Saturday, August 27, 2011

Drugs: It's My Body

Monterrey Mexico: 52 killed by terrorist bomb at casino.

“Mr Calderon (President of Mexico) made an impassioned plea to the U.S. to cut down its drug consumption.”

Remember how the headlines used to always tell us about the Columbian drug cartels? There were movies made about them, about how evil they were and how they controlled the entire country. Did you notice that you don’t see those headlines anymore? In truth, it was somewhat of a surprise to me when I saw recommendations recently that investors should consider investing in Columbian stocks, because their market and country was headed in a very good direction. With the heavy U.S. assistance and, obviously, the will of the Columbian people, the drug cartels there were reined in, and the Columbian economy took off. Inflation is low and the country safe and growing economically --- and not due to the drug trade. The Columbian people have demonstrated that things can get better, if the people are willing to make it so.

The above headlines and story are from today’s paper --- in one of the back pages. Not much of a news story, apparently. Ho-hum, another bunch of people in Mexico killed by warring drug gangs. In a way it was news, though, in that this story wouldn’t be reported in most Mexican newspapers --- stories of drug killings are routinely not reported, because then the reporters get killed. Killings of policemen are only known about in MOST Mexican cities because of Twitter or emails. Outside of Mexico City, most major cities in Mexico are heavily controlled by drug gangs. And the people are in fear. And the people are dying. And the president of Mexico pleads with U.S. citizens.

And the U.S. citizens reply: “It’s my body, and I’ll do with it what I want. I’m hurting no one else.”

I wish those U.S. citizens, with their rights so protected, could be forced to attend the funerals in Mexico, and apologize to the families, apologize for being so selfish, so greedy, so full of pride about their self-worth that they think everyone else is worth less. But no one is worthless.

As Catholics, more than anyone else, we should know better. We believe we are part of the Body of Christ; He told us so. Mexico is a heavily Catholic country. “It’s my body????” That’s part of your body down there also. And by your actions, you are killing it. I reflect sometimes on abortion; it is a horrible thing. I pray nightly for an end to it, but at the same time I recognize the underlying reason that it is a horror: all life is precious. And so I also reflect on the value of every life, and our --- MY --- obligation to protect it, and care for it, and love it. Every life. It is why I care for my mom in her old age, why I volunteer at the United Way and other charities, and why I donate to support other charities who help those in need. But today I was reminded of another way in which I, we, can also help place an importance on life. And that is to recognize that our body, our life, is not ours alone. While everything we do influences other people in some way, whether we recognize it or not, some things we do more directly affect others. The President of Mexico PLEADING with U.S. citizens brings that home most effectively. The casual usage of illegal drugs in the U.S., the “it’s my body and I’ll get pleasure any way I want” attitude, is killing others. By our actions, we are killing others.

It’d be easy to say: “Hey, the program in Columbia worked, let’s just come up with a government program to help Mexico.” Let the government fix everything; it’s not my job. But it is. Protecting life, ALL life, IS your job. It’s your commandment: Love your neighbor.

The headlines and story hit home with me this morning that we can and should take actions, each of us, to help protect the Body of Christ, our brothers and sisters in Mexico who are dying because of us. Certainly in our churches, most certainly in our homes, we should be talking about what our addiction to drugs is doing. What this does to our own bodies is a bad thing, but certainly in America we can point to many bad things we do to our bodies. But there aren’t that many things we are doing which are getting people killed. There are “green” groups protesting and advertising the evils done by oil companies against the environment. There are “health” groups protesting about fats in our diets or additives in our foods. Where are the groups protesting about what WE are doing, killing our neighbors more directly and more certainly than any oil drilling or added calories?

Our brothers and sisters in Mexico are pleading with us. They are part of our Body of Christ.

Our bodies are not ours alone.

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