Is “JPIC” a Four-Letter Word?!

Welcome to part 1 of our guest blog by Dan Halley, SFO, Our Lady of Angel Fraternity, St. Clare Region

People around globe

Dove and world peace

For those that do not know, “JPIC” is an acronym for Justice, Peace, and  Integrity of  Creation.  The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is an organization dealing with JPIC issues at all levels.  Their motto is, “Transforming the World in the Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi.

What are “JPIC issues” anyway?  JPIC deals with any issue revolving around such areas as care of creation; peacemaking; poverty; human rights, and others.  As a Franciscan, our role with Justice and Peace is to find the incarnated Christ in all people, and to help all creation – physically, spiritually, and socially – to find Christ in the present situations they have been invested.

When some hear the words “Justice and Peace,” or “stand up for this so-and-so social issue,” they instantly turn off their ears and minds while rapidly building up a defensive wall of anger, distrust, and/or apathy.  Most of my friends, when hearing the aforementioned phrases, actually hear these words instead: “WARNING: Liberal-biased propaganda coming your way!  RUN, RUN, RUN!!”  In the same token, people I know that would be described as “liberal” perceive the inverse when the words “Republican” or “Conservative” are uttered: “Danger, traditional big-business do-nothing is present.”

I see humor in both “wings” of the political argument, but I wish and pray that most people would forget about political viewpoints, and take up the charge for proper rights and treatments for ALL of God’s glorious and beautiful creations.  For me, these diehard perceptions present a rather ironically funny notion about many people’s opinions that “JPIC” is a liberally charged philosophy: I am very active in JPIC activities, and I am extremely conservative politically, fiscally, and philosophically!

You can pick your jaws up off the floor now; I think my being a conservative activist is quite humorous as well.  I have to admit though; I love to see people back-track and squirm when they have been very vocal in front of me, and then find out I am “right-winged!”  I am very comfortable with my choices and beliefs, and I am always open to a proper discussion of any issue with an open mind, as long as the other person is as well.  The proverbial donkey and elephant could be morphed into a very interesting creation if we only worked together for the good of all the people.

Fighting donkey and elephant

I, unlike many of my conservative-biased friends, do not think of JPIC as a four-letter word.  Well, I guess it is a word of four letters, but you know what I mean.  I know that justice and peace is an everyday encounter for all of us.  We may not be picketing at a nuclear power plant, or standing on the steps of the home of our local Congressional Representative, but we all are active in Justice and Peace initiatives many times daily.   We teach our children the right and wrong aspects of behavior.  We turn our phones off while eating in a restaurant (or at least I hope).  We reduce our resources on the environment when possible.  We recycle as much as we can.  And we try to find new and unique ways to reuse items, instead of throwing them in the local land-fill.

I have always been active in JPIC activities.  Knights of Columbus and the Vincent DePaul Society are, by vision and mission, prime examples of JPIC endeavors.  Teaching in the parish school of religion (PSR, CCD, and RCIA classes) has given me an excellent way to teach Justice and Peace with a religious viewpoint.  And I cannot forget my active participation in the [anti-] abortion, euthanasia, death penalty, and drug & alcohol advocacies to round out my “conservative” JPIC activities.

I wanted to place a non-partisan political joke in this part of the article, just to lighten up this text, but in searching the hundreds of web sites through a search-engine hunt, I literally could only find the same ONE non-partisan joke posted on all the sites throughout the entire internet:  Al Gore, you need to fix your creation!

check back tomorrow for part 2, chronicling Dan’s experience at Ours to Do in Chicago!


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