by Jay Atkinson

Oppression is subjection through unjust use of force.

The philosophy of oppression, perfected and refined through history as a true culture of injustice is especially understood when this philosophy has become so rooted in the spirits of the oppressors themselves and their ideologies that they are not even aware of their guilt. This is what makes the mark of the beast so easy to take, the pride of ignorance. We believe that there is oppression and that there are the oppressed and the oppressors, the alienators and the alienated, those that have taken the mark of the beast and those who refuse to take the mark. Actually the oppressor is even more alienated as the oppressed. "Yes, the time comes, that whoever kills you will think that he does God service."

Sider: "Legalized oppression is an abomination to our God.. God cares so much for the poor that he will destroy social structures that tolerate and foster great poverty. We sometimes pray for political prisoners in other countries, but we conveniently forget to ask who supports those oppressive governments."
Fromm: "Things which they can take from others always seem better to them than anything they can produce themselves. They use and exploit anybody and anything from whom or from which they can squeeze something."
Thoreau: "But when friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer."
Montaigne: "We have taken advantage of their ignorance and inexperience to bend them more easily to treachery, lust, covetousness, and every kind of inhumanity and cruelty, on the model and after the example of our own manners."
Howard Zinn: "In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli."

It is significant that the biblical theme of God's solidarity with the historical liberation of the oppressed is notably absent in the songs and sermons of today's luke warm pastors. There is a dialectical relationship in which wealth causes and produces poverty, so that one is forced to choose between being with the oppressors or being with the oppressed. In these days it is simply making up your mind which side you wish your heart and mind to be and where you put your hand to task. The church has much more to do before God's kingdom will come. The church must support the struggle of the oppressed from within as they seek to obtain their own liberation. Our minds must not be deluded into thinking that the liberation of the oppressed will be achieved by the conversion of those in power. Many may even be taking the mark in the safety of the prayer closet.

History and prophetic imagery shows us that it is the oppressed who will liberate the oppressor. If we identify with the oppressed, as a matter of course and prophetic fulfillment, the world will reject us; but this rejection will be the clearest proof of our divine mission. The fact is that today one portion of humanity not only oppresses the rest of humanity but also is itself enslaved to nature.

From the very start, the life of Jesus makes it clear that Christian love must be fleshed out historically from within the context of the concrete situation in which human beings find themselves. Seen from the Christian standpoint, it is a situation of sin, injustice, and oppression; of egotism and avarice. Martin Luther King, Jr. had no doubts about the efficacy of his approach in rooting out unjust violence from this world. If five percent of the world's oppressed were willing to go to jail for a just cause, victory would be assured. King wrote in 1967 in his book The Trumpet of Conscience - "Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." "So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead more than the living which are yet alive." "The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." Jesus was firm in the conviction that God does justice; in the end therefore, the oppressor will not prevail but the oppressed will get his rights.
[64, 102, 132, 133, 160, 184, 189, 326, Ecclesiates 4, Psalms 103]

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