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CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS - Luis Leon on the Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez

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Streamed live on May 13, 2015

Interview with University of Prof. Luis Leon on his new book THE POLITICAL THEOLOGY OF CESAR CHAVEZ (University of California Press, 2014). Despite the canonical teachings on Chavez to the contrary, the late social crusader was an organic intellectual who developed deft tactics and strategies for affecting social change. Key among them was his public role as prophet of a national faith, or a distinctly North American religious politics—an identity he consciously modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., though he adjusted the prophetic form to meet his specific contexts. Hence, he looked to Gandhi's teachings on non-violence, or ahimsa. He also drew from his own Catholic background—especially traditions of social justice and worker's rights. However, his was not an exclusively Catholic movement. Like the religion of the nation state, it was broadly ecumenical but adhered mostly to a classically liberal Judeo-Catholic hybrid. Leon's thesis is that Chavez public faith was an adept expression of his political work.

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