Paul’s Perambulations

September 23, 2008

“Who Would Jesus Train To Kill” Window Sign

Filed under: Peace,Religion — admin @ 11:40 pm

In response to a visit this evening concerning a sign in my window (see title above), I wrote the following email to my Department Chairperson. OSA refers to Order of Saint Augustine. There is more information and a picture at my website www.peacefulways.com/ (click on Conscience and Militarism).

Hello Tom,

It was good to speak with you a few minutes ago in reference to my being visited a few minutes earlier by Corporal Hall of Villanova Security, his presence at my door being at the request of certain members of the OSA complaining about my sign.  It was good to confirm that you have spoken previously with Fr. Peter concerning my sign, as have I, and to confirm that his response was not of a critical nature.  In fact, my sign has generated some meaningful interaction with a number of members of religious orders on campus, including members of the OSA.  No one has ever questioned the appropriateness of my placing it in my window.  I believe it poses a relevant question for each to answer in his/her own heart — it does not propose any specific answer. My website www.peacefulways.com/  provides further information.

What is my response to learning that some members of OSA appear to be unhappy with this sign?

1.  I believe most strongly both that this sign is appropriate for a Christian institution, and that I have a right (indeed, an obligation) in my academic position to pose such a question.

2.  I intend to keep this sign (or a copy) in my office window while I am a tenured faculty member.  It is not my intention to be confrontational.  The fact that some may disagree with the sign, or even may find it upsetting, does not lessen its value as a catalyst for significant discussion.  It is my sense that this is what an academic institution is all about.

Peace,   Paul

p.s.  Villanova later removed any mention of the word PEACE from its Mission Statement.

 

September 9, 2008

U.K. Conference on Peace/War Taxes — both good news and bad news.

Filed under: Peace — admin @ 8:08 am

Here is a very frank appraisal of this international conference that I recently attended.  Wonderful people, some very good times, some very frustrating times.  

Perhaps I spoke too much, but for me, there was very little in the way of direct action from this conference group.  This seems surprising when I consider what I know of the wonderful examples of direct action that have been taken by many of those who were present. There was a lost opportunity here. I felt I should stand up and cheer when, during the perennial discussion of why there were essentially no young people at this conference (thank you, Kristen and a few others, for being the exception), someone stated out loud that no young person could stand to attend something (often dull– my addition) as this was.  Exactly one solution was offered….let’s set up niffty interactive websites at sites where young people are active.  Since this is an older group whose members tend to be ignorant of technology,  this idea can take the form of “the answer” when nothing else seems possible.  Peacepays is a fine website, but it is not “the answer.”    My question — what do we offer after the website?  And just how great is that medium for us?  I am dubious about how well our peace message can ever compete on youth websites – it is not inherently well suited to the medium in the way that the U.S. Army has perhaps the world’s best hi-tech video games on their websites. How far can this approach take us — then what?

Our action needs to be “on the ground” and we offered not one stitch of that at this conference.  (more…)

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