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Peace & Life Connections #209
May 9, 2014

Rest in Peace: Jim Oberstar
209 Oberstar 2        Jim Oberstar, an 18-term former Congressman from Minnesota, died unexpectedly on May 3, 2014.
        CL member group Democrats For Life of America presented him their 2002 Leadership Award for his longstanding leadership and commitment to promoting the consistent life ethic.  They report: “The Hyde Amendment actually came about through the legislative intellect of Congressman Jim Oberstar.  Jim did not sit on the Judiciary Committee so Henry Hyde offered Jim’s idea that became known as the Hyde Amendment.” See their tribute.
        In a 2005 address at a St. Thomas Law School symposium called “Can the Seamless Garment Be Sewn? The Future of Pro-Life Progressivism,” later printed in their law journal, he said:  “it is not sufficient to be opposed to abortion: we must also support pre- and post-natal care of mother and child; we must advocate for education, health care, jobs with a livable wage, housing and food for the needy; oppose the death penalty; and resist unjust war.”

Back-Alley Executions
        The April 29 horrific botched execution by lethal injection in Oklahoma, on top of many previous ones, has led to questioning: how could this happen? The first step of anesthetizing failed, yet thousands of people are safely anesthetized for life-giving surgery every day. Executions are few enough that they’re not like factories – or abortion clinics – where high volume can lead to a frenzy that causes mistakes.
        People are inclined to blame the protocol, and the secrecy about the source of the drugs can foreseeably lead to problems. So many pharmacies refuse to participate in executions that the local ones willing to compound the drugs demand that their participation be kept confidential. That’s one problem.
        But there is something very basic about killing people, and the mental numbness that goes with it, that lends itself to sloppiness in application. It’s one reason why the “back alley” abortions of illegal circumstances don’t stop merely because this form of killing is legalized. Though the satirical magazine The Onion made fun of abortion defenders’ reasoning by applying it to executions, experience is showing the connection is all too real.
         CL Endorser Samuel Rodriguez has an editorial in Time Magazine entitled “Botched Oklahoma Execution Should Prompt Moral Outcry among Evangelicals,” one that uses clear consistent-life language.
Delving Deeper: New Book Page
209 books        We have recently updated the list of helpful books on or related to the consistent life ethic. There’s a wide variety: for children and adults, for in-depth scholarship and quick reads, for various religious and secular traditions. They cover the basics and individual topics such as history, pro-life feminism, compassion to animals, making the case to different groups, peace and nonviolence, problems of sex-selection and population control, and making activism effective.
        You can peruse the list to see which you’d like to buy for yourself, check out at the library, or buy as gifts for others. You can also donate any of them to the libraries of houses of worship and other nonprofit organizations. Check to see if your local public library has them, and if not, request that they acquire them.

Quotation of the Week
Paulo Freire
The Politics of Education, 1985, Chapter 10, page 122
        Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
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