“In Brightest Day, In Darkest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight, Let those who Worship Violence’s Might, Beware My Power, Yoder’s NonViolent Light!”
So, io9 reports that the re-introduced Alan Scott (the original Green Lantern, now being put on Earth 2) won his first bad against One Million Moms who attempted an online petition against DC Comics making a comic book character from the GLBTQ community. 1MM is temporarily off of Facebook, because, in the Culture Wars, if you lose, its seen as a shame, but they will be back. In Christianity, we see Culture Wars as a war of efficiency, if we can only get the majority in this industry and that industry, it’s like a high school with popularity contests. Efficiency is placed over faithfulness, as John Howard Yoder so long ago pointed out in his ground-breaking The Politics Of Jesus.
In Yoder’s The War of the Lamb:The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking, he makes several points that I believe are highly relevant to Christian approaches to politics, and in particular, the culture wars over human sexuality. Taking a Radical Reformation (Anabaptist) Realist approach to politics, Yoder argues in “Gospel Renewal and the Roots of Nonviolence” that “Recourse to an ancient charter need not to be antiquarian, nor need to deny continuing historical change; however, it does affirm that the movement called upon to undergo reformation has a normative foundation within history, which it is possible to deny and therefore also possible to reaffirm” (page 44). I think this is especially pertinent when we talk about the debates over traditional marriage. Groups such as 1MM more often than not, have a theological bias against historical criticism (and therefore changes) in the biblical narrative including the norms about marriage. Plural marriage, concubines, and forced marriages between captive foreign women are all in the Bible, but Right Wing culture warriors [as a side note, being a culture warrior is not an exclusively bad thing, in my view, conflict is part of life, being en la lucha] act as we do not have to deal with these histories. On the opposite side, I continue to have my reservations about comparing the marriage equality movement to the fight against anti-miscegenation laws; there is a HUGE difference between racism/racial identity bound by biology and pseudo-scientific arguments and arguments about a person’s identifying themselves according to his/her sexual non/behavior.
This leads me to Yoder’s second point, found in another essay “Conflict from the Perspective of Anabaptist History and Theology,” and that is, if conflict resolution is to be personal, with reconciling intent, rooted in (from a Christian context) Christian Community, then conflict is best resolved through ritual (page 143-144). Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and confession may be among the first three that come to mind. But if we think about the stories in Genesis 1-3, the conflict after the Fall between men and women, from a narrative stand point, needs resolution. Christian marriage as a nonviolent sacrament between one man and woman should be seen as the way forward, as I have previously argued [linked here].
Lastly, and I think this last suggestion is a call for even more hard work, is for Christianities to accept the risk of dialogue. This risk recognizes the the ever crucial Gospel paradigm of enemy love as an extension of neighborly love (111-112). This means in the course of dialogue, for both sides Right or Left, to honor the way in which the Other understands themselves (of course, Yoder does not recognize the need for certain limits, such as the need to ban hateful speech promoting violence against the Othered and minorities). Dialogue on either end DOES NOT mean that we are lending credibility to one side or the other side, but it may mean that we are willing to use the language of other persons who bear the Image of God, in recognition of the person’s human dignity as a gift of the Triune Creator.