By Elizabeth Drescher
Originally posted 9/17/12 at Religion Dispatches
Last week’s killings of Americans in Libya has sparked new reflection on the relationship between religion, politics, and violence. Among many thoughtful responses to the attacks that challenge the mind-numbing cravenness of the Romney campaign’s response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks have perhaps most clearly defined the intimate relationship between religious faith and peacemaking at the heart of both political diplomacy and world religions:
In times like these, it can be easy to despair that some differences are irreconcilable, some mountains too steep to climb; we will therefore never reach the level of understanding and peacefulness that we seek, and which I believe the great religions of the world call us to pursue. But that’s not what I believe, and I don’t think it’s what you believe either here tonight. Part of what makes our country so special is we keep trying. We keep working.Yet, though violence on the international stage has now captured our attention, our continued efforts toward peace surely being at home, where in the space of just a bit more than a month, from July 20 to August 24, 33 people were killed and another 99 were wounded in a series of mass shootings—a summer of the gun.
On each deadly occasion, there have been passionate, if woefully brief, conversations about the need to reexamine gun regulation in the United States, particularly with regard to the lapsed ban on assault weapons and laws protecting interstate and, by extension, online ammunition sales.
Perhaps Chris Hedges is right: “We have created and live in a world where violence has become the primary form of communication.” Which leaves us where with regard to a national conversation on violence? Dead in the water?
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