Monday, February 18, 2008

Witness for Peace

Last night, the interfaith peace witness in Lafayette Park gathered again in the twilight to remember the dead and to pray for an end to the killing. Rev. Madeleine Beard recited the names of all those American soldiers who have died since the last witness in January. It is a sobering reminder that the violence continues to take a terrible toll:
  • Richard B. Burress, 25
  • Jon M. Schoolcraft III, 26
  • Justin R. Whiting, 27
  • James M. Gluff, 20
  • Michael R. Sturdivant, 20
  • Tracy Renee Birkman, 41
  • Duncan Charles Crookston, 19
  • Robert J. Miller, 28
  • Matthew Ryan Kahler, 29
  • Mikeal W. Miller, 22
  • Alan G. Rogers, 40
  • James E. Craig, 26
  • Gary W. Jeffries, 37
  • Evan A. Marshall, 21
  • Brandon A. Meyer, 20
  • Joshua A.R. Young, 21
  • Michael A. Norman, 36
  • David E. Schultz, 25
  • Matthew F. Straughter, 27
  • Chad A. Barrett, 35
  • Christopher J. West, 26
  • Nathan H. Hardy, 29
  • Michael E. Koch, 29
  • Rafael Alicearivera, 30
  • Miguel A. Baez, 32
  • John C. Osmolski, 23
  • Timothy R. Van Orman, 24
  • Donald T. Tabb, 29
  • Bradley J. Skelton, 40
  • Luis A. Souffront, 25
  • Michael T. Manibog, 31
  • Timothy P. Martin, 27
  • Jack T. Sweet, 19
  • Jerald A. Whisenhunt, 32
  • Corey E. Spates, 21
  • Javares J. Washington, 27
These 37 now number among the more than 4,000 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. One more will be one more too many.
Here are three immediate opportunities to deepen your own involvement in the long struggle to build a culture of peace during an era of endless war. Please share them with anyone in your own networks who may be interested.
  • Eleven months ago, 4,000 people of faith joined their voices in prayer and worship at the Washington National Cathedral for a Christian Peace Witness for Iraq that marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. We walked together three miles from the Cathedral to the White House to encircle it in the light of peace. More than 200 people were arrested that night as they knelt in prayer at the gates to the White House. Next month we mark the sixth anniversary of war in Iraq. More than 29,000 Americans have been wounded in combat, and we will likely mourn the 4,000th American death in March. More than 80,000 Iraqi civilians have died – more than one hundred already this week alone – and we are no closer to the peace that we long for than we were one year ago.

In the face of this human catastrophe, we must lift up an alternative vision for the future and press to make it a present reality. Responding to this call, people of faith from across the nation will come again to Washington March 6-8 to witness for peace and to call upon the people's representatives in Congress to act to end the occupation. As of this week, free registration for worship and for workshops is open at

  • If you live in the Metro area and would like to participate in a more intimate witness for peace, join the local interfaith witness as we mark our seventh month of vigils in Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Easter Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Join us in prayers for peace, and, at 4:15 p.m., for good conversation at the Cosi Coffee at 17th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • Finally, wherever you live, if you are a leader in a Christian faith community, I invite you to visit the Pledge for Peace web site ( and prayerfully consider signing this powerful document.

The time has come for people of faith to make our voices heard with renewed passion, commitment and clarity. The time for peace is at hand. Please join me to pray and act for peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm.....Did You also read the names of those murdered on 9/11/01? If you didn't have time to read all the names, how about just the names of those who jumped from the top floors of the World Trade Center Towers?

No? You didn't read those names? Well, then, surely you read the names of those people killed in the train bombing in Madrid?

No? You didn't read those names either? Then surely you read the names of those people killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

No? You didn't read those names either? Then surely you must have read the names of all the innocent Iraqis killed by Al Queda or by Saddam and his sons in Iraq?

No? You didn't read those names either? Then surely you must have read the names of the people killed in the bombing in Bali?

You didn't read ANY of those names? Then surely you must have read the names of all the innocent people maimed and crippled by the Taliban and by Al Queda in the Middle East.


Why am I not at all surprized?

Did you have time to read all the names of the brave men who gave their lives at Gettysburg in the Civil War?

No? I guess, had you been alive back then, you would have pushed President Lincoln to end the Civil War -- and who knows how much longer our country would have had to endure slavery -- if not for President Lincoln's decision to wage war on the forces that kept human beings in slavery.