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Sharing in St Louis

Hello Friends,

"Did I talk to too much about faith and prayer? It's hard for me to talk about my peacemaking and not mention these things. That's just where their questions seem to go," I said to a human rights professor, after speaking to her university class.

She responded, "Oh no, that was fine. I asked that question about whether you proselytize because I knew that you didn't. But I felt it important for the students to realize that faith can be an important part of peace and justice work and it does not necessarily mean you proselytize."

Art Sandler, the other professor at Webster University, said, "That was really good. The students were really engaged. We should make your visit an annual affair." I heard this sentiment of inviting me again next year often, after the 14 times of sharing in St Louis and Hannibal, Missouri.

After the presentation to the Pax Christi group at St Louis University, one of the students, upon seeing my "Do You Know Enough to Enlist?" pamphlet and "Questions to Ask Recruiters" card, said, "We are going to have a counter recruiting booth on campus. Those would be really useful to us. Could we have some of them?" I responded, "Sure! You can copy the pamphlet and have all the cards you can use."

As part of these presentations, I often shared the following: "When people think of Colombia often they think of the drugs. Our US government has been trying to fight this problem by pouring 1.6 million dollars/day in military aid into Colombia. It has been like adding wood to the fire of the 45 years of civil war. It has not reduced the drugs on USA streets or the amount of coca grown Colombia. When such big, easy money on drugs is so readily, available someone will always find a way to get the drugs here.

"The solution, as I see it, is putting adequate money into drug rehabilitation programs. We have rehab programs that really work, but because of a lack of enough programs many people have to wait months, even years, to get into them, and by then they are really hooked. The conservative Rand Corporation found it would be 26 times cheaper to put money into drug rehab than to send $1.6 million/day in arms to Colombia, and it would work. I suspect one of the main reasons we keep doing this is because of the lobbying of the military-industrial complex that wants to keep supplying that $1.6 million/ day for Colombia."

After sharing this in one of the talks I got the following question from a student in the Peace Theology class at St Louis University: "You say rehabilitation is the answer to the drug problem, but what do we do about the need to take drugs in the first place?"

"Well, that is a very good question. You have an important point there," I answered. "I feel it shows we really need to work on our spiritual development. You know, consumerism and all that goes with it is an empty god, it just doesn't satisfy. The language I would use is we need to get in touch with God."

I spoke to several churches and high School classes. I was very encouraged by people's rising interest in peace and justice.
Thanks for your accompanying prayers on these talks. It seemed evident God was answering.

Please consider asking your Senators and Congressman to vote for increasing humanitarian aid for Colombia and for reducing military aid, which would stop a lot of the suffering of the Colombians.

Prayer request:
-Finishing up my year end report
-Finding helpers for the CPT Booth at Cornerstone in June

Peace to you,

Jim

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