Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Dilemma of the Morally Aroused

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Dilemma of the Morally Aroused

Article excerpt

Imagine if the new fervor for full disclosure in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky case extended to other records held in secret government archives.

Doesn't the public have just as compelling an interest in all of the training manuals and videos and films used over the decades by the School of the Americas?

Imagine if the CIA and other agencies decided, without blacking out the most important parts, to release the piles of documents that would fill in the details of our bloody history in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

One of the tragedies of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky saga is the growing perception that our standing as a moral people, our conduct as a principled nation has to do only with matters of personal sexual conduct.

The problem, of course, is that using the president's sexual silliness as a measure of our political morality lets us off the hook rather easily.

There is no room for such comfort in the stories of Plowshares activists Frs. Frank Cordaro and Larry Morlan, Kathy Shields Boylan and Dominican Srs. Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert (page 12) or in the tale of the 18 School of the Americas protesters just released from prison (page 14).

The Plowshares group quietly faced their fate in court Sept. 22 and 23 and just as quietly went off to jail.

It was with a similar lack of fanfare that 18 people who had demonstrated against the School of the Americas, located at Fort Benning, Ga., were released from prison just days before the Plowshares trial in Maryland. …

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