So I’ve posted and shared half a hundred articles and memes on Facebook condemning the ongoing resurgence of white supremacists and NeoNazis.
But I have to say it here, too: hell, no.
My Granddaddy gave 4 years of his life to the war against the Nazis, and now we’ve got a president who won’t come out and condemn them when they goose step down American streets chanting “blood and soil?”
If basic decency doesn’t move you, if justice and equality don’t move you, if the horror of repeating the Holocaust doesn’t move you, can you at least not.spit in the faces of your fathers, our grandfathers, who gave so much in World War II?
Though I have not yet been swayed to the point of actual pacifism, I have to say that Kurt Willems’ arguments have profoundly affected me. He’s helped me to reassess my overall attitude towards violence done in my name as an American, the violence in the media that I consume, and the violence in the culture that I create.
And let’s face it, our American culture is awash in violence. We glorify revenge at every turn. Even as Christians, if you look at the time we spend watching violent films and TV, we probably glorify “good guys killing bad guys” more than we glorify God.
So what is the answer? I’m afraid I don’t have the whole answer. I may never have it. But I’ll keep wrestling with it. I know this much for sure:
Even without being convinced of true pacifism, the kind that would not use force to resist a home invader who threatens my pregnant wife, the kind that would not use force to resist the Nazis in World War II – even without taking that (admittedly radical) step … I can commit to pursuing peace today, through:
Questioning the violent actions my government takes, whether declared wars or unilateral (even unmanned) actions
Questioning the level of violence used in our justice system, especially against peaceful protesters and nonviolent offenders
Questioning the violence that is allowed to happen by authorities turning a blind eye or simply being overwhelmed: bullying in schools, beatings and rape in prisons.
Turning the other cheek in personal disputes, refusing to use even verbal ‘violence’
Protesting verbal violence, especially misogynist and racist bullying
Valuing the lives of foreigners in distant nations as much as I do my own, especially if they are civilians
Examining the culture I consume and create, and expunging anything that glorifies violence as a positive good.