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Solidarity-with-the-Oppressed

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’ So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red. Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?”declares the LORD. “But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion.”    - Jeremiah ; Jeremiah 22:13-17


"They have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor."    - Jeremiah ; Jeremiah 5.28


"When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied."    - Torah Redactors ; Deuteronomy 26.12


“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry."    - Torah Redactors ; Exodus 22.22-23


“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed."    - James ; James 4.6 cf. Proverbs 3.34


"Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

   - Jesus ; Matthew 5.10


"The Gospels not only disclose the hidden scapegoat mechanism of human cultures, but witness to the God, the Spirit-Paraclete, who stands with the Innocent Victim and is revealed through him."    - Rene Girard ; The Girard Reader


"The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish teacher and thinker appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"When you gather your crops and fail to bring in some of the grain that you have cut, do not go back for it; it is to be left for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. . . . When you have gathered your grapes once, do not go back over the vines a second time; the grapes that are left are for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Never forget that you were slaves in Egypt; that is why I have given you this command."    - Moses ; Deuteronomy 24:19-22


"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"    - Isaiah ; Isaiah 58:6


"It is my contention that Christianity is essentially a religion of liberation. The function of theology is that of analyzing the meaning of that liberation for the oppressed so they can know that their struggle for political, social, and economic justice is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ’s message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology."    - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation - Fortieth Anniversary Edition


"It is necessary to examine the religion of Jesus against the background of his own age and people, and to inquire into the content of his teaching with reference to the disinherited and the underprivileged."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"God judges in favor of the oppressed..."    - David ; Psalms 146:6-7


"Anyone who claims to be fighting against the problem of oppression and does not analyze the exploitive role of capitalism is either naive or an agent of the enemies of freedom."      - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation


“It is these [the marginalized] whom Jesus tells to have hope, that God is not like their oppressors have made them think, that the end of their misfortunes is at hand, that the Kingdom of God is coming and is for them.”    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"To those who need profound succor and strength to enable them to live in the present with dignity and creativity, Christianity often has been sterile and of little avail. The conventional Christian word is muffled, confused, and vague. Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak. This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what extent a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of a civilization and of nations whose very position in modern life has too often been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to weak and defenseless peoples."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble."    - Psalmist ; Psalm 41:1 TEV


"The Glory of God is a poor person who lives."    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"The masses of men live with their backs constantly against the wall. They are the poor, the disinherited, the dispossessed. What does our religion say to them? The issue is not what it counsels them to do for others whose need may be greater, but what religion offers to meet their own needs. The search for an answer to this question is perhaps the most important religious quest of modern life."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"What word does Christianity have to offer for those of us who live with our backs constantly against the walls of white supremacist heterosexist patriarchal ableist capitalism?"    - CHANEQUA WALKER-BARNES ; Why I Gave Up Church; Bearings Online. October 12, 2017


"Christian theology is never just a rational study of the being of God. Rather it is a study of God’s liberating activity in the world, God’s activity in behalf of the oppressed."    - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation


"What has the gospel to do with the oppressed of the land and their struggle for liberation? Any theologian who fails to place that question at the center of his or her work has ignored the essence of the gospel."    - James H. Cone ; God of the Oppressed


"Christ asks us not to fear persecution, because — believe me, brothers and sisters — whoever has cast his or her lot with the poor will have to endure the same fate as the poor, and in El Salvador we know what the fate of the poor is: to disappear, to be tortured, to be a prisoner, to be found dead."
   - Archbishop Oscar Romero ; The Word Remains: A Life of Oscar Romero


"As we gather at tables, grieving the state of our nation, may we gain spiritual strength for the journey ahead, drawing on the deepest wells of wisdom from those on whose shoulders we stand and the various faith traditions that have fueled their freedom march and continue to energize ours. In the spirit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. King, may the pioneers of the civil rights movement collaborate with the young leaders in Ferguson, New York City and other cities, and may they impart their knowledge and understanding of nonviolent resistance that is not passive, but is spiritually active with an abiding faith that the universe is on the side of justice, and that, in the end, love will triumph over evil. May this spiritual strength, fueled by prophetic fire and love, reveal to us our neighbors’ humanity, our own complicity in their suffering and liberate us once and for all from the history that continues to enslave us."    - Peter Heltzel and Cornel West ; A Thanksgiving Prayer


"Neither the familiarity nor the season’s festivities should prevent us from realizing the scandal that God came into human history completely helpless, as a newborn, and was laid in a feeding trough . . . By entering human history this way, God identified with the powerless, the oppressed, the poor, and the homeless."    - R. Alan Culpepper ; (unspecified)


