It’s typical to assume that danger requires a “fight or flight” response: Either use violence or run away. When applied to foreign policy this leads us to rely on militarism and war. Domestically we end up with people arming themselves, passing “stand your ground” gun laws, and getting into fights.
Movies and much of popular culture (and our foreign policy) rely upon “the Myth of Redemptive Violence,” the notion that prob-lems can be solved only by an ultimate confrontation in which the “good” person uses violence to triumph over the “evil” one. Movies show this as a shootout on a Wild West main street, a car chase resulting in gunfire and explosions, and so forth. In foreign policy we bomb other countries, violently overthrow governments, assassinate foreign leaders, and so forth.
Nonviolence offers a “Third Way.” Instead of “fight or flight,” we can use nonviolent strategies and methods to oppose what is bad and replace it with a just and humane alternative. Nonviolence can require as much courage and risk as violence (e.g., Gandhi, King), but it recognizes that the methods we use will sow the seeds of the new society we want to create. If we seek a peaceful and just society, we must use peaceful and just methods to achieve it.
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s October 2012 interview explains that nonviolence really is practical. For several decades a number of researchers and writers have compiled historical information showing that nonviolence has a long and successful history. We mention some of those and provide resources during this interview. We also offer religious support for nonviolence.
Our guest is Glen Gersmehl, National Coordinator of the Lutheran Peace Fellowship (www.lutheranpeace.org), which is based in Seattle.
To watch this great interview, CLICK HERE.
To read more and see a list of resources at the end, Program Description — October 2012.