Liberation Theology: Jesus Christ as Marxist Guerrilla in the Jungle with a Machine Gun

From the Sandinistas of Nicaragua to the URNG of Guatemala to the guerrilla column in Honduras led by the Irish Catholic priest in 1983 to Father Aristide’s Lavalas in Haiti to the ELN in Colombia to the Chavistas in Venezuela, all of these radical leftwing groups had one thing in common: they all came out of Liberation Theology, more or less a “Jesus Christ, Marxist guerrilla in the jungle with a machine gun” type of armed to the teeth Catholicism.

Liberation Theology came out a movement of Professors of Pedagogy in Brazil in 1964, especially an influential book written by a priest named Gutierrez. The argument was that teaching in Latin America was an overtly political act, and teachers should ideally by Leftist revolutionaries. Out of this flowed many documents laying out Liberation Theology or “the preferential option for the poor.” It was most powerful among lay workers, of which there are many in Latin America. In heavily Catholic areas, Catholic lay workers are nearly an army.

The French Communist Party in  France long had Catholic roots as did the PCI in Italy. Near the end of his life, Fidel Castro praised Catholicism and said he was a “cultural Catholic.” Hugo Chavez and the Chavistas were of course a ferocious part of the Catholic Left. Chavez Leftism was heavily infused with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

Even the viciously anti-Christian Sendero Luminoso in Peru had many supporters in the Catholic Church, mostly at the lay and priest level but surprisingly all the way up to the bishop level. Sendero killed many reactionary Protestant missionaries in their war, but they left the priests alone.

The great Edith Lagos, a 19 year old year revolutionary woman who led one of the first Sendero columns, was killed in battle in 1982. Her funeral in Ayacucho at night a bit later attracted 30,000 visitors, nearly the entire population of the town. Everyone was in line for the funeral – the local police, the local government and of course the entire local  Catholic clergy. The line wormed all through the city for hours far into the night. She was treated to an actual Catholic funeral right there in the church led by the local priest. Her casket stood next to the priest as he delivered his sermon. It had a Sendero Communist flag on it.

A communist flag on a coffin in a Catholic church! The crowd then filed out through the town to the graveyard where she was buried in the middle of the night. Her tomb exists to this day, although it has been repeatedly bombed by reactionaries. Local Indians make patronages to the tomb on a regular basis, leaving flowers at it. Rumor has it that she has obtained informal sainthood and is now Saint Edith Lagos in the local Catholic Churches.

FARC called itself officially atheist, although they had the support of many priests in the countryside where the FARC held sway. Nevertheless, most FARC rank and file were Catholics.

In Paraguay, a former guerrilla was elected president. He was also a former Catholic priest.

The armed Marxist Left in Uruguay and Brazil also had deep links to the Catholic Church.

In the US, we have something called Cold War liberals. This is the pathetic Left of the United States,  people who would be rightwingers or center-right anywhere else on Earth.

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Brazil, Caribbean, Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Colombia, Conservatism, Cuba, Europe, France, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Latin America, Left, Liberalism, Marxism, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Political Science, Regional, Religion, South America, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela

4 responses to “Liberation Theology: Jesus Christ as Marxist Guerrilla in the Jungle with a Machine Gun

  1. Beau Brendler

    Can you imagine a Marxist Jesus being embraced by the archconservative right-wing Catholics that now seem to dominate the American church? I grew up and was educated by Jesuits in the 1980s and converted to Catholicism at 21 because of the liberation theology/Dorothy Day ideology. I have been disappointed ever since, especially after moving to the East Coast from the Pacific Northwest. Now I’m surrounded by Catholics who are rabid Trump supporters.

  2. Jason Y

    The same thing promoting liberation theology is also prompting Catholic fascist movements – like the one Mel Gibson supports. Basically it’s amillennialism. It’s a philosophy which glorifies the union of the church and state – because they’re trying to bring about God’s rule on Earth.

    But of course I find this way of thinking ludicrous and comical.

    Note for instance the commentator EPGAH, who I think is a Catholic and his obsession with Cecil Rhodes and the like and the ungrateful Africans. But EPGAH is simply following his own church’s way of thinking and incorporating white nationalist ideas.

  3. Jason Y

    The same thing promoting liberation theology is also prompting Catholic fascist movements – like the one Mel Gibson supports. Basically, it’s amillennialism. It’s a philosophy which glorifies the union of the church and state – because they’re trying to bring about God’s rule on Earth.

    But of course, I find this way of thinking ludicrous and comical.

    Note, for instance, the commentator EP-GAH, who I think is a Catholic and his obsession with Cecil Rhodes and the like and the ungrateful Africans. But EP-GAH is simply following his own church’s way fo thinking and incorporating white nationalist ideas.

  4. Jason Y

    If white nationalist Young Republicans laughing at the image of Jesus as a left-wing warrior, then I can’t blame them. Sorry, just being honest here. But that’s not saying I can’t stand the alt-right.

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