"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enemies of the State - Terrorist Nuns???

The United States Department of Homeland Security is concerned for your safety. The government's national threat level is currently "Elevated" or "Yellow". Of course, it's been at that level (or even higher) pretty consistently ever since they started using this system. But all that aside, they really are very concerned for the safety of all Americans. This particular level of threat ("Elevated") means is that there is a "significant risk of terrorist attacks"; translation - there are terrorists lurking everywhere, just waiting for the right moment to attack. In fact, they might look like one of the people in the photos below. Please study them carefully!

These women might present a risk to the safety of innocent, freedom loving Americans. That's right! The Washington Post reported that they were labelled as "suspected" terrorists by the Maryland State Police and placed on a secret Federal database of suspected terrorists. Why???

It seems that some of our Federal tax dollars (via the Department of Homeland Security) have gone to the Maryland State Police who have conducted an extensive surveillance effort targeting antiwar activists (isn't that like so 60's?). They worked with the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on all sorts of people, including Quakers and Dominican nuns. And that is precisely what these two women are - Dominican nuns. Eek! Terrorist nuns! Meet Sister Carol Gilbert and Sister Ardeth Platte.

You are probably asking what they did to get on the list. You are asking, right? The Sisters are affiliated with Jonah House, a community based on the values of nonviolence and resistance. They have engaged in all manner of peacemaking activities for decades, and the activities that landed them on this list appear to have been their involvement in gatherings opposing the Iraq war and capital punishment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland brought this Constitutional injustice to light and is challenging it. Since 1920 the ACLU has worked to defend the rights of ALL our society's members, and believes that civil liberties must be protected at all times, even in times of national emergency.

If you believe that the rights enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are worth defending, then I encourage you to get involved with the ACLU. You can sign up at their Website to stay informed and take action on issues in 21 different subject areas ranging from Criminal Justice to Women's Rights.



P.S. - It has been said that, "Good things come in threes." In this case, there is a third nun. And when you get these three peacemakers together, they are a powerful force for holy mischief. I like to think of holy mischief as a powerful and intentional action based upon deeply held spiritual beliefs, bearing witness to and resisting extreme injustice. Watch for a subsequent blog posting where I introduce you to Sister Jackie Hudson and Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II (some serious holy mischief).

Note: The Photos of Sister Carol Gilbert (on the left) and Sister Ardeth Platte (on the right) were taken by George Hagegeorge.

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