June 21, 2021

Liberation for All

No pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us.

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson’s quote reminds us that dehumanization of one person means that others will be
dehumanized, too. The oppressor is dehumanized in their lack of care for their neighbor. According to

Britannica on-line, “Liberation theology [is defined as a] religious movement arising in late 20th-
century Roman Catholicism and centered in Latin America. It sought to apply religious faith by aiding the
poor and oppressed through involvement in political and civic affairs. It stressed both heightened
awareness of the “sinful” socioeconomic structures that caused social inequities and active participation
in changing those structures.” What both Ms. Johnson and liberation theologians recognize is that
oppression dehumanizes both the victim and oppressor. As baptized people, we remember the
covenant that calls us to action, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as
yourself?” And we remember the scripture that shaped these words, “Then the righteous will answer
him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to
drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ and the King will answer them, ‘Truly
I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
(Matthew 25:37-40) And we remember the harrowing wisdom of Martin Niemoller, as he reflected on
the horror of the Holocaust: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was
not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a
trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then
they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

All of these leaders remind us of our interconnectedness. From various sides they see the truth of our
shared humanity. May we let Love empower us to see the Divinity in one another.

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