Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

12/12/2006

Bishop Arrested for Laying Down on the Job

The Die In in ProgressMark Andrus, Bishop of the Diocese of California (in purple above) was arrested this week in a protest at a federal building in San Francisco. Andrus was joining in an ongoing protest by Bay Area Quakers against the war in Iraq. Specifically, he lay down in a "die in." This die in has become a regular event taking place the first Thursday of each month at the federal building in San Fransisco.

This month, the Quakers who organize the event made room for the Episcopalians to first celebrate communion in front of the building. With the Episcopal group were "family members of soldiers currently serving in Iraq, active members of the military, veterans from the current and past conflicts in Iraq, and Vietnam vets" as a sign that the protest is against the ongoing American presence in Iraq, but not against those who carry out that policy.

The Episcopal News Service article is here: California bishop arrested during San Francisco war protest

I want to uphold the prophetic task which is the part of the office of a Bishop and part of the witness of all Christians. If the Bishop feels that an action is unjust and must be opposed, then non-violent protest is one avenue open to taking a stand. Some may accuse him of grandstanding, but that of course is the point to a protest of this kind, to keep an issue before the public. Other will see the act as pointless. What is accomplished by blocking the doors of a federal building in San Fransisco?

What do you think? Was the Bishop wrong? Or if right in principle, should he have still found another means to make a point?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Bishop Andrus' arrest.

8 Comments:

  • At 12/12/2006 8:00 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Non-violent protest is a way to publicly express discontentment. It's valid in that it shows strongly your commitment to that belief.

    Should I commit myself here to taking a stand on whether I agree with him or not? :)

     
  • At 12/12/2006 11:17 AM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Time was, when all enemies in a war were evil. Time was, when the threat was to all of us as a nation and we could be united during a war.

    The problem with that "Time was" is that it never was. The Quakers have always been consistent. They have protested every war since their beginning. They make a very good argument that war is inconsistent with Christianity.

    I don't always agree that force is never justified. I think if force is used that it should be to protect and defend. I am very ambivalent about its use to spread "democracy", "religion", or "philosophy".

    This current war was justified to eliminate a percieved threat. (Not that makes it any different than other wars.) The threat was not credible according to most and so, we become the AGGRESSOR instead of DEFENDER. That point can be argued all day long but it won't change the view of much of the rest of the planet.

    The charitable will contend that we meant well but got it wrong and are now stuck in a quagmire.

    The critics will say we went to war for vengence and since Saddam came to mind first he became the target. They will accuse us of greed, power, and revenge.

    Well, the question is, "What do we do now?"

     
  • At 12/12/2006 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The point is that the Bishop has every right to peacefully protest. My question is was he protesting to express his own concerns for the war, or was he representing the views of his entire diocese? That could make a difference on how he should go about his protesting.

     
  • At 12/12/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    How could he answer that question?

     
  • At 12/12/2006 2:38 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    There's no good answer to that question either. Just as there's no easy answer to when war is justified, there's no good answer to when a representative of a large group is justified in protesting a war "in the name of" that group.

    Given a sufficiently large, diverse group such as this church I'd say it was impossible to fairly represent all the views held. In short, like a lot of other things I question about us, this is just one more group in the church.

    That all leads me back to my first comment - that if you're going to protest, this is one way to do it. I would also hope that he's being held to his legal obligations for breaking the law. Otherwise, his civil disobedience becomes meaningless. If there's no cost, no risk, then it lessens the impact significantly.

     
  • At 12/12/2006 5:26 PM, Anonymous Steve+ said…

    Let me just throw this out here for the sake of argument; war is horrible, I think most everyone would assent to that. Some 3000 American troops have died in the war in Iraq and who knows how many other human beings have died. What about the other things that have claimed many more lives than the war? Murder, AIDS, drunk driving, drug abuse, and abortion (depending on your theological bent)? In 2004, some 26,000 people died of liver disease, perhaps a large percentage from abuse. Protests? I understand that perhaps war and liver disease are apples and oranges, but there are many things humans to do each other and to ourselves that aren't policitally sensitive. This is not to suggest that Bishop Andrus was doing it for the sake of politics, but I wonder why it's worse to kill someone thousands of miles away than it is to kill someone two miles away. In 2005, over 16,000 were murdered...in the US.

     
  • At 12/13/2006 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Once again, there's no room for political conservatives in the Episcopal Church. Justice apparently has only one face, that of the political liberal. So much for the via media.

     
  • At 12/13/2006 8:23 PM, Blogger CSL said…

    This Quaker and former Episcopalian says Yes! He did the right thing, because he followed his conscience. Nonviolent protest is not grandstanding, it is calling attention to injustice in whatever form that takes. It isn't saying that this injustice is more important than another, only that it needs to be examined and stopped. And I am always pleased to see different denominations/faith traditions joining in pacifism. Thanks for helping to call attention to it also. Go Mark Andrus!

     

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