cognitive activity of the senses, the emotions and the intellect.)
Those whose income economists deem irregular and/or insufficient (by standards economists agree) – that is, those whose income is unpredictable to measurement-making economists – are identified by economists as living in a condition ￼of precarity. In common parlance this is called “living a precarious existence” or “living precariously,” but no category of socioeconomic entitlement – much less soteriological entitlement or endowment – is extrapolated from those phrases. Typically, the standards economists agree to measure precarity reflect their own bourgeoisie tastes and ambitions.
John Cage delighted to quote his father on measuring anything: “Measurements measure measuring means.”
The concept of precarity expresses what economists want for their data collection before it expresses, if it ever does (and it need not), what is happening in the lives of people in those people’s own terms.
Notwithstanding, liberation theologians and their descendants found precarity a useful tool for maintaining a justification of political entitlement and activism when hard scrutiny was applied to the content of their core doctrines, which are:
• identification of “the poor” and “the oppressed,” however vague, arbitrary and unreliable the identifying measurements,
• “the favored place” of “the poor” and “the oppressed” in the economy of salvation, and
• preferential treatment and conditions “the poor” and “the oppressed” deserve in society in consequence of their suffusion in special Grace.
The concept of precarity enabled both a more inclusive and a seemingly more objective identification of “the poor/the oppressed” than was previously available. Po￼tentially – and rightly from a theological perspective, though not from one of economic sentimentalism – the living of every citizen is unpredictable and therefore precarious. The appeal for political activism in pursuit of a “social justice” goal such as “political-economic entitlement to equality or superiority of income and status” can be universal, appealing to all, or parochial, appealing to a few, on the basis of the precarity of existence itself.
Irregularity or insufficiency of income, of course, can be a consequence of attitudes and/or behaviors of those living in that condition. They can also be a consequence of group and/or individual destiny. No one chooses where or to whom they are born. Opportunities for this or that line of accomplishment are restricted by an array of givens in a person’s or a group’s existence, including their freely expressed attitudes and behaviors from the past and present and their wishes for the future. Every decision (Latin de + cisio, to cut away) made by oneself or others limits opportunities for oneself and others on a more or less grand scale. And every want (German vant[a], the feeling of lack but not necessarily the reality of it) precludes opportunities in the same manner.
But these realties are disregarded by liberation theologians, and by economists under their influence, through use of three convenient and linked assumptions:
• that measurement of precarity is objectively rather than subjectively discovered and validated,
• that a want is a fundamental need bearing the force of entitlement as a right to fulﬁllment, and
• that every group, regardless of size, must satisfy the needs that are the wants of each one of its members.
Patently or latently, it is claimed that the measurements of precarity and, in principle, the wants of anyone, and preeminently those of “the poor,” are intrinsic to the structure of reality and deserve and require, therefore, implementation and satisfaction, respectively. Measurements of precarity and expressions of wants are not epiphenomena of a claimants’ personal and/or professional destinies and predilections. They are coextensive with the drive by reality as a whole to actualize itself.
(Life moves by the polarity of freedom and destiny so that always and everywhere destiny conditions freedom and freedom conditions destiny. The poles are inseparable in the unity of their effect at every moment of existence. Attitude and behavior condition destiny and destiny conditions attitude and behavior. Freedom cannot be cognized independently of destiny and destiny cannot be cognized independently of freedom. Freedom without destiny would be the chaos of absolute autonomy [Greek auto, self + Greek nomos, law] and destiny without freedom would be the suffocation of absolute heteronomy [Greek hetero, strange + Greek nomos, law]. Both conditions would be intolerable for any centered self and indeed the structure of being does not permit either of those conditions to exist absolutely, autonomy or heteronomy. This is the first and fundamental limitation on existence, on all that exists, that it cannot be not itself.)
