The Common Good
May-June 1996

Conscience and Law

by Nancy Rice | May-June 1996

YOUR ARTICLE, "Dear Judge Wynn..." (March-April 1996)
was challenging to many of your readers, I bet.

YOUR ARTICLE, "Dear Judge Wynn..." (March-April 1996) was challenging to many of your readers, I bet. Judge Wynn's question is clarifying for those of us who have done civil disobedience at nuclear weapons sites, environmentally violated areas, war tax protests at federal buildings, and other places at which our faith pushes us to act. Is there a difference between our act of faith resistance and that of Yitzhak Rabin's assassin? Does moral imperative eliminate all civil laws?

I appreciated the responses in the article. I found strength and hope in them. To what they said, I would add: Following Jesus means to me that occasionally I will feel called to acts that affirm life, mercy, and humility in a society whose power is in death, judgment, and self-deception. I will feel called to challenge by civil disobedience the violence of my culture on those who are powerless. I pray that my acts will be in line with the nonviolent teachings of Jesus; that I will speak and act in love. For me, acts of conscience must always be held in the light of God's gift of life. If our response against civil violence begets violence itself, we have lost our vision of God's peace.

Nancy Rice
Bemus Point, New York

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