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Peace & Life Connections #259
May 8, 2015

Connections on Police Brutality
259 police        The recent death of Freddie Gray adds to a recent upsurge in widespread reporting and massive protests of lethal police violence against African-American men (either innocent or with only minor offenses). This is one of many indicators of how racism is foundational to much killing. See comments by CL member group Pax Christi, CL Endorser Brian McLaren, and CL President Bill Samuel on our Facebook page, and our coverage in issues 223, 239, and 240.
       The Pentagon has been supplying police deparments with surplus weapons, and this militarization of the police is adding to the problem. The nonviolent alternative for police – which also makes police officers themselves safer – is community policing. Budget cuts have kept this successful program from making more progress, and federal budget cuts always mean real needs are sacrificed to the avaricious appetite of the military.
When Abortion Providers Make the Abortion/War Connection
     At a peace conference last week, one of the flyers we passed out was: “Is Abortion Against Peace Principles? Listen to Those Who Do Them,” based on the content on the web page of member group Friends Witness for a Pro-life Peace Testimony (Quakers). It offers quotations from those involved in abortion, mainly trying to justify abortion on the grounds that taking life is also done in war, as if this made it ok.
        One interesting and very short discussion came from someone who was puzzled whether the flyer was for or against abortion:
Leafleter: It’s violence against both child and mother, so we’re against it for the same reason we’re against war.
Puzzled woman: But what about woman’s right to choose?
Leafleter: If we could wave a magic wand so that only women who actually chose abortions had them, then abortions would zip way down. Women get pressured into them by a patriarchal society.
Puzzled woman: Well, then, you shouldn’t be comparing it to war.
Leafleter: But it’s the abortion doctors themselves who are doing that.
        The puzzled woman had no answer and left. Not that she was convinced, of course; such things take time. But it does suggest this approach may be an effective one. 
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The Sound of Music – 50th Anniversary
        The popular musical is being shown in theaters because of its anniversary. According to her autobiography, the real Maria Von Trapp offered many more reasons for fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria than the draft-dodging celebrated in the movie. The love story part was actually in the 1920s, her marriage was several years old at the time of the Nazi takeover, and they spent some time under Nazi rule before fleeing. They were distressed at the virulent racism aimed at the Jews (not that Jews are a race, but that’s how Nazis defined them). A doctor had recommended an abortion to Maria because she was ill while pregnant. One of the sons had become a medical doctor and was familiarized with the pressures to commit euthanasia. These were on the list of things that left the von Trapp family aghast.
Quotation of the Week
Martin Luther King, Jr.  
        [We] must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin . . . the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
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