"There is one overmastering problem that the socially and politically disinherited always face: Under what terms is survival possible? . . . [Jesus's] words were directed to the House of Israel, a minority within the Greco-Roman world, smarting under the loss of status, freedom, and autonomy, haunted by the dream of the restoration of a lost glory and a former greatness."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"We begin with the simple historical fact that Jesus was a Jew . . . The second important fact for our consideration is that Jesus was a poor Jew . . . The third fact is that Jesus was a member of a minority group in the midst of a larger dominant and controlling group."    - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"God judges in favor of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry."    - Psalmist ; Psalm 146:6-7


I have come to believe that creative nonviolence has to be a constitutive element of evangelization and of the proclamation of the gospel. But in Nicaragua nonviolence was never included in the process of evangelization. The cancer of oppression and injustice and crime and exploitation was allowed to grow and finally the people had to fight with the means available to them, the only means that people have found from of old: armed struggle. Then (some) arrogantly said violence was bad, nonviolence was the correct way . . . But that spirituality and prayer and work with people’s consciences has never been done. We have no right to hope to harvest what we have not sown.
   - Miguel D’Escoto ; An Unfinished Canvas: Building a New Nicaragua; Sojourners Magazine, March, 1983


I came here to a country that’s been governed for nearly half a century by an unjust, murderous, bloody dictatorship, one that eradicated whole families. I read to the U.S. Congress whole lists of families — father, mother, grandparents, teenagers, and younger children — murdered in the mountains. In the final 52 days of the offensive alone, 50,000 persons died in Nicaragua. Here, then, taking sides with the people by joining with those who are struggling and offering their lives to defend the people — supporting them and becoming one of them, in the people’s defense . . . We’re taking sides, yes — with the good Samaritan. Here you have to take sides, you have to be a partisan. Either you’re with the slaughtered or you’re with the slaughterers. From a gospel point of view, I don’t think there was any other legitimate option we could have made.
   - Fernando Cardenal ; Ministers of God, Ministers of the People


"Any interpretation of the gospel in any historical period that fails to see Jesus as the Liberator of the oppressed is heretical. Any view of the gospel that fails to understand the Church as that community whose work and consciousness are defined by the community of the oppressed is not Christian and is thus heretical."    - James H. Cone ; God of the Oppressed


"Christian theology is language about the liberating character of God's presence in Jesus Christ as he calls his people into being for freedom in the world."    - James H. Cone ; God of the Oppressed


"If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?"    - John ; 1 John 3.17


"If there is no friendship with them and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love exists only among equals."    - Gustavo Gutierrez ; A Theology of Liberation: 15th Anniversary Edition


"He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty."
   - Luke ; Luke 1.51-53


"There can be no Christian theology that is not identified unreservedly with those who are humiliated and abused."    - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation


"If the God of Jesus’ cross is found among the least, the crucified people of the world, then God is also found among those lynched in American history."
   - James H. Cone ; The Cross and the Lynching Tree


"I am convinced that no one should claim to be doing Christian theology today without making the liberation of the Third World from the exploitation of the First World and the Second World a central aspect of its purpose. There is an interconnectedness of all humanity that makes the freedom of one people dependent upon the liberation of all. No one can be free until all are set free. Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed this point persuasively: 'We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, [no one] can be totally healthy…. Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.'"    - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation


"Wherever [Jesus'] spirit appears, the oppressed gather fresh courage; for he announced the good news that fear, hypocrisy, and hatred, the three hounds of hell that track the trail of the disinherited, need have no dominion over them."
   - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"Wherever his spirit appears, the oppressed gather fresh courage; for he announced the good news that fear, hypocrisy, and hatred, the three hounds of hell that track the trail of the disinherited, need have no dominion over them."
   - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish teacher and thinker appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed."
   - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow-beings.    - Gandhi, Mohandas K ; An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth


"The nation cannot profess Christianity, which makes the golden rule its foundation stone, and continue to deny equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to the black race."      - Ida B. Wells ; Our Country’s Lynching Record


"There are some upon this earth of ours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”    - The Ghost of Christmas Present ; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


"The Christian community, therefore, is that community that freely becomes oppressed, because they know that Jesus himself has defined humanity's liberation in the context of what happens to the little ones. Christians join the cause of the oppressed in the fight for justice not because of some philosophical principle of "the Good" or because of a religious feeling of sympathy for people in prison. Sympathy does not change the structures of injustice. The authentic identity of Christians with the poor is found in the claim which the Jesus-encounter lays upon their own life-style, a claim that connects the word "Christian" with the liberation of the poor. Christians fight not for humanity in general but for themselves and out of their love for concrete human beings."    - James H. Cone ; The God of the Oppressed


"The cross places God in the midst of crucified people, in the midst of people who are hung, shot, burned, and tortured."
   - James H. Cone ; The Cross and the Lynching Tree


"Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble."    - David ; Psalms 41:1


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

   - Jesus ; Matthew 5.9s


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

   - Jesus ; Matthew 5.3


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