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Sunday, March 30, 2003

Moral protest.

An unusually insightful letter to the editor in today's Globe (sadly, not on-line), in response to the Rev. Peter Gomes's op-ed last week blessing continued antiwar protests. Ronald W. Pies of Lexington writes:

The Rev. Peter Gomes rightly asserts that responsible protest against the war is justifiable, but he sets too low a bar for the moral responsibilities of protesters. It is not enough to be in favor of peace and justice — uncontroversial issues for all of us ("For those who oppose war, what now?" op ed, March 23).

Protesters must also consider the possible adverse and unintended consequences of their actions. I suggest the following moral checklist for war protesters:

  • Is my protest peaceful, respectful, and free of gratuitous insults to those I oppose?

  • Does my protest acknowledge the evils my opponents seek to redress, such as the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein?

  • In voicing support for our troops, have I asked members of our armed forces and their families whether they feel supported by my message that their sons and daughters are fighting an illegitimate war?

  • To what extent might my protest give comfort to our adversary, or be misused by him as propaganda? And might the effect of this be to prolong, rather than end, the conflict?

  • To what extent does the size and nature of my protest tie up law enforcement resources at a time when our nation is on high alert against the threat of domestic terrorism?

Yes, Rev. Gomes, responsible protest is a treasured right, but with rights come heavy moral responsibilities.

It was gratifying to read that yesterday's large antiwar rally in Boston resulted in no arrests, no vandalism, and this encounter:

Near the die-in at Arlington and Boylston streets, about 100 young men, some of them veterans, screamed ''Traitor!'' and ''Get Saddam!'' at the protesters. But the two sides found some common ground: When the pro-government group started singing the National Anthem, several hundred antiwar demonstrators joined in.

Definitely a move in the right direction.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 30 March 2003 at 4:26 PM

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