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Peace & Life Connections #262
May 29, 2015


Differing Perspectives under the CL Umbrella: How Pure?
       
        Most socially approved violence against human beings is caused by socially approved practices and conditions, such as euphemisms, slippery slopes, blaming the victim, and all-around dehumanizing. But there are cases where individuals are in extreme circumstances and have been subjected to horrific violence. They see responding with other acts of violence (military force, abortions, etc.) as the only way out. These hard cases lead some to appeal for exceptions to nonviolence.
        Many CL people hold to absolute positions against all killing, believing that applying principles even in the extreme cases makes the application of principles stronger and that the quick-fix appeal of violence is illusory. Others believe that compassion must guide us and that, in a complex world, our understanding of the best way to help shouldn’t be rigid. This is a debate that has actually occurred several times on the CL Board.
 
 262 graphic
       
         Areas of agreement:
 
·        The vast social approval of violence causes the main problems. Policy and attitudinal changes need to be made, and we have our hands full working on these changes.
·        If social approval of violence were ended, this would take care of many or most of the individual extreme cases; they wouldn’t come up in the first place, which is the ideal way to handle them.
·        We’re not interested in blaming the victims ourselves, and when violence is a response to violence, we’re more interested in blaming the situation and searching for positive solutions.  
·        We admire those people of strong character who maintain a nonviolent response even when circumstances make that hard.
 
        “Differing Perspectives” is part of an occasional series in which we’ve covered health care reform, contraception, and pacifism.
 
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Republic of Costa Rica
 
        The small Central American country of Costa Rica has some features of interest to proponents of the consistent life ethic:
        In 1887, it abolished the death penalty, making it one of the first countries to do so. Many other countries have since followed.
        In 1949, it abolished its armed forces, being the first country to do so, followed by a handful of others.
        Induced abortion is in the penal code under the category of a crime against life, a stand strongly endorsed by Costa Rica’s first female president, Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014), pictured.
        Costa Rica also prides itself on its environmentalism, ranking first in the 2012 Happy Planet Index.    
  
262 Costa Rica
 
 
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Opportunities to Help CL
 
       We still need a new Treasurer. Read details on our Web site. Those interested in possibly volunteering, please email our President Bill Samuel or call toll-free 1-866-444-7245.
 
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Quotation of the Week
James R. Kelly
Beneath the Intractable Political Surface
Speech given June 4, 2010 at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House

        The first direct action in the prolife movement was in August, 1975, a sit-in in front of an abortion clinic in Rockville, Maryland. The woman (the men‘s role was as solicitous bystanders) who led the group was Chris Mooney, who, along with most of the other seven, had been involved in the peace movement during the Vietnam War era. . . . Their explicit intention and plan was to adapt the successful tactics of the peace movement to abortion protest. They viewed their sit-ins as an educational outreach and say they were surprised and shocked that “during sit-ins we found that people would leave (the clinic). We found that sit-ins do save lives - that wasn’t initially part of the point of it. People were going to talk to them and try to persuade them (not to abort) but nobody believed it would work.”
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