On War – and Its Effects on Humans

Quotes from the e-newsletter I get from Information Clearing House. … the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret. -Robert Parry, investigative reporter and author … Continue reading

Algeria and India – A Comparison of Violent and Non-Violent Resistance.

Algeria We watched the documentary-style classic The Battle of Algiers for the first time the other night. After 130 years of being the colonial rulers in Algeria, in 1957 the French became targets of a sudden and violent terrorist uprising among the native Muslim population of the city. It was brutally crushed by French terrorism including quarantine of whole sections of the city, torture, and assassination. I am not an expert at all on these events. But … Continue reading

Was Jesus Violent? The Temple Money-Changers Incident

One incident often comes up in discussions of Jesus and the generally non-violent flavor of his teaching – the time (or two) when he overthrew money-changer’s tables in the temple compound in Jerusalem. [Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, John 2:8] I am assuming that the reports are accurate. I would like to point out a few things – to help us avoid the idea that Jesus here promoted the kinds of violence we tend to indulge in. BACK THEN … Continue reading

“Turn the Other Cheek” means “Resist Them Non-Violently”

I. THE PROBLEM [See a summary of this post.] Matthew 5:38-42 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Is it ever appropriate for Christians to resist authority? Many of us feel there is much in the behavior of our national leaders that cries out for criticism and resistance. Are Christians permitted to do that? Does “turn the other cheek” mean we should be doormats? “Doormat” was not Jesus’ style, nor the style of his followers … Continue reading

Martin Luther King on War, from a Sermon

Here are excerpts from a sermon by Martin Luther King, primarily on war. There are some very potent remarks here. He was referring primarily to the Vietnam mess, but the remarks travel very well to our current behavior. (This is gratefully lifted from Ari’s recent valuable post in the Forum.) “I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the “Vietcong” or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life? “ … Continue reading