Political Theology Today A forum for interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue

All posts tagged Violence

american sniper

Hollywood Violence and Christ’s Kenotic Counter-Example (Jacob Given)

The core of the Christian message, that Jesus liberates us from oppression and demonstrates a means of non-violent resistance to evil through his example, is not often portrayed in Hollywood. More often than not, force is met with force, violence with violence. In blockbuster films, explosions, car-chases, and raw spectacles of destruction predominate, and for good reason—violence sells.

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SmithWeirdAppr

John Brown: Madman? Terrorist? Righteous warrior? (Peter Ochs)

Ted Smith delivers an unprecedented thesis about Brown’s violent assault on slaveholders as the human side of a “divine violence.” From beyond the limits of any earthly system of political justice and social ethics, this is a divine judgment against the validity of an entire system of political ethics. Addressed, for one, to American ethicists today — both those who teach and study in the university and those who voice their ethical judgments on street corners, in churches, and across the Sunday dinner table — Smith’s words, while gently spoken, deliver their own report of divine judgment.

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Courtroom Sketch of Officer Stephen Sullivan, Defendant in Bumpurs Trial, 1985.
Museum of the City of New York

No Justice, No Peace: Reflections on the Tragedy of Ferguson

Three years before, Eleanor Bumpurs had been shot. A sixty-six year old black woman shot by a white police officer. Shot twice. With a shotgun. In her home. A case against the police officer wound through the courts in fits and starts. In 1987 the officer was acquitted. It was then, on the streets in front of the courthouse, that the press recorded for the first time the chant, “no justice, no peace.”

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gaza destruction

Gaza, Ukraine, and the Limits of International Law (Paul W. Kahn)

Since World War II, the primary ambition of international humanitarian law — the law of armed conflict — has been to insulate military violence from the civilian population. Military forces are required to identify themselves as such, by wearing clearly marked uniforms, and to discriminate in their selection of targets: They cannot deliberately attack noncombatants or infrastructure that has no military use.

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captain america shield

A Retrospective on a Righteous Pagan: The Political Theology of Captain America, Pt. 2 (by Benjamin Wood)

The myth of Captain America introduces us to a serious quandary. Can liberal democracy be de-coupled from violence or is it doomed to repeat old battles? For Christians the question is doubtless a complex one. The Church can doubtless find much in Rogers’s democratic creed to admire; his sense of self-sacrifice, his public spirit and sense of civic duty. There is something of the righteous pagan in the Captain America myth which should not be lightly dismissed.

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captain america

A Retrospective on a Righteous Pagan: The Political Theology of Captain America, Pt. 1 (by Benjamin Wood)

On the surface Captain American: the Winter Soldier is a cinematic triumph of patriotic romanticism. Whatever injury has been done to the American psyche in the early part of the twenty-first century, Marvel has done its best to bind these wounds and produce a tour de force of idealism for a less than idealistic age. Captain America has done for democratic virtue what the West Wing did for American government.

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Jesse Washington Lynch Mob

The Politics of the Mob—John 19:1-16a (Alastair Roberts)

The contagious violence of a frenzied mob brings about the sentencing of Jesus to crucifixion by Pilate. The operations of the scapegoat mechanism are revealed in the record of these events and, as we reflect upon them, we will learn to identify its operations within our political life. In Christ we find an alternative model for desire, which can enable us to resist the seduction of unity through violence.

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