Another presidential campaign season is upon us, with all its ugly divisiveness and demonizing of politicians who don’t share one’s own views. How is a Christian to live out Jesus’ command to love one another (John 13:34) in such times?
In the early 1980s, as a newly baptized Catholic, I plunged into a study of the spirituality of nonviolence. What pushed me was a pastoral letter issued by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in May, 1983: The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, written in the context of the Cold War’s nuclear arms race. As a baby Catholic, I soaked in every word of the first official church document I’d read. What especially struck me, and with revelatory force, was the bishops’ assertion that nonviolence “best reflects the call of Jesus both to love and to justice.”