30 October 2016

Bearing the Cross in Southern Chile


This article is interesting for many reasons but I post it here because of a line near the end...

Christianity, they argue, has brought many to leave the defence of their social rights.

The Mapuche people are angry because of their social situation and view Evangelical converts as traitors.

Obviously this situation is tragic and I hope the Evangelicals are not part of the state apparatus that has exploited and abused native peoples. But in this case it would seem a special anger is being directed at Mapuche Christians.

Of course if they were in the United States these Mapuche converts would be filing lawsuits and lobbying for political influence and change.

But in Chile they (apparently) abandon the quest for Mapuche civil rights. Christianity for them means embracing a new life and breaking with the worldly concerns of social redress and political power.

On another level it is worth noting that one of the Mapuche grievances involves the cutting down of their forest-lands. While apparently there have been some revisions to the exploitation of the forest, for many years a great deal of the timber is exported to the United States and ends up in places like Home Depot. The lesson here is one of the effects of globalisation. One thinks of how many Christians profit from such arrangements and then what that does to the status of their brethren in other lands. Converting to Christianity means associating (to some degree) with the Empire.

Most American Evangelicals are defiant in this regard. Their commitments are primarily to economic principles rather than an ethic of self-abnegation.

For the people of Chile, they were for many years oppressed by the Pinochet dictatorship which was more or less installed and backed by the United States and its allies. Its collapse in the early 1990s led to new form of domination... Multinational Capitalism. Both during Pinochet and after, Neoliberal economic policies in different forms have brought stress and anguish to many elements of Chilean society.

No comments:

Post a Comment