Professor T. Bassett
February 27, 2012
The Idea of Helping the Poor through Liberation Theology
Tracy Kidder’s Mountains beyond Mountains details Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti. Not only does it talk about him, but it also talks about his patients and the challenges he faced trying to attend to them and their needs. Liberation theology is giving preferential option to the poor because everyone should be treated equally. The rich already have everything and can afford everything, but the people who are in poverty are very limited to what they can obtain. Farmer talks about how, “God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he’s not the one who’s supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge was laid upon us” (Kidder 79). Farmer is expressing his concern for the poor and the fact that he views it as our duty to help them. He argues humans should help out the poor because they are the reason that poverty is created in the world. Farmer’s work in Haiti is an act of social justice and relates to the idea of liberation theology by giving the preservation of individual liberty and dignity, providing special needs to the poor, and sacrificing for the poor.
The idea of preservation of individual liberty and dignity is exemplified by what Farmer does for his patients. Farmer installed a blood bank in Leogane, but did not stay there when it was installed. Later on he finds out that the blood bank was charging every patient who needs blood. This was not the goal of Dr. Farmer, “I’m going to build my own fucking hospital. And there’ll be none of that there, thank you” (Kidder 81). The main reason why a blood bank was created was to give blood at no charge to the patients that needed it the most. Farmer exemplifies the idea of social justice and giving the poor equal opportunity, and by building his own blood bank for the people in Haiti. He treats each of his patients like family, by giving them...