Comments 1

  1. I think it would be more helpful to look at how power is used concretely through social and institutional structures that influence our thinking and identity. We should ask what “fruit” each “tree” is producing. When we provide a moral justification for ideas and institutions that we identify with personally we are not being responsible to anyone else impacted by those ideas and institutions. When it comes to things like slavery, segregation, or wars fought in the name of God against “infidels,” the salient fact is that we are justifying the taking of human lives. The church was entirely opposed to violence in its early centuries, but things have slipped a long way since then. Today I am alarmed to hear Christian politicians and other leaders speak of “American exceptionalism” and a “Christian nation” that was founded and “sanctified in the blood” of prior wars — all as a pretext for more warfaring abroad, for turning away refugees, and for turning out other immigrants whose presence will allegedly deprive us of our freedom and wellbeing. The language being used is the language of sacred violence. Killing and other coercive state actions that are justified in theological terms within a zero-sum “us or them” framework present use with a simple ethic: our life, or theirs. There is nothing complicated about it. Either this is wrong, or it isn’t.

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