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Peace & Life Connections #263
June 5, 2015


May 27 – Two Wonderfully Overwhelming Votes
 
        On the same day, two legislatures gave us good news:
 
U.S. state of Nebraska – By a vote of 30 to 19, the Nebraska one-house legislature overturned the governor’s veto and abolished the death penalty in Nebraska. This made national headlines because while several U.S. states have abolished executions in recent years, this is the first traditionally conservative state to do so since North Dakota in 1973. Conservative reasoning was prominent – including pro-life sentiment.    
 
Scotland – The vote was 82 to 36 to defeat a bill for assisted suicide, an admirably large repudiation of the idea.
 
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Johnny Hunter Video
 
        We've uploaded the keynote presentation from the 25th Anniversary Conference featuring Johnny Hunter, publicizing it as a Throwback Thursday offering.
 
263 Hunter
 
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Letter to the Editor from Julianne Wiley: Compassion?
 
        You said that some Consistent-Life advocates are absolutely against all killing; others would allow exceptions based on compassion ("less pure, but less rigid.") Mine would be a different approach, based not on compassion but on justice. 
        Compassion is more a characteristic of the compassionate -- the compassioner -- than of the compassion-ee. A compassionate person needs only to justify things to herself and it’s enough: that you convince yourself, and possibly other similarly gifted, sensitive, empathetic people.  It's a form of intolerance – the intolerance of pain.
        In Anne Lamott’s writings, it was her “compassion” that motivated her to ease two of her unborn infants out of life, and to kill her very ill, very good friend (also covered here). Whereas if she were into justice instead, she would have considered how she would respond if she were held objectively answerable for her acts: how they squared with --- oh, say the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights, or comparative Western criminal codes over the last 1,000 years or so, and whether she could explain it to 12 ordinary people in the jury box, who were not as gifted as she is with empathy, but who were stuck on that unimaginative, unyielding justice thing.
 
263 Julianne 2 
 
        I don’t think I told you that I almost died -- or rather, did die, sort of -- last January, with septic shock brought on by an infected kidney stone.  I was on a ventilator for 16 days, and I fell into “ICU psychosis”, a very common experience in critically ill patients dependent on mechanical ventilation. I became paranoid; I thought they were trying to kill me; I hallucinated; I turned combative; I do remember trying to spit at the respiratory therapist; I do remember trying to break the fingers of skilled nurses; I do remember being forcibly restrained. 
        I hated the ventilator.  At no point did I consent to it.  I tried repeatedly to tear it out. I can’t tell you how cruel it felt except that it drove me out of my mind. 
        Now I am glad to be alive.
        I shudder now to think what would have been my fate had my life and death been dependent upon sensitive and warmly responsive persons who could feel my pain.  I thank God that my survival was in the hands, not of the compassionate, but of the just.
 
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Quotation of the Week
Colby Coash. Nebraska state senator (instrumental in recent repeal of death penalty there)
quoted in Time Magazine, May 20, 2015
 
        I'm a pro-life guy. I couldn't reconcile my pro-life beliefs regarding the unborn with doing something different with the condemned.
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