Christian Anarchism - Origins - Modern Era

Modern Era

Adin Ballou
Adin Ballou (1803–1890) was founder of the Hopedale Community in Massachusetts, and a prominent 19th century exponent of pacifism, socialism and abolitionism. Through his long career as a Universalist (and then Unitarian) minister, he tirelessly sought social reform through his radical Christian and socialist views. Although he rejected anarchism both as a label and as a theory, he was extremely critical of "human government". Tolstoy was heavily influenced by his writings.
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an American author, pacifist, nature lover, tax resister and individualist anarchist. He was an advocate of civil disobedience and a lifelong abolitionist. Though not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist, his essay Civil Disobedience does include many of the Christian anarchist ideals.
William B. Greene
William B. Greene (1819–1878), an individualist anarchist based in the United States, was a Unitarian minister, and the originator of a Christian Mutualism, which he considered a new dispensation, beyond God’s covenant with Abraham. His 1850 Mutual Banking begins with a discussion (drawn from the work of Pierre Leroux) of the Christian rite of communion as a model for a society based in equality, and ends with a prophetic invocation of the new Mutualist dispensation. His better-known scheme for mutual banking, and his criticisms of usury should be understood in this specifically religious context. Unlike his contemporaries among the nonresistants, Greene was not a pacifist, and served as a Union Army colonel in the American Civil War.
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) wrote extensively on his anarchist principles, which he arrived at via his Christian faith, in his books The Kingdom of God is Within You, What I Believe (aka My Religion), The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, and Christianity and Patriotism which criticised government and the Church in general. The Kingdom of God Is Within You is regarded as a key Christian anarchist text. Tolstoy sought to separate Russian Orthodox Christianity — which was merged with the state — from what he believed was the true message of Jesus as contained in the Gospels, specifically in the Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy takes the viewpoint that all governments who wage war, and churches who in turn support those governments, are an affront to the Christian principles of nonviolence and nonresistance. Although Tolstoy never actually used the term "Christian anarchism" in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, reviews of this book following its publication in 1894 appear to have coined the term. He called for a society based on compassion, nonviolent principles and freedom. Tolstoy was a pacifist and a vegetarian. His vision for an equitable society was an anarchist version of Georgism, which he mentions specifically in his novel Resurrection.
David Lipscomb
David Lipscomb (1831–1917) was a minister, author and member in the American Restoration Movement. He wrote a strong condemnation of civil authority called Civil Government: Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny, and the Christian's Relation to It (1889) and co-founded Lipscomb University.
Charles Erskine Scott Wood
Charles Erskine Scott Wood (1852–1944) was the author of a satirical bestseller, Heavenly Discourse, which portrayed God and Jesus as anarchists opposed to churches, governments, war, and capitalism.
Thomas J. Hagerty
Thomas J. Hagerty (c.1862–?) was a Catholic priest from New Mexico, USA, and one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Hagerty is credited with writing the IWW Preamble, assisting in the composition of the Industrial Union Manifesto and drawing up the first chart of industrial organization. He was ordained in 1892 but his formal association with the church ended when he was suspended by his archbishop for urging miners in Colorado to revolt during his tour of mining camps in 1903. Hagerty is not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist in the Tolstoyan tradition but rather an anarcho-syndicalist. Christian anarchists like Dorothy Day and Ammon Hennacy have been members of the Industrial Workers of the World and found common cause with the axiom "an injury to one is an injury to all."
Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948), the Orthodox Christian philosopher has been called the philosopher of freedom and is known as a Christian existentialist. Known for writing "the Kingdom of God is anarchy" he believed that freedom ultimately comes from God, in direct opposition to atheist anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, who saw God as the (symbolic) enslaver of humanity.
Peter Maurin
Peter Maurin (1877–1949) was a French social activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Maurin's vision to transform the social order consisted of establishing urban houses of hospitality to care for the destitute; rural farming communities to teach city dwellers agrarianism and encourage a movement back-to-the-land; and roundtable discussions in community centres to clarify thought and initiate action.
Léonce Crenier
Léonce Crenier (1888–1963) first rejected religion, becoming an anarcho-communist when he moved to Paris from rural France in 1911. In 1913 he visited his sister in Portugal where he stayed for several years. During this period he suffered a debilitating and agonising illness. Receiving the attentions of a particularly caring nurse, he survived, despite the gloomy predictions of the doctors. Converting to Catholicism, he became a monk. He is particularly known for his concept of Precarity, and was influential on Dorothy Day.
Ammon Hennacy
Ammon Hennacy (1893–1970) wrote extensively on his work with the Catholic Workers, the IWW, and at the Joe Hill House of Hospitality. He was an Irish American Christian anarchist, draft dodger, vegetarian, and tax resister. He also tried to reduce his tax liability by taking up a lifestyle of simple living. His autobiography The Book of Ammon originally released as The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist, describes his work in nonviolent, anarchist, social action, and provides insight into the lives of Christian anarchists in the United States of the 20th century. His other book is The One-Man Revolution in America.
Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day (1897–1980) was a journalist turned social activist. She was a member of the IWW and devout member of the Roman Catholic Church. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. Alongside Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, espousing nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. Dorothy Day was declared Servant of God when a cause for sainthood was opened for her by Pope John Paul II. Among books she authored was her autobiography The Long Loneliness.
Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) was a French thinker, sociologist, theologian and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books against the "technological society", and some about Christianity and politics, like Anarchy and Christianity. Similar to the theology of one of his main influences, Karl Barth, Ellul's works and ideas are considered dialectic.
Philip Berrigan
Philip Berrigan (1923–2002) was an internationally renowned peace activist and Roman Catholic priest. He and his brother Daniel Berrigan were on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for illegal nonviolent actions against war.
Ivan Illich
Ivan Illich (1926–2002) was a libertarian-socialist social thinker, with roots in the Catholic Church, who wrote critiques of technology, energy use and compulsory education. In 1961 Illich founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC) at Cuernavaca in Mexico, in order to "counterfoil" the Vatican's participation in the "modern development" of the so-called Third World. Illich's books Energy and Equity and Tools for Conviviality are considered classics for social ecologists interested in appropriate technology, while his book Deschooling Society is still revered by activists seeking alternatives to compulsory schooling. Ivan's views on Jesus as an anarchist are highlighted in a speech he made at a chapel in Chicago.
Vernard Eller
Vernard Eller (1927–2007) was a minister in the Church of the Brethren and author of Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers.

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Famous quotes containing the words era and/or modern:

    How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book! The book exists for us, perchance, that will explain our miracles and reveal new ones. The at present unutterable things we may find somewhere uttered.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Most modern reproducers of life, even including the camera, really repudiate it. We gulp down evil, choke at good.
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