Everyone who follows the news understands the unwritten motto, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Often, when we look at the mainstream media, movie industry and social media, we seem to be living in a society that titillates itself with violence. I propose a different motto: “prevents bleeding, worth reading.” We have the teacher Jesus from 2000-plus years ago and other wisdom figures to show us another way, one that says “nonviolence begins with me.”
Ken Butigan, director of Pace e Bene and Father John Dear, a nonviolence activist, define nonviolence in this way: “This word [nonviolence] most effectively characterizes Jesus’ way, a way that combines both an unmistakable rejection of violence and the power of love and truth in action for justice, peace and integrity of creation.”
Jesus’ nonviolence is much more than pacifism that is defined as an opposition to war and/or violence. Nonviolence is activism for justice with peaceful action as the way to achieve peace. Jesus describes it in scripture as turning the other cheek, giving your inner garment, and going the second mile. These were radical ideas in Jesus’ era, when the only options to evil and corrupt power were fight or flight.
As Walter Wink writes in “Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way”: “With Jesus a way emerges by which evil can be opposed without being mirrored.” Nonviolence requires us to lift our heads from the proverbial “ sand” and get involved. We have a fledgling organization right here in the Triangle called “Campaign Nonviolence NC.”
Campaign Nonviolence NC is part of the national Campaign Nonviolence movement – a long-term movement to mainstream nonviolence and foster a culture of peace. This movement was launched nationwide September 2014 by Pace e Bene with 230 nonviolent actions in every state in the nation. The goal for 2017 is to have 1,000 actions. It is a grassroots movement to mainstream active nonviolence using the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. that calls us to become people of nonviolence and to resolve personal and global conflicts nonviolently.
Campaign Nonviolence attempts to deepen the power of nonviolence, including the vision and tools for nonviolent change that Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many other people and movements have activated for social and personal transformation. It combines an unmistakable rejection of violence with the power of love and truth for justice, peace, and care for the earth and a powerful means of struggle and resistance, creativity and compassion, and healing and forgiveness – a way of life and a method for effective change. A culture of nonviolence is not only possible but critically necessary.
Campaign Nonviolence NC is made up of faith and community organizations in the Triangle area working in collaboration to build relationships and to promote peace, economic justice, environmental healing, and effective nonviolent solutions that support a just, peaceful and sustainable world. While envisioning a culture of nonviolence that connects the dots between war, poverty, the climate crisis, and the epidemic of violence, CNV-NC is actively connecting the often separate efforts for change.
None of these monumental challenges will be solved separately. They are intimately connected and must be solved in an integral way. Campaign Nonviolence NC joins with others in envisioning emerging movements that join forces, pool people-power, and work collaboratively in comprehensively addressing these challenges.
In his Message for the World Day of Peace 2017, Pope Francis writes: “May we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities. ... Everyone can be an artisan of peace.” Our vocation to be peacemakers and to help create a world of nonviolence depends on our absorbing the mindset that nonviolence begins with me.
Campaign Nonviolence NC is hosting a variety of events during Campaign Nonviolence NC Week, Sept. 15-23, including A Prayer Vigil for Nonviolence at Sacred Heart Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, (the U.N. International Day of Peace). The theme for the International Day of Peace is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
Prevent bleeding, nonviolence worth heeding.
Barbara Molinari Quinby is the director of Social Justice Ministries at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. Sue Woodling is the chairperson of Campaign Nonviolence NC.
For more local information, please contact CampaignTriangle@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/CampaignNC For information on the national campaign, go to: http://www.paceebene.org/