Resist not evil today

I’m thinking more about what resist not evil means today. Yesterday’s post related to what Henry Cadbury said during the time of Hitler:

“By hating Hitler and trying to fight back,” Cadbury said, “Jews are only increasing the severity of his policies against them.” He went on: “If Jews throughout the world try to instill into the minds of Hitler and his supporters recognition of the ideals for which the race stands, and if Jews appeal to the German sense of justice and the German national conscience, I am sure the problem will be solved more effectively and earlier than otherwise.” 

Looking back on those days, most people believe Hitler and the Nazi’s were only able to do what they did because the citizenry did not speak out against what was happening. It is assumed people remained silent for one of two reasons, or both. One being they feared the consequences. They saw what happened to those who did speak out, which included being ostracized, losing their jobs or businesses, and/or being imprisoned or sent to the death camps. The other reason was they did believe Jewish people were a threat and deserved to be punished.

Henry Cadbury believed the Jewish people should have appealed to the German sense of justice and national conscience. Then those Germans would have stood up for the Jewish people, and prevented the Nazis from acquiring power.  The death camps would not have happened.

Many probably think that is naive and could not have worked. But that is what nonviolence is about, connecting with those you are hoping to change. Listening deeply and being willing to change yourself. This is also what faith is about, believing in the presence of God today. Believing that as you listen closely you will be guided by the Inner Light. Believing somehow God will find a way. I think this is expressed well in the following, and applies to faith as well as hope:

“People often mistake hope for a feeling, but it’s not. It’s a mental discipline, an attentional practice that you can learn. Like any such discipline, it’s work that takes time, which you fail at, succeed, improve, fail at again, and build over years inside yourself.

Hope isn’t just looking at the positive things in this world, or expecting the best. That’s a fragile kind of cheerfulness, something that breaks under the weight of a normal human life. To practice hope is to face hard truths, harder truths than you can face without the practice of hope. You can’t navigate dark places without a light, and hope is that light for humanity’s dark places.Hope lets you study environmental destruction, war, genocide, exploitative relations between peoples. It lets you look into the darkest parts of human history, and even the callous entropy of a universe hell bent on heat death no matter what we do. When you are disciplined in hope, you can face these things because you have learned to put them in context, you have learned to swallow joy and grief together, and wait for peace.” IT IS BITTER TEA THAT INVOLVES YOU SO: A SERMON ON HOPE April 30, 2018 by Quinn Norton

There a many disturbing signs that the current Republican administration is trying to acquire similar power, moving steadily along an increasingly authoritarian path. The core supporters, like the Germans of the time of the Nazis, feel they are victims and are looking at President Trump as the leader who will help them get back what they feel has been taken from them. They want to see those who they feel are responsible for their worsening conditions, punished.  They applaud his destruction of the norms of our society.

Do we have the faith and courage to engage with Trump’s supporters? Can we find creative ways to get past the blind support they have for their leader?

One of the main divides today seems to be between those who live in urban areas versus those who live in rural parts of the country. One of the reasons I want to participate in the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March is that one of the goals is to try to bridge that divide.

“The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March will connect people from urban centers with rural residents to share stories and concerns regarding the abuse of eminent domain, climate change and a range of other issues. With the polarization in our country, it is more important than ever that these opportunities to meet and talk happen. Our  allies are eager to share stories that may be unfamiliar to people in rural communities. Similarly, we want to give people in the towns we walk through a chance to share their stories, not just about how climate change is affecting them but stories about challenges facing farmers and others who live and work in rural Iowa.”

The following video is of the 2017 Climate Justice Unity March that is a powerful example of how this actually worked out.

Crossing the Divide

“An Iowa farmer reacts strongly but has a change of heart when climate activists march into his tiny town.

Disrespect is poisoning American society, jeopardizing informed debate and destabilizing democracy. This is a story about how two groups on either side of the political divide get caught up in a firestorm of disrespect, sparked by a Confederate flag and an attack video funded by a pipeline company. Then, almost miraculously, they find common ground. Their unlikely alliance shows how hard it is to change entrenched beliefs yet how important it is to try.”

climate march poster


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