Liberation theology is a socialist political movement lacking in basis in Christian theology. For example, central to liberation theology is the political concept of "oppression", a term that cannot be found anywhere in Jesus's teachings.
"Liberation theology" arose in the 1960s in Latin America amid military dictatorships there. The phrase was first coined by Peruvian Catholic theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, but the theology has never been adopted by the Catholic Church. The theme of liberation theology is for government to expand programs for the poor, rather than using free enterprise to alleviate poverty.
Liberation theology emphasizes "concientizacion" (roughly, "consciousness-raising") and seeks to change social, economic, and political structures with approaches other than free enterprise. Not merely looking outward, liberation theology seeks to focus the attention of the Church on the poor by creating a special theology for them. Thus, it is a theology as much from "below" as "above." It is often criticized as "Marxist theology," but defenders say that is oversimplified.