Saturday, June 20, 2009


How about that...I am commenting on some current news for a change. Well, fairly current. Usually I am finding stuff in my internet travels that I missed when it was new news!!!

This time, however, while reading all these nonviolence and peacekeeping websites, I came across a snippet about Tiller's murder a few weeks ago. Tiller was one of the very few doctors in the country who perform late term abortions. There used to be ten. Now there are nine.

Again (and I'm sure I've declared this here on my blog) I think even one abortion is too many. And late term abortions are especially hard to reconcile. That is not the point of this post. The point is the irony of a prolife activist gunning someone cold church.

I had kind of forgotten about this case and had no plans to write about it, but I came across an article in my web travels today on the National Catholic Reporter that spurred me on. The article is called "To be pro life is to be nonviolent" written by Father John Dear.

And he makes several points in this very short writing that are ?profound?

First of all, just what defines pro-life? Does it go beyond the narrow definition of some anti abortion activists? Pro-life = anti-abortion. Does a pro-life ideology encompass more than the cessation of abortions? I think it does. The following except says it well....

On April 19, Kansas City’s Bishop Finn addressed a group which claims the name “Pro Life,” saying, “We are at war.” His remarks, peppered with militaristic imagery, failed to demonstrate the sweeping love of the nonviolent Jesus. He spoke only of the unborn, of “pro life” issues, but showed no concern for those targeted by our bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. He expressed no concern for the billions of people who have no homes, food, healthcare, education, jobs or dignity. He shed no tears for those who die from poverty due to our first world greed. He does not concern himself with nuclear weapons or global warming -- which, even from his standpoint, will harm the unborn.

As a priest and a human being, I too am against abortion. But as a follower of the nonviolent Jesus, I prefer Cardinal Bernardin’s “Consistent Ethic of Life.” One cannot pick and choose contradictory issues. Are you “Pro Life,” “for life,” “for the God of Life?” Then stand against every war, handgun, weapon, greedy corporation, and execution. Stand against poverty and starvation and disease and extinctions and racism and sexism and environmental destruction. As well as abortion.

This article goes on to talk about the claims of support of nonviolence by pro-life groups. He uses an example from the life of Ghandi...and a similar situation

This is what Gandhi said in the early 1920s, after some of his movement activists beat five British soldiers to death. He called off the whole national civil disobedience program, went on a fast of repentance and resigned from the movement. He insisted, from his daily reading of the Sermon on the Mount, that there is no cause, however noble, for which we support the taking of a single human life.

Seems Ghandi understood the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and took them more to heart than many Christians.

Father John closes the article with the following:

My hope and prayer is that all of us -- “Pro-lifers” and “peaceniks,” “liberals” and “conservatives,” “left and right,” -- can become Sermon on the Mount people and learn the Gospel truth that killing is never justified, that abortion and murder and war and nuclear weapons and violence of all kinds are wrong, that all of us are summoned to an entirely new way of life, a life founded on the wisdom of Jesus’ nonviolence.

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