Liberation theologians use the concept of precarity to blame (an assessment of value) on “underlying social-economic factors” (that is, assumed-as-unconditioned structures of reality) the unpredictable existence of anyone they care to identify … as “victims” of said “structures of reality.” They claim that these underlying social-economic factors restrict the opportunities of the precarious regardless of their attitudes and behaviors and regardless of the consequences of the exercise or non-exercise of their freedom.
The precarious are compelled to be “victims” of “social injustice” by structures of society they neither authorized nor invented, the which, in consequence, must be eliminated (a stealth moral imperative).
(Liberation theology affirms the effects of destiny experienced by “the poor,” denies that they have any responsibility for their destiny, identifies the source of their destiny as some class or organization other than themselves and then demands a change in their destiny by way of eliminating or at least dominating that other class or organization. In common with all bumptious ideologies, liberation theology assumes that the destiny of the favored group will be happy when the targeted class or organization ceases to exist or is under the whip of exploitation by the favored group.)
The precarious are not responsible for limitations they experience through the exercise or non-exercise of their own freedom. The limitations they experience are due entirely to acts and conditions foisted on them by those who are not “poor” or living in precarity.
(A principle effect of liberation theology has been to hide from view or turn on its head the question of deservedness. Liberation theology reveals its profound secularity by means of this particular. The secular stratagem of disregarding deservedness has powerfully affected the daily life of all citizens of all nations in the orbit of The Latin Church. It is a perfect storm of collective, tyrannical rejection of reality going by the protestation of inclusion (Latin in, into + claudere, to shut in). Ironically for its proponents, who imagine they mean by it the opposite, inclusion is a restrictive, contractive, compressive process of action. Inclusion produces anxiety, the feeling of being narrowed, as in “angina.”)
Precarity is applied as a means and justification for expanding the category of “the poor” to include significantly more people than might otherwise be included. Opportunities for socio-political engineering and self-interest pandering increase in direct proportion with increases in the size of the favored group. (Recognition of this phenomenon underlay the once-strong alliance of “Black” and “Jewish” leaderships in the United States, from the 1960s into the 1990s.)
Vanguard Of The Revolution
Liberation theology emphasizes passages in The New Testament which speak of confrontation, dividing families, groups and societies and eliminating or dominating enemies. With this teratological eisegesis liberation theology merges the concept of a vanguard revolutionary cadre or band of aggressive shock-troops that was developed by Marx and his descendants since the 19th Century.
(Eisegesis is selective examination and interpretation of a document, reading into it what one wants to find there. Exegesis, the opposite of eisegesis, is complete examination and interpretation of a document, reading out of it what is there, whether one likes it or not.
(Marx’s descendants include Sayyid Qutb, who, though despising all “Western” philosophies, used the communist concept of an aggressive “vanguard of the revolution” to develop the conceptual ground of the revolutionary cadre calling itself the Muslim Brotherhood (and here). Whereas liberation theologians identified the favored group requiring a revolutionary vanguard as “the poor,” Qutb identified it as “Muslims.” Nasser executed Qutb about the time liberation theology was standing up in the Americas. The Nazis also used the concept of an aggressive vanguard of the revolution, and to good effect. Al Qa’eda is self-consciously just such an organization, as is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Qutb’s Moslem Brotherhood publicly allied with the Nazi Party and regime and retains that organization’s flavor and methods.)
The revolutionary vanguard were organized into “Church Based Communities” (from this phrase is derived the phrase “Faith Based Communities”) which then served as recruiting and training grounds for more revolutionary cadre. The CBCs became significant in both geographical distribution and depth of population. In communist terms they were cells. They became large cells, akin to large clubs or voluntary organizations. Their strength was concentrated and maintained by the advantage of communication on interior lines: the Roman Catholic clergy and monastic orders, male and female, though hardly unanimous in their support of liberation theology and its praxis long acted as the principal minder cadre, credibility provider and political protection of the movement.
(Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy still provide this protection for the modern, high secular version of liberation theology: political correctness, the content of which is the demand that women aspire to be men and men aspire to be women. This content of political correctness was formulated during the 1970s and is enforced everywhere they can do it, since the 1980s, by yakshis and yakshas [Sanskrit, races of non-human, demonic creatures who aspire to the opposite of their reality; in secular parlance: queers]).
From the confluence of these elements, liberation theologians formulated an ideology of “class struggle” (ringraziamenti ancora a Marx) by and on behalf of “the poor/the oppressed” or, if those categories were unconvincing, those living in precarity or some other condition that can be denominated oppressive.
(For wonted denominations/condemnations of “oppression,” recall “racism,” “genderism,” “ageism,” etc. In principle, of course, any condition may be condemned as oppressive since all conditions are mixed with destiny, freedom and finitude, unstable and transitory. These condemnations are neither honest, upright nor theologically sound, but in the near term they can be successful, as Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, the Berrigan brothers, Amin Dada, ML King, Harvey Cox, Farrakhan, Khomeini, Zawahiri, Chavez, Correa and Obama and its host of erotically-aroused worshipers have demonstrated.
The notion of class struggle is linked with a category from psychoanalytic literature, namely, the idea of self-actualization, which is rooted in the existential interest of classical ontological philosophy and Christian Logos Theology. Self-actualization is a legitimate struggle for expansion when directed towards reunion of the self with its self, its world and with God. Liberation theology, however, points the struggle ￼for self-actualization towards local, regional and world-wide domination by “the poor,” which is contractive.
(These themes appear in the ideological supports of “leftist/genderist” — i.e., criminal — movements in the Americas and elsewhere. These movements are driven by drugs and yakshis and yahshas. A salutary concept and process of life, self-actualization, the deformed deform in meaning and application to achieve the goal of liberation theology, which is tyranny by a minority, and specifically, in these times, a racial minority: queers and Africans.)
War By Liberation Theology
Liberation theology is this ideology and its implementing practices. It comprises a declaration of war and a plan of struggle against public and private structures of society, to dominate or replace those structures with “the poor” and their minders. It is theology by only the most fragmentary and intermittent connections. And whether it is liberating is decided by one’s position in the drama. If one is cadre holding the gun, it seems that it is. If one is looking down the barrel of the gun, it seems that it is not.
The reality of liberation theology is that, metaphorically speaking, it is a chambered and cocked gun pointing in whatever direction its proponent chooses to point it. And by its own terms, none but the shooter is qualified to pick the target and no target is qualified to unpick or absent itself. Liberation theology, employing the premise that if one is not “poor” one is guilty of “oppressing the poor,” is a form of star chamber judgement akin to so-called religious courts
In the United States of America, with its morbid itches for novelty and superficiality, liberation theology was quickly transformed into secular ideologies in support of an array of bellyache that constantly expands in severity and depth. And body-piercing volubility.
Liberation Theology Against “The USA”:
Tyranny By Minority
Even before liberation theology appeared in South America, elements of its content were in use by Saul Alinsky in Chicago and then other areas. In 1969, Hillary Rodham treated of Alinsky approvingly but not uncritically as her senior thesis at Wellesley College. Barry Obama employed Alinsky’s concepts and methods as a Chicago “community organizer” (aka extorting troublemaker), the role Alinsky pioneered. Alinsky’s goals and methods of “grassroots” political organizing on behalf of “the poor/the oppressed” married like-to-like with those of liberation theologians and these became indistinguishable in language and effect from the 1960s onward.
The goals and methods of liberation theology and Saul Alinsky became “political correctness” by the 1980s and govern today the orbits of education, government, and to some extent, commerce and industry.
When, after the assassination of President Kennedy, the weak-minded and cowardly immersed themselves in self-pity and cynicism, “[stirring their] hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3. Scene II) liberation theology afforded them and their groups justification and resources for truculence.
