Open letter to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran:
I am responding to your staunch refusal to grant the Kelowna Right to Life Society a City of Kelowna proclamation that celebrates human life for just one day. I understand very well your desire to promote unifying interests while avoiding controversy.
In fact, this is exactly the sort of “negative peace, which is the absence of tension, (as opposed) to a positive peace which is the presence of justice,” the great social reformer Martin Luther King Jr. referred to in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He was responding to white clergy who objected to his method of non-violent demonstration, claiming that he was causing division and strife as opposed to unity and progress.
As Kelowna Right to Life does today, King Jr. sought to prod the social conscience so that society would be forced to confront the injustice in its midst. He deliberately created what he described as “creative tension,” a tension he believed would lead to social reform.
He understood that the political, church, and social leaders of his day preferred peaceful and calm waters, but he could not cooperate because he recognized what lurked below the surface: An ugly injustice that was an affront to both God and the dignity of all human beings.
And so it is with abortion. Whether you choose to recognize it or not, we live in a time of great injustice, perhaps the most offensive injustice that has ever scourged our land. Dozens of defenceless, precious pre-born human lives are savagely destroyed right here in our own community each week, mere blocks from the beautiful City Hall we citizens have built.
With every child destroyed by abortion, a woman is deeply and profoundly wounded. Men too are deeply impacted by the abortion of the child they were meant to protect from harm. Each abortion does not just destroy an innocent child; it harms her parents and reverberates throughout our society.
Meanwhile, those at the other end of life are increasingly being seen as ‘less than.’ Very likely, it will soon be legal in Canada to kill them with euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We believe history will judge how each one of us responds to injustice today, especially those in positions of power. MP?s, Premiers, MLA?s and yes even mayors have been given special opportunity to influence our culture, effect positive change, and help eradicate injustice.
So while you prefer to maintain a ‘negative peace’ by refusing to proclaim just one of 365 days as Celebrate Human Life Day, we and many of our fellow citizens will continue to work toward that infinitely more glorious day when a ‘positive peace’ settles over our nation and our community.
Marlon Bartram, Kelowna