Liberation theology begins with the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcast, and the disenfranchised. To do liberation theology is to do it with and from the perspective of those whom society considers as nobodies. Incarnating theological thought among those who are dispossessed roots liberation theology in the material as opposed to simply the metaphysical. Within the Eurocentric context, the primary religious question concerns the existence of God. Among most liberationists, the struggle is not with God’s existence per se, but with God’s character. Who is this God whom we say exists? What is the character of God? Whoever God is, God imparts and sustains life while opposing death. Wherever lives are threatened with poverty and oppression, God is presente—present. The God of the Gospels is offended by the dehumanizing conditions in which the marginalized find themselves.
Through Jesus, this God knows what it means to suffer under religious and politically unjust structures. Because Jesus—in the ultimate act of solidarity with all who continue to be persecuted today—carries the wounds upon his feet, hands, and side, God knows what it means to exist in solidarity with all who are being crucified on the crosses of sexism, racism, ethnic discrimination, classism, and heterosexism. Those who suffer under oppression have a God who understands their suffering. Because Jesus suffered oppression on the cross, a divine commitment to stand against injustices exists, a stance believers are called to emulte. In short, to know God is to do justice. To stand by while oppression occurs is to profess nonbelief, regardless of any confession given privately or publicly.
Miguel A. De La Torre, Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians