Select a category
Nonviolent-Resistance

"We struggle by rendering operative the force of love in the battle of liberation. Active nonviolence is a response, a step forward (whether the world realizes it or not) that is based on the gospel. Nonviolence is a way of answering evil and injustice with truth, and hate with love. For truth and love are the weapons of the spirit in the face of repression. Nonviolence is not passivity or conformism. It is a spirit and a method. It is a spirit of prophecy, for it denounces all sundering of a community of brothers and sisters and proclaims that this community can only be rebuilt through love. And it is a method — an organized set of ruptures in the civil order so as to disturb the system responsible for the injustices we see around us. Here we see the power of the dispossessed, the weapon of the poor. The struggle, then, will be the people’s struggle. Here is participation indeed. Here is no elitist contest, no partisan struggle. The means will include boycotts, strikes, noncooperation, civil disobedience, hunger strikes, and many other actions."
   - Adolfo Perez Esquivel ; Christ in a Poncho


"The women’s movement displays its real strength when it presents a vision of life that differs from the prevailing one. Women will become strong when they stop worshiping the golden calves that men worship: unlimited economic growth, national security, the balance of terror . . . We shall become free only when we beat our swords into plowshares, as Isaiah says, and when we learn to operate irrigation systems, not tanks. We shall be free and we shall be women only when we join forces with life against production for death and the ongoing preparation for murder. We shall not become free by retiring into the private sphere and saying, ‘Count me out,’ nor shall we become free by conforming to a society that holds its generals and millionaires in particularly high regard. We shall become free when we learn to work for peace actively, deliberately, and militantly."
   - Dorothee Sölle ; Of War and Love


"Neutrality in a situation of oppression always supports ports the status quo. Reduction of conflict by means of a phony 'peace' is not a Christian goal. Justice is the goal, and that may require an acceleration of conflict flict as a necessary stage in forcing those in power to bring about genuine change."    - Walter Wink ; Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets)


"I intended to show that nonviolence will be effective, but not until it has achieved the massive dimensions, the disciplined planning, and the intense commitment of a sustained, direct-action movement of civil disobedience on the national scale. The dispossessed of this nation — the poor, both white and black — live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty."
   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; The Trumpet of Conscience


"As we gather at tables, grieving the state of our nation, may we gain spiritual strength for the journey ahead, drawing on the deepest wells of wisdom from those on whose shoulders we stand and the various faith traditions that have fueled their freedom march and continue to energize ours. In the spirit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. King, may the pioneers of the civil rights movement collaborate with the young leaders in Ferguson, New York City and other cities, and may they impart their knowledge and understanding of nonviolent resistance that is not passive, but is spiritually active with an abiding faith that the universe is on the side of justice, and that, in the end, love will triumph over evil. May this spiritual strength, fueled by prophetic fire and love, reveal to us our neighbors’ humanity, our own complicity in their suffering and liberate us once and for all from the history that continues to enslave us."    - Peter Heltzel and Cornel West ; A Thanksgiving Prayer


Here I should say that the person who had the most impact on my life at that time, by his way of living his Christianity, was Martin Luther King, Jr. I carried a little picture of him with me. There were photos of him on the walls of my room. I looked at Martin Luther King as a very special human being — someone very consistent. I’d taken steps to get him to visit Chile before I came back to the United States, and he’d accepted, but he didn’t make it. He was killed. I always thought of Martin Luther King as a kind of reproach to myself, because I was so afraid to follow in his footsteps. I looked on him as a guide, as a standard.
   - Miguel D’Escoto ; Quoted in Ministers of God, Ministers of the People.


A theology of love cannot afford to be sentimental. It cannot afford to preach edifying generalities about charity, while identifying ‘peace’ with mere established power and legalized violence against the oppressed. A theology of love cannot be allowed merely to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, justifying their wars, their violence and their bombs, while exhorting the poor and underprivileged to practice patience, meekness, longsuffering, and to solve their problems, if at all, nonviolently. A theology of love may also conceivably turn out to be a theology of revolution. In any case, it is a theology of resistance, a refusal of the evil that reduces a brother or sister to homicidal desperation . . .  Instead of preaching the Cross for others and advising them to suffer patiently the violence which we sweetly impose on them, with the aid of armies and police, we might conceivably recognize the right of the less fortunate to use force, and study more seriously the practice of nonviolence and humane methods on our own part when, as it happens, we possess the most stupendous arsenal of power the world has ever known.
   - Thomas Merton ; Toward a Theology of Resistance


[Nonviolence] does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means the pitting of one's whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honour, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for that empire's fall or its regeneration.
   - Mohandas Gandhi ; Young India; January 8, 1920, p.3


