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86: Driver replies to Gill on Liberation Theology in Haiti

From: Tom F. Driver <tfd3@columbia.edu>

Gill says that
> land reform under LT requires nothing more than tryanny.....forcing
> whomever to give up ones lands.....in the name "of the people"....this is
> the usual rethoric of authoritarianism.........so that, if one professes
> the entire package of LT, one is actually saying that one is either
> authoritarian or totalitarian.......
> we need to at least be realistic about what LT actually means if it
> were implemented......

I fear that the above remarks display little familiarity with Liberation
Theology.  In Haiti, LT has had a pronounced effect upon the younger
clergy since the early 1970's. It is not, and never was, a program of
land reform -- or any other economic program, for that matter.  It was
never a political party nor even a political movement except in the
loosest sense of the word.  It was, and is, a "school" of thought among
theologians, originating in Latin America in the late 1960's and
spreading to some quarters of the theological scene in North America,
Europe, Korea, and elsewhere. It does emphasize a close connection
between theory and praxis.  It has tended, although not in a slavish
way, to employ Marxist social analysis in order to understand the
situation of the poor.  Under its influence, and that of Paolo Friere,
as Bob Corbett mentioned, many priests have done work among the poor
that is aimed at raising consciousness concerning the causes of poverty
and also concerning the "preferential option for the poor" that is so
prominent in the Bible.

Tom F. Driver
Member, Haiti Task Force
Witness for Peace