#NJRR Live: God Not Guns, Non Violence in the Catholic Church
Welcome to #NJRR Live!
Thank you for being here! Tonight we begin by welcoming Christian Perez to our panel to update us on the tumultuous situation in Peru, which is facing a decisive election as COVID runs rampant in the country. The wealthy in Peru have a grasp on the media and control what information gets out into the public. Neither candidate is particularly progressive, but the one on the right is a far more dangerous option for the country (sound familiar?)
Shakima Joins Us Out Of Newark
We are joined by Shakima, who lives in Newark, New Jersey. Newark is an area that is plagued by police violence. Shakima wants to find a balanced solution that looks to examine the whole of the circumstances that result in police violence.
Shakima speaks of a city plagued by exploitation and elitism. She acknowledges the increased rates of crime in the city, making it difficult to go about life feeling safe as an innocent civilian. Without denying the reality of police brutality, Shakima shares that she feels that the police are necessary in Newark in order to ensure safety for the community. According to Shakima, people dumping their trash in Newark has also become a serious issue.
Kathy O’Leary of PAX Christi USA
Our main guest tonight is Kathy O’Leary from PAX Christi USA. PAX Christi is an international Catholic peace movement that works from within the church to affect positive change in the world. Kathy lives her very life by the principles of nonviolent Catholicism. PAX Christi came into existence at the very end of World War II as PAX Christi International. They call for the Catholic Church to become an official Peace Church.
Kathy recognizes that, according to the Bible, we are called as Christians to live nonviolent lives. However, she distinguishes peacefulness from passivity. Christians do not need to lie down and roll over. Nonviolence can present through active resistance through personal choices that affect structures of power. She provides examples of disrupting an unjust social order: not paying taxes; not going to work; or boycotting commerce.
Nonviolence in the Catholic Church
Nonviolence is also the high road. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will reflect positively on you/your organization. People notice when responsible and nonviolent choices are made. Most importantly, you will be able to sleep at night knowing you are a morally sound human being.
Kathy remembers the Bible passage in which Jesus flipped the tables in the temple. This was an example of Jesus reacting to injustice in anger. Kathy also remembers when Jesus reacted to being approached to be arrested by soldiers with swords by saying, “put them away.”
The Power of The Story of Christ
Time has shown us that the winners tend to write history, but the Bible disrupts this trend. The Bible is about the son of an unwed mother married to a day laborer. Yet somehow, pretty much everyone in the world knows who Jesus is. In fact, his is one of the most well-known stories ever. Kathy notes that this speaks to the power of the story of Christ, whether or not one personally believes in the resurrection.
PAX Christi has a website with a link to donate and a link to the Nonviolence Initiative. Kathy also plugs the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which has been engaging with Catholic bishops and other Catholic organizations across the country to support LGBTQ rights.
-Leah Giannantonio, for the Revolution Radio Network
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