May slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down the violent.
- Psalm 140:11
Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
- Proverbs 3:31
This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’”
- Jeremiah 22:3-5
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
- 1 Timothy 3:1-4
“Almost a century after Jean-Jacques Rousseau claimed that nature was essentially benign, American philosopher Henry Thoreau developed the idea further, arguing that ‘all good things are wild and free’, and that the laws of man suppress rather than protect civil liberties. He saw that political parties were necessarily one-sided, and that their policies often ran contrary to our moral beliefs. For this reason, he believed it was the individuals duty to protest against unjust laws, and argued that passively allowing such laws to be enacted effectively gave them justification. ‘Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it,’ as he said about English grammar, but the principle runs through his political philosophy too.
“ln his essay Civil Disobedience, written in 1849, Thoreau proposes a citizen’s right to conscientious objection through non-cooperation and non-violent resistance which he put into practice by refusing to pay taxes that supported the war in Mexico and perpetuated slavery.
“Thoreau’s ideas contrasted sharply with those of his contemporary Karl Marx, and with the revolutionary spirit in Europe at the time, which called for violent action. But they were later adopted by numerous leaders of movements, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”
- Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) published his most famous book, Walden, in 1954 based on his experiences in communing with nature on Walden Pond. It is odd that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his Concord Hymn in 1837, two decades before, to dedicate the memorial to the Minutemen located across from the Old North Bridge, that rude bridge where the shot was heard around the world. If you travel over the bridge, you will be at the Old Manse, where Emerson had once lived and walking two miles south of the bridge, you will reach Walden Pond. The city of Concord, Massachusetts was located along those two miles. The book makes it seem that Thoreau lived in the middle of nowhere, but he was really just far enough outside town to be “in the woods.” As someone on The Big Bang Theory quipped about another member of the nerdy group of friends, they were thinking outside the box, but right up next to it. Thus was Thoreau.
And another irony here is that the minutemen memorial on one side of town represented the violent protest that gave birth to a nation while the pond, two miles away, has come to represent non-violent protests.
In a panel discussion on one of my favorite television shows, a pastor, who is African-American, stated that the BLM website stands for violent protests and Martin Luther King Jr. insisted on non-violence. The same pastor talked about how Critical Race Theory stood for many things that Martin Luther King Jr. would not approve – the lack of forgiveness and perpetuating that guilt from generation to generation, the insistence of being guilty for something someone else did generations ago even though the person’s ancestors did not participate or even fought against it. And usually in those discussions, the Dream Speech is mentioned where we are moving further from the concept of judging people by their character and perpetuating hatred among the races, although we are all one human race.
The key is that we are further from the MLK ideals now than ever before, due to the loss of two values. We have thrown out any idea of non-violent protest, and we have forgotten God. Whether you agreed with MLK or not, you must admit that he held true to those two values. Martin Luther King Junior once said, “Violence begets violence.”
Even though Thoreau may have been less than a stone’s throw from Concord, now in the middle of town, his observations are important for us today. We should never surrender our conscience, or sell our soul, to a legislator. We have a right and a burden to protest the enactment of unjust laws.
And if we do not make our voice heard, then we become part of the problem.
As I have said many times. Trust God. Trusting our elected leaders will not bring true peace nor will it provide security.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.