Monday, November 13, 2006

Sister Marie Reminds Us of Another Battle for Peace and Justice

She speaks softly and walks gently in our world - she sits in the back when she comes to our meetings and every time there is a peace rally or another call for justice, Sister Marie Kopin is there. Need another table for the yard sale? Sister Marie is there. Need another place to put a Granholm sign or No on 2 sign? Sister Marie is there. Peace rally? She is there. Another injustice in our community? She is there.

Now Sister Marie is heading off to Georgia to help to right another wrong. While many give lip service to the fight for peace and justice, Sister Marie lives it and we love her for it. Many of us are aware of the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia because efforts to close the SOA have been going on for 15 years. Each November another prayer vigil and demonstration is held to bring attention to one of our nation’s longstanding violations of human rights. The SOA is where our country teaches in our names the art of torture and techniques for dealing with insurgents. Right-wing military regimes in Central and South America have used the techniques for decades to “disappear” the opposition, many of whom were religious missionaries seeking to help the poor.

Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanomo are nothing new. But our toleration for human rights abuses by our government in our names is wavering. Along with all the other policy changes needed with our new Democratic Congress, an end to torture and teaching it at the SOA should be high on the priority list. If we want to restore international trust in our country, eliminating torture as national policy would be a good start.

Sen. Stabenow can redeem herself from that horrendous vote of hers on the torture bill, by championing the cause. Sister Marie will quietly and prayerfully protest for all of us along with thousands of others at Fort Benning this weekend. Her name will also, likely be added to another FBI list too. It is one thing to protect us from terrorists and quite another to spy on our gentlest of friends. Let us put an end to ALL of the Bush family outrages. Enough is enough. Peace be with you, Sister Marie.

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