Liberation Theology for Labor Day


Fox News Host Glenn Beck tried to quell the desires of people for social justice by making that phrase anathema to what it means to be an American and a Christian or a person who simply cares at all about justice in our world. He failed in that mission. People continued to care about social justice and even pursued it all the more. So now the great enemy is Liberation Theology.

Jesuits in various parts of Latin America in the 1970’s committed the greatest of sins: they decided to direct their efforts at helping the poor and the oppressed as Christ did. Some of them, borrowed a bit from Marxist doctrine by observing the painfully obvious: that indeed there were different economic classes in our world Virginia, and for those who cannot wait to begin the materialistic orgy that Christmas has become, there is a Santa Claus too.

On this Labor Day 2010, we pause to remember the importance of work, and what working people and not their employers have done to make this nation prosper and to support strong families. We remember the sacrifices of working people (those of us poor schmucks who work for some even bigger schmuck for a wage and don’t sit on our fat hinders raking the money in and laughing at the rest of us) and how they came together to form Unions to fight for all kinds of social justice. Though there is little to celebrate in a corporatized world run amuck this year, we can raise our fists in defiance and soldier on. We can organize, organize, organize.

Workers can simply come together in a great new labor movement with and without traditional labor Unions and lay down their tools and raise hell with the people who have been giving them hell. They can do it all over the entire globe. Marx may have been right. This is what it will take now in a globalized economy, where the great capitalists seek to maximize profit by running to the most distant corners of the globe to get the cheapest labor to be exploited to the maximum extent possible. Workers of the world–indeed, unite. We have nothing to lose but the chains of helplessness and despair made for us by indifferent people sitting in boardrooms making more wealth for themselves and leaving the rest of us behind. Their fellow rich and well-connected friends who consider themselves above the rest of us need shock treatment: that treatment to consist of a worldwide labor movement linked arm-in-arm and working to turn the tables on them. It is the great effort to be made for justice in this century.

The very best strategy we can employ can be taken from Gandhi, Dr. King, and Jesus of Nazareth. We can use the weapon of love, passive resistance, and non-violent direct action to shake the towers of the great money changers of the world to the core and to make this world just for all.

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and cogent writer on the problems of our day and faith in a faithless world, writes: “Christ not only frees people from sin and illness; Christ also desires to free our fellow human beings from the social structures that keep them impoverished. This is this kind of “liberation” that is held out. Liberation theologians meditate on Gospel stories that show Christ upending the social structures of the day, in order to bring more–uh oh–social justice into the world. Christians are also asked to make, as the saying goes, a “preferential option for the poor.”

Glenn Beck and his Black Robe Regiment must be defeated and so too the corporate power all over the globe. It will take the peoples of this world to educate themselves on who holds the balance of power. The poor, oppressed and the hard-working members of a crumbling middle class around the world have more and more in common each year and we must make common cause and join hands and bring the issue to a head worldwide. Let’s have more and more Liberation Theology in this world and not less. Rev. Martin notes that a number of his Jesuit friends were gunned down by those seeking to thwart social justice in our world. So we must all stand together.

People of faith, those with no faith other than justice and work, and a decent standard of living for all can unite. We are all brothers and sisters this Labor Day. Were the workers of the world to discover this fact and that they outnumber their oppressors the revolution can begin. We’ll all meet Dr. King in that promised land. Come, let us begin the journey.

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