Written By: Pastor Geoffrey V. Guns
During the month November cities, towns, and counties across the state will hold elections to elect representatives to the Virginia House of Delegates. This is considered to be an off year election because the country is not voting for the office of President of the United States. One of the political realities of these elections is the failure of large numbers of registered voters to go to the polls and vote. Many people have become so
disillusioned by the landscape of their communities that they see no viable solution to the problems of poverty, crime, addiction, health care, education, and job creation.
The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the bling, to set free those who are oppressed.Luke 4:18 NABS
We bemoan the people who are elected as only interested in a single demographic group, that is the people with money and influence. The reason that they have influence with local political leaders is that they court their favor. How, by contributing to their campaigns and helping them to win elections. Once in office, politicians then become beholden to the people who helped finance their campaigns, not the people who voted for them. This is how the American political system works. When African Americans do not contribute financially to the campaigns of their representatives they release them to be bought by the highest contributor to their campaigns. Look at who wins the local government contracts.
In 1979 I took a course in “Liberation Theology.” Two of the books we read were written by prominent liberation theologians, one a Brazilian Priest by the name of Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed and the other an African American, J. Deotis Roberts, A Black Political Theology. My thinking and theology were both significantly influenced by their theology regarding the cause of oppression and the means by which liberation is achieved. Jesus came to set free those who are oppressed. His ministry must be seen against the back drop of the Roman occupation of Israel and the economic suppression of the masses by wealthy landowners.
Luke 4:18 (NASB) “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE
CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE
Paulo Freire wrote, “In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform (page 35)” During the 1960s and early 70s Black Power was seen as a threat to the social well-being of American society, hence oppression took on new forms and adopted new strategies. The failure to enact immigration reform, decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marihuana, the expansion of the prison industrial complex, voter ID laws, the failure to expand Medicaid, and lack of will to increase the minimum wage all support the continuation of oppression. Are we helpless? No!