BLOG TWO: LIBERATION THEOLOGY AND WOMEN AS ‘THE POOR'

This is the second post in a five part blog series, "Peacebuilding: A Way to End Violence Against Women in El Salvador".

Gustavo Gutiérrez, “father of Liberation Theology,” created the term God’s ‘preferential option for the poor’ using it as a working theological assumption for praxis. He wrote, “My book is a love letter to God, to the Church, and to the people to which I belong. Love remains alive, but it grows deeper and changes its manner of expression.”[1] The poorest of the poor has since included women in varying stages of oppression around the world including Salvadoran women.

Abuse, prejudice, and discrimination continue to destroy the hearts and lives of El Salvadoran women and remains a most serious moral, political, and theological problem that needs to be addressed - by all. No one can encounter the personal accounts of violence done to these women - and similarly women around the world for that matter - without grieving with them over the daily tragedies of partner abuse, exploitation of young girls working as “maids,” machismo oppression, and the demeaning reality of a sexual double standard in an overtly macho culture. Violence done to men by colonizers and by systemic power structures, that spread over centuries of colonization of El Salvador by a series of imperial forces, began by the Spaniards, succeeded by Britain and the United States afterward, and the consequent decades of military repression that followed the wide-span insurrection in El Salvador, does not justify the violence being done to women as it continues today.

The energy for a particularly Salvadoran perspective, that is inextricably linked with the experiences of abused women in El Salvador with women from other places of the world, calls us to witness women who are continually being oppressed for centuries. It calls for us to see the multidimensionality of poverty and see women as ‘the poor’ and marginalized people - nevertheless loved by God and by all of creation.

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[1] Gustavo Gutiérrez, Teología de la liberación (Lima, Perú: Centro de Estudios y Publicaciónes, 1971), translated by Caridad Inda and John Eagleson as A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1973; reprint, 15th Anniversary Edition, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), xlvi (italics added); hereafter cited: A Theology of Liberation.

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