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Liberation theology is a Christian political movement founded in Latin America but extended to the rest of the Third World. The term was coined in 1971 by Peruvian Roman Catholic priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, writer of one of the movement's chief texts, A Theology of Liberation (1972), though Protestants are involved as well as Roman Catholics. Liberation theology is about a faith based and compassionate response to environmental destruction, inequality, oppression, poverty and war.  
The idea itself goes back to the colonial era, but became invigorated during the 1950s. One of the most famous proponents of liberation theology was Archbishop Óscar Romero, who became known as "the bishop of the poor" and was assassinated during El Salvador's civil war in 1980 . Other influential early figures were Gustavo Gutiérrez, Hugo Assmann, and Leonardo Boff. Social revolution was seen as theologically significant. 
 Poverty is oppression
Liberation theology claim that the root of poverty is sin within society, specifically oppression and injustice against the poor, and that practice (or praxis) -- taking action against poverty and the sin that lies at its root -- is as important as doctrine. (Contrast the Protestant idea of sola scriptura.) It asserts that the Church can better meet the needs of the poor by decentralizing itself, and that God has a preference for those who are marginalized in society (the "preferential option for the poor"). Liberation theology is about liberating opressed people so they can choose their own destiny.
The Brazilian group CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Conference) was one of the major groups supporting LT-style ideas, though it never explicitly called itself such due to the fact that the Vatican was officially opposed to LT. It pushed the Second Vatican Council towards a more socially oriented stance in the early '60s.
Liberation theology is opposed by the Roman Catholic Church and other religious critics (such as Glenn Beck) on the basis that it is Marxist. Supporters of LT, in turn, charge that the reason why the Church opposes it is not because of theology, but because it threatens their material interests, and because the Church had ties to right-wing dictatorships in Latin America.
 Not big fans
Needless to say, supporters of liberation theology are not big fans of Christian economics.
 See also
- ↑ This contrasts with the American Religious right who see environmentalism as liberal and against their Christian values.
- ↑ Introduction and Overview of Liberation Theology ; Liberation Theology: Religious Response to Social Problems. A Survey
- ↑ Archbishop Oscar Romero profile, U.S. Catholic
- ↑ A Concise History of Liberation Theology
- ↑ "Glenn Beck sticks 'liberation theology' label on Obama's Christianity." The Christian Science Monitor. Aug 25, 2010.