Saturday, October 20, 2012

And the Violent Bear It Away

There is no place for violence. But violence has no mind, so it doesn't mind. It makes its own spot and throws everything else to the ground. It is the ultimate parasite, feeding and growing and bloodying itself while sucking the world dry. The Great Impaler. The Alpha and Omega of vampires.

Violence is unremittingly evil. It is a scourge, and it doesn't matter who commits it nor whom receives it nor whether or not the recipients "deserved" it or not in this regard: It is always an evil.**

Always. Every time.

Violence shows itself unremittingly and unforgivably in every battle field, through each bomb, in each bullet, via each threat or word or war.

But war is not the only form of violence.

Rape is violence.*
Poverty is violence.
Subduing is violence.
Child abuse is violence.
Apartheid is violence.
Prison is violence.
Rape culture is violence.
Emotional abuse is violence.
Police brutality is violence.
Racism is violence.
Sexism is violence.
Verbal abuse is violence.
Patriarchialism is violence.
Segregation is violence.
Apartheid is violence.
Pollution is violence.
Hitting is violence.**

Can we agree that, whether or not violence should ever happen, that when it does happen, it is wrong and evil? Can we come to terms that violence should be avoided as much as possible? Can we at least agree that we need to reduce violence, that our children should not have to be subject to repeat violence and that the effects of violence upon us and particularly our children is damaging to individuals as well as in social functions?

Can we see to it that violence is mitigated? Can there be a social force rising from deliberate and vigilant groups and communities of people to meet and turn these forms of violence on their heads? Who will rise? What will our answer for violence be? Who has the answer? And what does that answer look like?

Seriously. I wanna know.
*This includes any form of non-consensual, coercive sex between an adult and another adult. Child molestation, bestiality, date rape, and - to a certain extent - forcing your spouse/significant other to have sex with you or risk incurring God's wrath. I'm looking at you, Mark Driscoll and any fellow Complementarian Christians who teach this.

**I want to make a very important distinction here. The effect of violence needs to be accounted for in terms of power, and that is what I wanted to get to here. The power that a colonial/imperialist nation commits over tribes or adults over children or men over women or police over civilians, etc. Defending oneself from a clear and present danger - unless done in a lethal manner - should not be construed a form of violence in itself and - when it causes less overall violence than what would or could be done without defending self (or neighbor), then it is a good. But this gets more complex and may need some more clarification and nuance throughout. More than I can give here. The rape victim should never feel responsible - for instance - for not being able to prevent her or his own rape - yet that is often what the victim hears when such arguments are aired. So... I would like to continue this conversation in the comments section. Please, let's continue this conversation.


  1. Thanks for posting. you seem completely correct to me. Violence is a good word for anti-loving behavior that harms others and often stems from human need for power. And yes if a violent person or force is attacking me I may need to use force to resist that person.

    How do people live with being violent? I've often wondered that too.

    But I see it all the time, if you broaden to mean verbal/emotional violence. Christians often seem to be perfectly guilt-free about demeaning people they don't agree with, in an anti-loving way that stems from a need for power. Ouch!

  2. referenced your post in mine at .


Be kind. Rewind.