The legacy of a murdered archbishop and a polarized political situation creates a unique mixture of religion and politics in El Salvador. As I described in Saturday's post, Salvadorans commemorated the 27th anniversary of the assassination of archbishop Romero this weekend. The assassination was ordered by Roberto D' Aubuisson, founder of the ruling ARENA party.
Sunday night I observed in several localities that local FMLN organizations were conducting rallies to commemorate the anniversary of Romero's death. They sponsored public showings of films about Romero and band concerts. Shouts of "Que vive Romero! Que vive Farabundo Marti!" filled the air. The photo at the top of this post is from one of those rallies.
This prompted at friend who was with me to remark that the Romero "trademark" is a powerful one that many groups make use of. I have seen T-shirts for sale, for example, which include together the portraits of Che Guevara, Farabundo Marti (communist leader of failed peasant revolt in 1932) and Schafik Handal (FMLN leader who died last year).
This is a country where the decision by the Vatican to issue a caution regarding the works of a local theologian, Jon Sobrino, is seen in decidedly political terms, because Sobrino's theology of liberation is decidedly political. This is a country where press conferences given by bishops each week on political topics are widely reported in the media.
It's a mixture of God and politics which is uniquely Salvadoran.