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Peace & Life Connections #199
February 28, 2014

Commenting Opportunity on Criticism
        Ethika Politika has a February 26 article called: “The Consistent Life Movement’s Inconsistent Commitment to Life,” arguing that being against war means we’re anti-life because war is a way to protect innocent life.

Conscientious Objection in Sweden
        The headline said it the way we’d say it: “Swedish nurse takes a stand on conscience rights: If soldiers can object to using weapons, why can't health professionals refuse to assist at abortions?” Ellinor Grimark has trouble finding employment as a midwife. Because Sweden is a signer of the 2011 European Council agreement on conscience rights for health care workers, Grimark has reported a hospital to Europe’s Discrimination Ombudsman.
        The unsympathetic media there have argued: suppose all medical people refused? This reminds us of the old bumper sticker: “What if they gave a war and no one came?”
199 Grimark
 Facebook photo of Ellinor Grimark and child
Conscience and Consistency
        Kansas City Week in Review, a local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program, had a panel discussion about corporations suing to not be required to provide coverage for birth control including abortifacients. The local angle included the construction company J.E. Dunn joining the suit with claims of religious freedom. One reporter pointed out this same company, claiming Catholic motivation, had gone against Catholic teaching with a $400 million contract to construct the new Honeywell nuclear weapons plant. The reporter saw this was a problem with consistency, and the viewer noticed this seemed to undercut J.E. Dunn’s case.
Oscar-Nominated Best Movie: Philomena
        While those motivated to criticize the Catholic Church would find material here, the title character herself is a gentle, forgiving and loyal Catholic. Philomena Lee searched for the child that was snatched away from her in the 1950s, from a maternity shelter whose abusiveness is in stark contrast to Gimme Shelter. Pope Francis has met with Philomena and offered sympathy. The movie can be seen as a portrayal of why harsh rule-giving can hurt (and perhaps gives a boost to pro-abortion arguments) while a loving approach will be more life-affirming.
Oscar Short Documentaries
        Of the five short documentaries this year, four have themes of people behaving positively after violence. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life is about the flourishing of Alice Sommer, a 109-year-old survivor of a Nazi concentration camp (who died just last February 23 at age 110). Karama Has No Walls includes footage from videos shot by protesters within the peaceful protests of Yemen and a lethal government crackdown – which strengthened the resolve of the protesters, who finally ended the 33-year-long dictatorship. Facing Fear comes many years after a Skinhead was part of a gang beating up a gay teenager, but when the two met as grown men, the Skinhead begged for and got forgiveness. Now they speak together in front of audiences. Prison Terminal has a World War II veteran who had committed murder and was serving life in prison; at age 82 was dying in a prison hospice with tender care from other inmates. He spoke of after-war experience that anyone familiar with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms would recognize, a common aftermath of committing violence which can cause a cycle of more violence.
Quotation of the Week
Rosemary Bottcher, former Vice-President, Feminists for Life
199 Bottcher

        Gloria Steinem observes that the first 100 years of the women’s movement were spent establishing ourselves as persons; before that we were ownable, like cattle or chairs. Or, I might add, like unborn children.
        In denying the personhood of the unborn child, such feminists have borrowed the very same justifications that the patriarchs have used so successfully throughout history to deny full recognition as persons to women.
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