Church Folks for a Better America

A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal

Church Folks for a Better America
A project of the Peace Action Education Fund, educational arm of the
Coalition for Peace Action, 40 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ 08542

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T h e  D o v e  A d  P r o j e c t

w a s   a   g r e a t   s u c c e s s .

You can read the ad, and what we accomplished with it, here.

The ad appeared in more than 6 million newspaper copies before the 2004 elections.

A photo essay


Where will it end?

[ here ]

Torture: An American Scar

George Hunsinger

January 31, 2005 [ here ]


U.S. Torture: Widespread & Systemic

Four Britons Released from Guantanamo

"The fact that they have been released indicates there was no justification for holding them in the first place. These men lived for three years in torturous conditions, and there are still some 500 being held."  [ here ] 

Michael Ranter comments (Jan. 28): [ here ]

Torture Architect becomes Attorney General

How Did We Get Here? 

Human Rights First powerful video clip

[ here ]

We have written an  

Open Letter to Alberto Gonzales  

[ here ]

signed by over 225 religious leaders,

including many from the Latino/a religious community,

some of whom are evangelicals.

Mr. Gonzales describes himself as an evangelical Christian. 

The letter was released at a national press conference

on January 4, just ahead of the confirmation hearings.


Press conference statements:

What Kind of People Have We Become?

George Hunsinger

Sr. Dianna Ortiz,  Dr. C. René Padilla, Rabbi Arthur Waskow

January 4, 2005  [ here ]

Your donation will help us to publicize the Open Letter.

We Are All Torturers Now

Mark Danner

January 6, 2005  [ here ]

Torture abuse scandal

War Crimes

Washington Post Editorial, December 23, 2004

Update:   January 1, 2005   [ here ]

ACLU: Evidence that Bush Authorized Torture

December 21, 2004  [ here ] White House denies [ here ]

More on torture at the top  [ here ]  And more (Dec. 27):  [ here ]

Tsunami disaster

Bush: Billions for War, Pittance for Relief

Democracy Now, December 29, 2004  (NYT update, Dec. 30):  [ here ]

U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350M  (Jan. 1):  [ here ]

$350M equals 3 1/2 hrs of Iraq War (Jan. 1):  [ here ]

Six Months After Abu Ghraib Conditions for Torture Persist in US Policy
Urge President Bush to support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry and appointment of a Special Counsel to conduct a thorough, independent and public investigation into the reports of abuse in US detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Amnesty International, November 27, 2004  [ here ]

Torture in Our Names

Molly Ivins, December 5, 2004    [ here ]

  In the name of Jesus Christ Almighty, why are people representing our government,

paid by us, writing filth on the Korans of helpless prisoners?

Is this American?  Is it Christian?

What are our moral values? Where are the clergy on this?

A Shameful Silence on Torture

Los Angeles Times December 19, 2004  [ here ]

Christians Must Oppose Torture

Letter to the Editor  York PA Daily Record (Dec. 19):  [ here ]

To Torture Is to Lose the War

William Pfaff December 20, 2004  [ here ]

Blocking Mr.Torture

James Schamus, December 12, 2004  [ here ]

Torture Threatens the Rule of Law in America

Sanford Levinson

Deadaleus, Summer 2004 (Posted December 18):  [ here ]

U.S. Torture: It Began at the Top

Joe Conanson, December 17, 2004  [ here ]

Torture and Truth

Mark Danner, December 12, 2004  [ here ]

A Vote for Gonzales is a Vote for Torture

Center for American Progress, December 15, 2004  [ here ]

"Not Anomalous in Any Way"

Eyewitness at Abu Ghraib

Democracy Now Interview, December 17, 2004  [ here ]

NYT Editorial, December 1, 2004:

"The White House, the Pentagon and the Justice Department clearly have no intention of addressing the abuse. Indeed, Mr. Bush has nominated one of the architects of theadministration's prisoner policy, the White House counsel Alberto Gonzales,

to be attorney general. The general who set up the system at Guantánamo

is now in charge of prisons in Iraq."

If the churches can't speak out now against the torture,

we might as well not have tongues.