Also in 1969, a spin-off of liberation theology, styled “black liberation theology,” came officially to Morningside Heights as a professorship at the Union Theological Seminary. It had been pirouetting thereabouts unofficially for some years. Its ideology of tyrannical black-centric racism – paid for by “white” dollars – was quintessentially implemented at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side. It is the inner meaning of the ambition of Cornell West and Barry Obama.
(At Union, even the redoubtable Professor Paul Lehman acceded to the demand to recognize a “black theology.” The sybaritic Tom Driver did not require convincing. Paul Tillich, however, left Union in 1955 after 22 years on the faculty because he saw this and other insanity coming down the road to demand the credibility of recognition by the Union faculty and student body. I was a member of the student body during the late 1960s and bitterly, powerlessly watched the insanity Paulus anticipated actualize.)
(The self-identity of the contemporary “black church” descends from liberation theology’s idea of struggle through Church Based Communities in South and Central America. The favored group is re-identified from “the poor” to “blacks.” Whatever name and form it adopts, however, the aim of liberation theology and the “black church/black community” is avaricious tyranny by a minority.)
Scientists ask, “What, Where, When?”
Philosophers ask, “Why, What?
Sages ask, “Who?
Through his Pl￼owshares, Jonah House cadre and other initiatives, Philip Berrigan, a Josephite monastic and priest, took liberation theology towards a generalized defiance of government, especially government’s penal authority, which includes military authority. The implication is that any who experiences a restraining effect of governmental authority belongs to the favored group because, along with “the poor,” they are “oppressed.”
(Although always from the rear echelon, never the front rank, Tom Driver of Union took up this theme to incite draft dodgers and malcontents during the 1960s and 1970s. Later, he transferred the object of his incitements to anti-government movements in South America. The World Council of Churches ran weapons and materiel – and probably drugs to pay for them – for anti-government movements around the world since the 1960s at least and may still be doing that.)
“Advocates for the homeless” re-identify the favored group from “the poor” to “the poor and homeless.” They organize cadres to “speak for the homeless” in areas where they can find a “homeless.” On the streets of American cities, “the homeless” are appeased, pampered, sated, obese and surly. Their “home” is the window of willing extortion at ecclesial or governmental disbursement facilities.
Potentially, the concepts and methods of liberation theology may be applied by any group that can call itself or be identified by minders as favored by special Grace while also offended or displeased by someone. On the basis of an assertion of special Grace, a group – any group – can claim to deserve and require control of society. The opportunities this claim affords for conflict, despair, disorder, disease and anarchy are legion and much of modern life illustrates that fact because many have seized those opportunities. (The fallacy of the claim is its presumption of special Grace. There is no such thing and claiming that there is is always and only self-demeaning and demagogic.)
(In other words, the assertion of special Grace is a two-edged sword. It is most commonly used by hostile opponents to deconstruct each others’ realities, as if that were possible. For example, against legacy Cromwellian assertions of special Grace for super-achievers in commercial and financial activity, modern “the poor/the oppressed” carp and inveigh from a presumed base of special Grace for themselves. Sometimes political campaigns rest on mutually conflicting assertions of special Grace. For example, one campaign may claim special Grace for a race while another may claim special Grace for a gender. When this happens, the only possible result for society and humanity is destruction.)
Liberation theology is an ideology of entitlement, rejection of deservedness and relishment of the dream of tyrannizing an alleged oppressor. Francis Fukuyama and Samuel P. Huntington are both right, and more actors walk the stage “than are dreamt of in [their] philosophy.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I. Scene 5.
