No to the War

Beginning in September 2004 members of the Lewes Delaware community have stood in silent vigil witnessing the human cost of war. Every Sunday from one to one forty-five a group varying between 15 and 50 people stand silently with signs that simply state the number of American military dead and wounded and the number of Iraqi civilians killed. Some carry signs saying, “Standing for Peace,” and “Not one more life.” Some carry pictures of a serviceperson killed in the war. We began when the number of American dead was 1,000 and the number of casualties (dead and wounded) was about 8,000.

In this small community the witness has been very important. On three occasions – the second anniversary of the beginning of the war, the 2,000th death, and the vigil in solidarity with Cindy Shehan, we had vigils of between 100 and 150 people. We witnessed for peace in the local Christmas Parade (a wonderfully local thing) with a float with 2,160 stars each with the name of an American serviceperson, followed by children carrying stars for over 400 Iraqi children killed in the strife.

Today the number of the dead was 2,400, and the number of wounded 17,469. That means the number of casualties stands at 19,869 persons. God forbid, but at the current rate the total by the time General Convention meets will be about 2,500 dead and over 20,000 total casualties.

Whatever else we do at General Convention, we must record a protest of this war, begun under the new preemptive strike doctrine itself a product of post 9/11 national trauma, for reasons which have been shown to be unwarranted, and carrying promissory notes of quick win and successful objectives reached that have not come to pass. Not to do so will mean that we were so overwhelmed by our own issues that we could not speak.

I strongly believe that a resolution regarding an opposition to the basic policy of preemptive strike must be registered by this Convention so that our Washington Office can speak with a clear mandate from General Convention.

Any information on existing or planned resolutions to this effect would be much appreciated.


  1. Mark,

    Thank you for your actions against this abominable war; and thank you for the post that takes a much-needed sidestep from the important but distracting 'controversies' over our church political-economical-theological issues...

    In God's Peace,


  2. Bill Carroll1/5/06 9:29 AM

    Thank you, Mark. Let's add a firm "No," to any attack on Iran and any torture or illegal detentions while we're at it.

  3. Widening Gyre1/5/06 11:32 AM


    Just a quick series of questions. Do you think reasonable people can disagree over the Iraq war? Said another way, do you think people who found the invasion of Iraq justified are automatically unreasonable and unable to follow logic? Said another way, when someone says to you that she supports President Bush's decision on Iraq and believes "being American" means being the great arsenal of democracy, do you immediately laugh in her face?

    Be that as it may, I still applaud your passion at speaking out against what you have decided to be an unjust use of American power. We all should struggle long and hard with this question, especially in light of developments in Iran. Life ain't gonna get easier, I'm afraid, despite the fact that God is still working his purpose out.

  4. Dear Widening Gyre... of course reasonable people can disagree on this issue. I've seen it done. (That's like the question, "do you believe in infant baptism," to which the ol' gezzer (sp?)said, "believe in it? Hell, I've seen it done.")

    And I almost never laugh in someone's face, she or he. (I'd disagree, however.)

    Thanks for the support in acknowledging my strugging with the issue. You are right, life ain't gonna get easier..."

    I do agree with bill carroll's post.

  5. Bill Carroll1/5/06 3:20 PM

    One of the lessons the anti-war movement has learned (or should learn) from Vietnam is that our demonization of those who support a given war is itself a form of violence. That doesn't mean that we don't resolutely oppose a particular war (or all wars). It does mean that people, especially members of the armed forces, their families, and veterans of other wars have a powerful connection to and identification with what is going on and with those who are in harm's way. Others, despite much evidence to the contrary, may think that this war is required by legitimate self-defense.

    There's a sharp difference between opposing a criminal policy and those who make it, on the one hand, and demonizing all who support it. Most probably have what they take to be good reasons.

    The Episcopal Church's official position allows for both conscientious objection to war and conscientious participation in war. Signs are that many soldiers know that this war stinks, and much of the officer corps thought it was a terrible, ill-conceived idea from the beginning.

    As Christians, we are held to an even higher standard, but even these folks know that, by the government's own secular standards, this war isn't right.

    From where I sit, killing is a much bigger sin than anything that has to do with sex, and yet I can share the communion table with those who disagree.

  6. And another reason to pass a resolution against the Iraq War (along the lines Bill C indicated), is that it would help quiet some of those "TEC is just like Bush" moral equivalences.

    [WG, I don't quite understand where you're coming from: "laugh in her face"---Huh? Why so accusatory?]


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.