1986 Feb 9 – 5th Sun Ord Time (Bulletin Letters)
Opinion Page February 6, 1986 The Catholic Mirror
Farms, not arms
To the Editor;
In the Jan 23 issue of the Catholic Mirror Mary Lyons raised a number of important concerns. Mary asked “how on earth they (the SAC protesters) connect the farm situation to the defense budget?” The clearest and most direct economic connection between the faltering rural economy and the mushrooming defense budget can be found in our government’s ever-growing spending deficit. This deficit has created the strong U.S. dollar and high interest rates in which our rural economy labors.
The strong U.S. dollar destroys the competitiveness of Iowa farmers in the world market and the high interest rates threaten to bankrupt the family farmer and small rural businesses. Since half or our income tax dollars got to the defense budget ($300 billion-plus!), than half of our government’s deficit spending is created by defense spending.
Yet President Reagan would have us believe that our exploding defense budget is a necessary sacrifice if we are to have an adequate defense. It is precisely on this point that many good Catholic Christians Americans disagree. For a growing number of us, the arms race in which our country is participating does not ensure our national security but in fact does just the opposite. Rural Iowans are finding it particularly ironic that our national priority of war preparation not only makes war more likely but contributes to the elimination of our rural way of life.
And Mary, those of us who will cross the line at SAC in July do so not despite our American heritage but because of it! Let us not forget that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were lawbreakers, every one of them. Civil disobedience is not the only way to bring about change, but it is the American way.-
Fr Frank Cordaro, St Anne’s Church, Logan IA.
February 6, 1986
Last week the news media reported that President Reagan’s proposed February budget was going to cut the farm program while increasing the military budget! And in Des Moines at the Iowa Pastor’s Conference I heard Rev. Jim Wallis, the editor of Sojourners Magazine and a founder of Witness for Peace.
Witness for Peace is a program in which American Christians go to Nicaragua to provide a presence between warring forces, learn about the situation there and return to the USA to inform other Americans of the growing war. Rev. Wallis tells us “there is a crying need in this land for a small band of people who are willing to simply tell the truth” in a nation caught up in “massive lies.”
I’m not sure how or where or when that small band of truth seekers will lay it on the line, or across the line if need be to speak the truth and make the connection between the rural crisis and the arms crisis. I’m only hoping and praying I’m with them.
“Send me Lord.” Isaiah