Liberation theology loads hidden assumptions that cannot withstand scrutiny:
• that a class or group has an intrinsic, integral center that can be described, identified, understood and relied upon to act as a centered self such as a plant, animal or human is and does;
• that class itself, especially as defined by economic circumstance, is a valid theological category in the discussion of Grace, salvation and ethics in society; ￼
• that Grace and Love are unequally distributed in the world, creating an inverted class structure wherein the regenerate (the good guys) are the many “at the bottom” and the reprobate (the bad guys) are the few “at the top;”
• that “the poor” have special grace and therefore preferential status from God in Christ to rule the world;
• that the class of some is nearer and dearer to God than the classes of others;
• that evidence of Grace (salvation) and evidence of lack of Grace (reprobation) are visible in individuals and groups who comprise the class structure created by Grace;
• that the perspective on life of one class is more accurate and therefore useful than the perspective on life of any other class;
• that the moral, social and financial strength and condition of one class can and should dominate the moral, social and financial strength and condition of all other classes;
• that theological and ethical cognition can be sufficient to justify and guarantee certainty for rendering judgement against a structure of society and the persons who embody and express it;
• that in the judgement so rendered neither the personhood of those judged nor the reasons for the existence of the structure they embody and express deserve or require consideration;
• that a just, peaceful, efficient structure of society can be self-generated and non-evolutionarily set down on top of, so as to suppress to extinction, a previously operating structure of society;
• that scripture may be taken in fraction and literally rather than in whole and symbolically;
• that liberation theologians know something more and better than do other theologians and ecclesial leadership.
This itemization of liberation theology’s hidden and unsupportable assumptions is not exhaustive. If its assumptions cannot obtain validation through scrutiny and comparison with the complete corpus of Christian doctrine, biblical witness, reason and ecclesial tradition — and they cannot — liberation theology cannot be called Christian, liberating or theological. It must be deemed an ideology of self-demeaning demagogues, and in this case ones contemplating class and/or race supremacy and, by implication, supersessionism. Moreover, scrutiny of its prized praxis reveals an affinity between liberation theology and syndicalism.
The Fatal Flaw
However, the chief infirmity of liberation theology is literalistic reading of biblical literature. Biblical literalism allowed liberation theologians and now allows their ensconced descendants to elide St. Paul’s doctrine of civil behavior (Romans 13:1-7) and also the Messianic analogue of that doctrine (Matthew 22:21). When, in a complete exegetical regime, those authoritative, analogous decisions are brought to bear on questions of social ethics and their existential and soteriological priuses, liberation theology is undercut fatally.
(And notwithstanding the fact that Matthew 22:21 cannot be proved the words of Jesus of Nazareth who is the Christ of history. This fact is beside the point, which is that both The Old Testament and The New Testament are normative content for Christian and indeed all religious thought [theoria] and practice [praxis].)
Scriptural literalism is the bane of the modern world. It fosters envy (“liberation theology“), sentimentalism (“main-line churches”) and avarice (“evangelical fundamentalism”) in the Christian orbit, fanatical factionalism in the Hindu orbit, Caliphism and Koranolatry in the Islamic orbit, misogynism in the Afro-Arab orbit and self-righteous totalitarianism in the communist/progressive/fascist/secular orbit. Hundreds of millions have been misled by scriptural literalism and are at one another’s throats in consequence. Atomic bombs threaten human destiny less violently and decisively than do scriptural literalists of all stripes.
A perfect life is one which leaves no wake.
Notwithstanding all of that, concepts, attitudes, goals and procedures that originated in liberation theology and allied ideologies in the orbit of The Latin Church – for example, Communism, Syndicalism, Socialism, Fascism, Pan-Africanism and to some extent Caliphism/Koranolatry – now tyrannize in that orbit, though not universally. Excepting in Caliphism/Koranolatry and certain monastic conditions, the goals and methods of liberation theology are normative guidance today for every occasion of personal and group decision in the orbit of The Latin Church. The Berrigan brothers should be pleased.
(The Latin Church is the actual name of the New Being now commonly referred to as “the West” or “Western Civilization.” The terms “the West” and “Western Civilization” were coined for polemical, pejorative effect by academics who hated and wanted to efface the memory of Christianity, Christendom and religion categorically [even though the same academics rejected the reality and use of categories].
It is the dominance of liberation theology in the orbit of The Latin Church that renders nations comprising that orbit vulnerable to attack from within and from without. That vulnerability will cease to exist when the religious thinking and practice of those nations eschew Harvey Cox and acquire strength to bind the consciousness to truth.
(Harvey G. Cox, Jr., Professor of Tergiversation at Madrassa Harvard Divinity School and author of The Secular City, a particularly nasty assault at Harvey’s superior in professional competence as well as academic rank, Paul Tillich.)
Existence is both free and bound in all times, climes and conditions. Man is subject equally to the happiness and the hardship of Grace. And there is no special Grace. All are equally close to God just as all names are His and all forms are His. God and God’s love are impartial and universally effective. In these truths, the question of deservedness is reestablished and resumed, to the signal benefit of all creatures, nations and history.
Update 1: An American Renaissance.
Update 2: 15 March 2015: Bill Jacobson at Legal Insurrection notes Valerie Jarrett shoving the knife in Hillary and twisting it. I commented:
That this email, etc. business came from the White House was clear from the start. MSM do not run negative Democrat stories without orders from a Democrat White House. This NY Post story is more of same: Jarrett twisting the knife she already shoved inside Hillary. [Today is the ides of March.]
The purpose of this drama is, clear the decks for Michelle to occupy Oval Office.
Valerie said, of late, she will leave the White House when the lights go out. A curious expression until one considers that she means when she closes it. Meaning, she, Barry and Michelle plan to continue their “rule” — as consiglieri-”elect” Valerie put it in 2008 — but on an expanded scale, and from a different mansion, one they/cronies build over the next 10 years, while Michelle holds the White House, one appropriate for their global rule.
Val, Barry and Michelle have millions or at least hundreds of thousands of backers for that aim. They will turn out the lights in the White House when they have its globe-girdling successor built, because the White House represents a mere nation state, which they transcend and soon shall make all the rest. So they think. So they plan.
Update 3: Peter Berger ruminates upon Two German Cardinals and a Peruvian Dominican in the Vatican. The matter is hardly trivial.
Update 5: Archbishop Oscar Romero was NOT a so-called Liberation Theologian.
Update 6: The Pope, Liberation Theology, Palestine and Castro… by Lionel Chetwynd.
Update 7: Sabeel: Liberation Theology, Anglican Edition, spouts in Gaza and the West Bank. Two thoughts: (1) “I seen me an Arab, I seen me a Gaza and I seen me a West Bank, but I ain’t never seen me a Palestinian or a Palestine.” and (2) “I ain’t never seen me no liberation theology that was Christian.”
Update 8: Related: It’s Not Easy Going Green.
Update 9: A statement regarding equating Christianity with Communism:
Several New Testament parables are used, since decades, to equate Christianity with Communism. Virtually the entire “mainline denomination” leadership, to include now Roman Catholics, concurs at least in principle with that equation. Thus the pews empty out, which, remarkably, convinces that leadership to embrace leftist manners and language more tightly: cut loose by God, let’s be saved by politics.
Christianity brightly distinguishes the realm of civil authority and law from the realm of religious authority, which transcends civil authority and law and has no law of its own. Each realm has its utility, powers and necessity (“Give unto Caesar….”) and neither has authority to control or dominate the other.
The relationship between religion and science is the same. They are about different matters entirely, without intersection, confirmation or conflict. Like civil authority and religious authority, however, they are parallel, indomitable vectors of human experience and history.
Update 11: What Really Happened At Synod 2015?
Update 14: Possible successor to Hillary Clinton — Tim Kaine — is a Soviet-inspired liberation theology proponent, just as liberation theology itself is an artifact of Soviet active measures (and here) and disinformation (and here):
Ken Blackwell; Tim Kaine’s Radical Roots
Cameron Swathwood: Liberation Theology And The Soviet Union
Alejandro Bermúdez: A Meeting In Managua – Liberation Theology 30 Years Later
AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA