219: RED CHRISTIANS #25: Frei Betto

@Thanks for visiting the blog called Zingcreed. This key board is really f*cked up (It,s in the British Library) so if odd symbols appear,\don’t bkame me!@ Peter turner, M.A., M.Sc.

Frei Betto was a Brazilian Dominican who played a key role in subverting the western-backed military dictatorship, and in developing the political awareness of the Base Communities. He was well known worldwide for publishing a series of talks with Fidel Castro on religion.
After being a leader of JEC (Catholic Student Youth), he joined the one religious order in |Brazil that had taken onboard liberation theology. Shocked by the poverty of the people and by the military dictatorship, he linked up with a network of Dominicans who actively sympathized with the guerilla movement.(I think this must refer to Marighella‘s merry band, Löwy doesn’t go into detail. P.T.) When repression intensified, Betto helped many revolutionary activists to hide or quietly cross the border into Uruguay or Argentina. This activity earned him a prison sentence from 1969 to 1973. Many of his Dominican friends were tortured during their time in prison. On his release he devoted himself to organizing base communities and to writing about liberation theology. Based in an industrial suburb of Sao Paulo, he gave his support to the new Brazilian trade unionism and his friend Lula’s Workers’ Party (P.T.)

In his book, Betto describes a theological discussion with a police agent:
-How can a Christian collaborate with a communist?
-For me, men are divided not into believers and atheists but between oppressors and oppressed, between those who want to keep this unjust society and those who want to struggle for justice.
-Have you forgotten that Marx considerd religion to be the opium of the people?
-It is the bourgeoisie which has turned religion into an opium of the people by preaching  a God lord of the heavens only, while taking possession of the earth for itself.

Löwy, M. “The War of Gods: Religion and politics in Latin America” Verso (1996) p. 91
Betto, Frei “Blood Baptism.The Dominicans and the death of Carlos Marighella” or “Batismo desangue. Os dominicanos e a morte de Carlos Marighella”

Related Zingcreed Posts:
542: The Christian upbringing of Fidel Castro
543: Red Christian documents #40: The accord between religious doctrines and revolution (Fidel Castro & Frei Betto, 1985)

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