Friday, March 30, 2007

Nonviolent Action to End Funding for the War in Iraq

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

There is a vibrant and grassroots campaign in swing to pressure Congress to end funding for the war.  Given the votes this week, let's hope that their ears may be at least pricking up a little.
        You can find reports about many local campaigns and activities by visiting the website for The Occupation Project: A Campaign of Sustained Nonviolent Civil Disobedience to End the Iraq War, a campaign of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, at

Here's a story about what happened yesterday in Fort Wayne, Indiana (news story below). 
        Three were arrested while singing and "praying for a miracle" in the halls of the federal building Fort Wayne. Two were members of the Church of the Brethren (Cliff and Nick), and one was Old Brethren (James).  
        Even as I write this, they are in court this morning, so please send up a little prayer that their witness will be heard and their spirits will be strong.  May they feel connected the scriptural precedents for preaching and praying about the message of Life, and being punished for it -- and continuing to witness, anyway: 
Acts 5:41-42 "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ."

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

3 demonstrators held after local Iraq protest, meeting
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette
March 30, 2007

Three people were arrested Thursday inside the E. Ross Adair Federal Building after a demonstration that called for Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar to stop supporting funding for the war in Iraq.

A group of about 30 protesters gathered outside of the building on South Harrison Street beginning about 11 a.m. Several of the demonstrators also met with Lugar's staff inside the building to send their message to the senator.

The outdoor protest was peaceful. The participants stood silently in front of the Federal Building holding large banners and smaller placards calling for the funding to stop. A few cars honked as they drove by the group. By 2:30 p.m., the group had left.

Protester Rachel Gross of North Manchester said many of the demonstrators, who included Concerned Citizens of Indiana and Fort Wayne Peace Action members, had gone to Powers Hamburgers to eat while three of their group remained in Lugar's Fort Wayne district office. When the group returned to the federal building about 4 p.m., they learned their friends had been arrested, Gross said.

Cliff Kindy of North Manchester, James Cooper of Warsaw and Nicolas Kauffman, a Manchester College student from Goshen, were taken to the Allen County Lockup, Gross and organizer Dave Lambert said.

It was unclear what charges they face.

Fort Wayne police dispatchers said two city officers were sent to the Federal Building about 3 p.m. for a report of an unwanted party. They remained on that assignment until about 3:45 p.m.

Gross was told the three men were praying and making their presence known in the hall outside of the senator's office when they were arrested.

Phil Shaull, Lugar's regional director, met with the three men for more than two hours. Shaull said he then had to leave and did not witness the arrests.

He did not know what prompted the arrests.

Shaull said the demonstrators' message was heard and that Lugar appreciates their viewpoint. Lugar has emphasized the need for diplomacy in the region, which includes talking with Syria and Iran and looking at the region as a whole, Shaull said.

The group of protesters also supports bringing U.S. troops stationed in Iraq home and ensuring they are properly cared for upon their return, Kindy told The Journal Gazette earlier in the day.

Kindy encouraged injured soldiers to call the Wounded Warrior Casualty Program to get the help they need.

Many of the demonstrators wore a strip of duct tape on their arm bearing the number of U.S. soldiers killed since the war began, Kindy said.

Joshua Archer, a Manchester College student from Fort Wayne, said he supported the war in the beginning because the reasons behind the war – fighting terrorism and weapons of mass destruction – seemed valid. But four years later, the U.S.-led effort has achieved nothing, Archer said.

Archer said he believes the war cannot be won. He called for pulling the troops out of Iraq.


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