I want to thank the authors of “Today’s Oppressed: True ‘Exodus’ Heirs” (Others Say, June 3) for their courteous reply to my column of last February. The perspectives of these who live closer to the heart of Latin American liberation theology differ from those that guide the North American.
I am unable to see the relevance of the Marxist analysis for any advanced nation of today, however difficult its problems may be. Specifically I find it difficult to believe that such an analysis can be applied to a modern state without the loss in such areas of human freedom as are essential to the creative life of a people. Closely related to this is my feeling that revolution in a modern state is an anachronism. As such, it will inevitably move toward reactionary excesses, unacceptable to any Christian community.
I have a different theological understanding of the Exodus motif. Israel became a chosen people not because they were oppressed in Egypt but because of the sovereign will of God, which was first revealed with the call of Abram. Although the Exodus gave them one more push toward nationhood, their oppression by the Pharaohs added nothing to their vocation. Theologically, I find the statement that the Exodus was “God’s initial revelation of himself to Israel … in the context of deliverance from oppression …” unwarranted by either history or dogma. And I don’t see how it justifies the demand for a certain socio-economic system.
I am also perplexed by the insistence that the terms “injustice” and “violence” are synonymous. Latin American theologians seem semantically confused and misleading in equating economic exploitation (and this has without doubt characterized many of the policies of nations of the Northern Hemisphere) with violence, ...1
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