upper room daily devotions

Friday, October 13, 2006

the amish, violence, and christianity

The nation stood still in horror when a man attacked children at a small Amish school house. How could someone do that to children, to Amish children? Sister Joan Chittister writes about the experience in the National Catholic Reporter in an article called "What kind of people are these?" The school is now gone, to be replaced by a pasture. It was demolished by a people who want no monument to the violence that might invite gawkers or tourists.

Progressive Christians have the opportunity to stand firmly against violence and the enticing lure of retribution. When our hearts are wounded and our souls broken it is tempting to believe that coercion or violence will lead us out of the pain, but that road inevitably leads to more woundedness. Whether faced with nuclear arms build up in North Korea, a dead-end policy in Iraq (655,000 Iraqis now dead, over 3,000 Americans now dead), or school shootings in the United States we have options of how to repond. We do not have to respond to violence with violence. Will we continue to act from places that embrace violence or from places that embrace the gospel that has transformed our lives?

Joan Chittister: "The country that went through the rabid slaughter of children at Columbine high school several years ago once again stood stunned at the rampage in a tiny Amish school this month.

We were, in fact, more than unusually saddened by this particular display of viciousness. It was, of course, an attack on 10 little girls. Amish. Five dead. Five wounded. Most people called it "tragic." After all, the Amish represent no threat to society, provide no excuse for the rationalization of the violence so easily practiced by the world around them.

Nevertheless, in a nation steeped in violence..." (more)
Sister Joan Chittister is a Benedictine Sister of Erie who writes about women's issues, justice, and peace.

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