"The higher level is mass civil disobedience. There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point. That interruption must not, however, be clandestine or surreptitious. It is not necessary to invest it with guerrilla romanticism. It must be open and, above all, conducted by large masses without violence. If the jails are filled to thwart it, its meaning will become even clearer. Boycotting buses in Montgomery, demonstrating in Birmingham, the citadel of segregation, and defying guns, dogs, and clubs in Selma, while maintaining disciplined nonviolence, totally confused the rulers of the South. If they let us march, they admitted their lie that the black man was content. If they shot us down, they told the world they were inhuman brutes. They tried to stop us by threats and fear, the tactic that had long worked so effectively. But nonviolence had muzzled their guns and Negro defiance had shaken their confidence. When they finally reached for clubs, dogs, and guns, they found the world was watching, and then the power of nonviolent protest became manifest. It dramatized the essential meaning of the conflict and in magnified strokes made clear who was the evildoer and who was the undeserving victim. The nation and the world were sickened and through national legislation wiped out a thousand Southern laws, ripping gaping holes in the edifice of segregation."
   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; The Trumpet of Conscience


"To question and rebel means to organize resistance. What we need now and what we will need in the coming years is a broad, comprehensive resistance movement against militarism, a movement that includes members of every political grouping from the center to the left. We have to take up the cause of peace, take sides with life, interfere nonviolently and illegally. I think we can learn the most for our purposes from the liberation struggles in the Third World. I have been given a leaflet from the resistance movement in Chile, a leaflet that can be distributed there only at the risk of one’s life. These Chileans are reflecting on their situation, on what it means to live under a dictatorship and what is happening to them as a result. I think we can adopt a great deal of what they say, for they say: ‘Rebel! Don’t cooperate with death! Choose life!’ They also say: ‘Don’t let them steal away your soul! Amen!’"
   - Dorothee Sölle ; Of War and Love


"There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of its way. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed . . .  Disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds. They need brigades of ambulance drivers who will have to ignore the red lights of the present system until the emergency is solved. Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full."
   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; The Trumpet of Conscience


"We in the West must bear in mind that the poor countries are poor primarily because we have exploited them through political or economic colonialism. Americans in particular must help their nation repent of her modern economic imperialism. But movements in our countries alone will not be enough. In Latin America, for example, national reform movements have almost despaired of nonviolent methods; many young men, even many priests, have joined guerrilla movements in the hills. So many of Latin America’s problems have roots in the United States of America that we need to form a solid, united movement, nonviolently conceived and carried through, so that pressure can be brought to bear on the capital and government power structures concerned, from both sides of the problem at once. I think that may be the only hope for a nonviolent solution in Latin America today; and one of the most powerful expressions of nonviolence may come out of that international coalition of socially aware forces, operating outside government frameworks."
   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; The Trumpet of Conscience


This is intended as a call to resistance so that we can learn deliberate violation of the rules, nonviolent illegality, and civil disobedience together. It is possible to violate laws and regulations governing property without committing violence against human beings. Our imaginations in this area are underdeveloped. If we want to take part in liberation movements, then the militarism that dominates us is our main enemy.
   - Dorothee Sölle ; Of War and Love


Violence simply is not radical enough, since it generally changes only the rulers but not the rules. What use is a revolution that fails to address the fundamental problem: the existence of domination in all its forms, and the myth of redemptive violence that perpetuates it?    - Walter Wink ; Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets)


Violence lence is not an absolute evil to be avoided at all costs. It is not even the main problem, lem, but only the presenting symptom of an unjust society. And peace is not the highest good; it is rather the outcome of a just social order.    - Walter Wink ; Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets)


The issue is not, "What must I do in order to secure my salvation?" but rather, "What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?" It is not, "How can I be virtuous?" But "How can I participate in the struggle of the oppressed for a more just world?"    - Walter Wink ; Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets)


A proper translation of Jesus' teaching would then be, "Don't strike back at evil (or, one who has done you evil) in kind." "Do not retaliate against violence with violence." The Scholars Version is brilliant: liant: "Don't react violently against the one who is evil." Jesus was no less committed to opposing evil than the anti-Roman Roman resistance fighters. The only difference was over the means to be used: how one should fight evil. There are three general responses to evil: (1) passivity, (2) violent opposition, and 3) the third way of militant non-violence violence articulated by Jesus.    - Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets) ; Walter Wink


Why then does he counsel these already humiliated people to turn the other cheek? Because this action robs the oppressor of the power to humiliate. The person who turns the other cheek is saying, in effect, "Try again. Your first blow failed to achieve its intended effect. I deny you the power to humiliate me. I am a human being just like you. Your status does not alter that fact. You cannot demean me."    - Walter Wink ; Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets)


The argument that resistance to the war should remain strictly nonviolent seems to me overwhelming. As a tactic, violence is absurd. No one can compete with the government in this arena, and the resort to violence, which will surely fail, will simply frighten and alienate some who can be reached, and will further encourage the ideologists and administrators of forceful repression. What is more, one hopes that participants in nonviolent resistance will themselves become human beings of a more admirable sort.    - Noam Chomsky ; The Essential Chomsky (p. 68)


"Through nonviolent resistance we shall be able to oppose the unjust system and at the same time love the perpetrators of the system."

   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart


Copyright Renewed Heart Ministries 2017.
All rights reserved.