by Carol Crossed
from Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, Vol. 7, No. 6, July 2001.
We believe life is threatened in today’s world by war, abortion, economic injustice, racial violence, human oppression, euthanasia and the death penalty.
We believe in the protection of all life - minorities, the unborn, the condemned, the enemy, the elderly, the poor. We see no one group as less or more important than another group.
We understand that each of us, as participants and shapers of democracy, plays a role in the violence of the world, and we are complicit.
We believe that this protection of the vulnerable against violence can only come about through non-violence.
We recognize that non-violence is not inaction, but is aggressive mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It is only passive in its nonaggression toward our opponents.
We recognize non-violence as different from peacefulness. Creative tension, confrontation and disturbing a negative peace, or agitation, describe what is needed to morally force the opponent to continue the dialogue for resolving the injustice.
We recognize that before nonviolence unites the community with all the oppressed, born or unborn, condemned, guilty or innocent, it may first divide us from the broader community.
We vow to educate ourselves and, to the extent we are able, others, about our cooperation with evil.
We will actively resist evil and refrain from silence and fear of unpopularity to the best of personal and collective capability.
We pledge to attempt to love willingly, knowing that the return may be hostility. We will try to accept suffering rather than inflicting it.
We challenge one another to maintain a cooperative spirit of peace, but not necessarily peacefulness, a spirit of respect and reconciliation, but not forbearance in the face of injustice, in protecting all groups of the unprotected.
The words in boldface are the words of M.K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Consistent Life Ethic Activist Carol Crossed has been active in Native American rights organizations, Bread for the World, Feminists for Life and has been arrested at various peace, justice and life witnesses. She has been Executive Director of The Seamless Garment Network, Inc. and is a member of its Board of Directors (www.seamless_garment.org). She is co-Editor of Harmony, and a celebrated and popular speaker for the consistent life ethic cause.