Saturday, February 23, 2008

Latte Liberals?

At the Youngstown, Ohio rally following the recent Wisconsin primary, International Association of Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger called Obama supporters “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies.” That reminded me of one of my favorite Ohio moments. A few years back I was stopped for gas at a Ravenna, Ohio gas station. Ravenna is one of those small rust-belt towns that the economy forgot. It’s been down-at-the-heel since I was a student at nearby Kent State in the late 70s and early 80s, and it shows no signs of recovering.
Anyway, I was pumping gas when a pick-up truck that had obviously been out “mudding” pulled into the pump right in front of me. One guy, in battered jeans and sweatshirt, got out to pump gas. His friend, similarly attired, hopped out and headed into the store. As he walked away, he shouted back over his shoulder, “hey, Bubba, want a cappuccino?”
So, I wonder today, if this cappuccino-sipping, work-boot wearing, pick-up truck driving guy and his friend are pondering the up-coming Ohio vote from the trucking view or the latte view?
Name calling, reductionist politics, will never move us beyond the mess we’re in. I think I’ll go have a mocha.

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.