Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cultural Violence and Gay-Bashing: Four Quotations for Your Consideration

Four quotations for your consideration, from thought-provoking works I've read, bookmarked, and annotated over the years — all on the theme of violence, where it comes from, its roots in religious ideology, and its manifestation as attacks on LGBT persons: 

Albert Borgmann, Crossing the Postmodern Divide (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1982):

What [Joan] Rothschild's collection [Machina ex Dea] points up is the conjunction of violence and vacuity that characterizes the modern relation to reality (p. 51).

Margaret Farley, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (NY: Continuum, 2006):

Gay bashing, as both church leaders and ethicists agree, is not a trivial matter; nor does it exist alone without attachment to multiple forms of avoidance as well as multiple forms of violence. Lodged in taboos and myths, the physical and verbal bashing of homosexuals is a greater danger to society — both as a violation of individuals' deep-seated human rights and a threat to human decency and the common good — than any feared approval or encouragement of homosexual lifestyles (293). 

Philip Greven, Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse (NY: Random House/Vintage, 1990):

Religious rationales for physical punishments have been, and remain, among the most powerful and influential theoretical justifications for violence known in the Western world. For generations, they have woven the threads of pain and suffering into the complex fabric of our characters and our cultures (p. 94). 

Johan Galtung, "Cultural Violence," Journal of Peace Research 27, 3 (Aug., 1990), pp. 291-305:

By 'cultural violence' we mean those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence — exemplified by religion and ideology. language and art, empirical science and formal science (logic, mathematics) — that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or 'structural violence.' Stars, crosses and crescents; flags, anthems and military parades; the ubiquitous portrait of the Leader; inflammatory speeches and posters — all these come to mind.

And in a synopsis of this article preceding this defintion of cultural violence, Galtung adds, 

'Cultural violence' is defined here as any aspect of a culture that can be used to legitimize violence in its direct or structural form. Symbolic violence built into a culture does not kill or maim like direct violence or the violence built into the structure. However, it is used to legitimize either or both, as for instance in the theory of a Herrenvolk, a superior race.

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