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Peace & Life Connections #248
February 20, 2015


Note: Our regional conference in Austin, Texas happened on February 14 and went well. We expect to have coverage in next week’s issue.
 
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Action in U.S. Congress
 
       After months of military action in the current Middle East crisis, U.S. President Obama has asked Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to give the ongoing violence a higher level of justification.  Consistent Life is saddened and concerned at the prospect of protracted war.  We urge nations to combat violence with nonviolence, and applaud peacemaking strategies as outlined below.
       We urge those of our readers who are U.S. citizens to contact their Representatives and Senators to request they vote against military action, mentioning your support for the Consistent Life Ethic and explaining what that means. 
        The danger to unborn children – both direct from war-fighting and indirect through greater numbers of induced abortions – are covered in our issues 88, 93, 98, 108, 176, and 203. For full articles, see these by Mary Meehan and Emanuel Charles McCarthy.
 
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What to do about ISIS?
 
        We can make a case that the shocking ISIS atrocities prove the outside support of the Middle East dictators, all the military interventions, and the people-killing drones were strategies that – in addition to being wrong – were also counterproductive.
 
248 dictators 
Photo, screenshot from The Daily Show
 
        Nevertheless, since the past can’t be changed, what do we do now?
 
* Large nonviolent demonstrations as happened recently show that attempts by violent people such as ISIS to intimidate have been unsuccessful. Active participation of Muslims also undercuts their ideology.
 
* In Islam, the highest authority is scholars. A large group of world-wide scholars condemned the anti-Muslim nature of ISIS reasoning in their Open Letter to Al-Baghdadi. If used well – and greater media publicity world-wide would help – this helps undercut the motivation of those in ISIS and those who might otherwise be recruited. See also this recent video with media clips from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which ends with a lengthy list of Muslim organizations that have issued condemnations. 

* As we discussed in Stopping Terrorism 101, the efforts that have actually been successful in the past included promoting human rights, economic development, and political representation. More succinctly: governments stopped making people mad enough to join the violent opposition.
 
* There are Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. Muslims worldwide are paying attention to communicating to potential recruits the nonviolent alternatives when facing injustice. Expertise from the Muslim community and the local people in impacted areas is crucial; if not consulting them, outsiders tend to blunder.
 
        All these take time, but time is needed for long-lasting solutions. Those are the only kind of solutions there are. Violence is understood as a quick fix, but since the problem today is caused by all the “quick fixes” of the past, we’d say people who are sure of a military solution are fooling themselves.
    
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U.S. Catholic Colleges Out of Whack
 
       While Consistent Life is not a Catholic organization, we have a large portion of Catholic supporters, so we offer information to help encourage activism in Catholic institutions. There is a list of U.S. Catholic colleges with military involvement, and a list of U.S. Catholic colleges with abortion involvement. Three colleges are on both lists – Georgetown, University of Notre Dame, and University of San Francisco.
        Readers outside the U.S. who’d like to share similar information about their own countries, and any non-Catholic readers who’d like to share about their own denominations or other groupings, let us know at weekly@consistent-life.org.

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Quotation of the Week
Fannie Lou Hamer
 
        There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.
 
248 Hamer 
Statue of Hamer in Ruleville, Mississippi
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