Liberation Theology is Alive Today

Commentary By

Michael Pottieger

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Gustavo Gutiérrez is a philosopher, theologian, and Dominican priest. Gutiérrez is often regarded as one of the founders of Liberation Theology.

Jesus wants you to be leading protests across the country because the direction our country is headed contradicts the Gospel. I am currently completing a liberation theology course, which is broadening my horizons as a Catholic and citizen. Liberation theology is based on the idea that Jesus is with the poor and oppressed. Greedy wealth is harmful to society. People often forget that Jesus not only died for our sins, but He was crucified because He spoke out against Rome’s politicians and people of power, especially religious authority. Liberation theology teaches that it is our duty as Catholics and citizens to examine and critique the budget proposals of any administration, including the Trump administration today.

The new federal budget outlines numerous detrimental cuts, targeting the poor, oppressed, and uneducated. Despite President Trump repeatedly pointing to the horrific state of many of our nation’s cities, specifically Chicago, his proposal cuts the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent. A president who has threatened federal interaction would want to promote increased police forces or improved housing to combat the violence he so often spoke of. Also, with a majority of this country’s minorities and impoverished living in urban areas, the Trump Administration is targeting these poor groups. By cutting the Education Department by 14 percent and the Labor Department by 21 percent, the Trump Administration is turning its back on the poor, fueling the problem of the increasing gap between this country’s wealthy and the rest of us. With cuts to already struggling inner city schools, how can we expect these children to escape their impoverished situation? The proposed budget does not help the problems, but instead exacerbates the problems. With cuts to grants in struggling communities and cuts of $3.7 billion in grants for teacher training and aid programs to first-generation and low-income students, this budget fails to serve the poor and the rest of us.

Jesus did not see the need for national militaries, let alone trillion dollar defense budgets. Although I see the need for national defense, couldn’t the $52 billion increase in defense be put to better use? Jesus wants us to help those who need the most help. Speak out against these budget proposals and be persistent in supporting funding for programs that help millions across the country.

Jesus is alive today. He is with those on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House voicing His opinion for the poor who have lost their voice. Being Catholic is not a pick-and-choose religion between social and economic issues. I ask you to be a voice of reason in your communities, to support programs for the poor and oppressed who need the most help, to see the need for social programs which give poor boys and girls education, safety, and opportunities to pursue something other than a minimum wage job.

Sincerely,

Michael Pottieger

michael.pottieger@scranton.edu

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