--George Hunsinger, December 1, 2004

Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed (Ps. 10:12).

Visit Iraq News and Analysts We Like for insight into the current crisis. 

New Poem: The Mother's War (Jan. 1)

Nov. 28: A new Bonhoeffer Sermon is posted: Exaudi

Dec. 7: New sermons by Rowan Williams and Iain Torrance

The razing of Fallujah, now complete, is of grave concern to us all.

How many more cities must be destroyed in order to be saved?

--George Hunsinger, November 28, 2004

Live from Iraq

R i v e r b e n d  reports on Fallujah and Baghdad

November 29, 2004  [ here ]

H e l p   S e n d   H u m a n i t a r i a n   A i d   t o  I r a q

CODEPINK Women for Peace   [ here ]

M e r c y  C o r p s  [ here ]

Health conditions in and around Falluja "catastrophic"

November 26, 2004  [ here ]


T h e   F a c t s   o n   t h e    G r o u n d   i n   I r a q

T h e   N a t i o n

November 24, 2004  [ here ]


H o w   t h e   A n t i w a r   M o v e m e n t   C a n   E n d   t h e    W a r

T o m   H a y d e n

November 24, 2004  [ here ]

T h a n k s g i v i n g   i n   a   C u l t u r e   o f  D e a t h

-- D r .  T e r e s a  W h i t e h u r s t

November 23, 2004  [ here ]

H u m a n i t a r i a n   A i d   a   C a s u a l t y   i n   I r a q

Christian Science Monitor  (Nov. 23)[ here ]

Misery for the Children (Nov. 22):  [ here ]

Malnutrition nearly double what it was before invasion (WP, Nov. 21):  [ here ]

A Christ-free Christianity has slithered into our churches,

and is aiding and abetting this terrorizing war on terror. ...

Distinguished Christian scholars across the U.S. have come together

to sign an important new document titled,

Confessing Christ in a World of Violence.

It takes a stand against the "theology of war" that has infected Christianity.

It should be read aloud in every church in the nation. ... [ here ]

-- D r .  T e r e s a  W h i t e h u r s t

T h e   P e r v e r s i o n   o f   C h r i s t i a n i t y :

A   C a l l   t o   R e s i s t

November 10, 2004  [ here ]


M a r g a r e t   H a s s a n

"It was Iraq’s children who haunted her."

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

[ here ]


Deeply concerned

Amnesty Calls for Prevention of War Crimes in Iraq

  "The deliberate shooting of unarmed and wounded fighters who pose no immediate threat is a war crime under international law. ... Unequivocal orders for the proper treatment of unarmed and wounded insurgents must be issued or reinforced to all U.S. and Iraqi military and civilian personnel," Amnesty said.

November 18   [ here ]

So-called Liberal Media

US media applauds destruction of Fallujah
Not a single major voice has been raised in the American media against the ongoing destruction of Fallujah. While much of the world recognizes something horrifying has occurred, the US press does not bat an eye over the systematic leveling of a city of 300,000 people.

November 17, 2004  [ here ]

Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq/UK

Denial of Water to Iraqi Cities

"International law specifically forbids the denial of water to civilians during conflict."

November 16, 2004  [ here ]

Depleted Uranium

America's Radioactive War

"The UN banned the use of DU in the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Resolution 1996/16 August 29."

November 17, 2004  [ here ]  More (scroll down) [ here ]

They killed a wounded man. It's hard to believe. They killed a man who was completely helpless -- like he was some sort of diseased animal. I had read the articles and heard the stories of this happening before -- wounded civilians being thrown on the side of the road or shot in cold blood -- but to see it happening on television is something else

-- it makes me crazy with anger.

And what will happen now? A criminal investigation against a single Marine who did the shooting? Just like what happened with the Abu Ghraib atrocities? A couple of people will be blamed and the whole thing will be buried under the rubble of idiotic military psychologists, defense analysts, Pentagon officials and spokespeople and it will be forgotten. In the end, all anyone will remember

is that a single Marine shot and killed a single Iraqi 'insurgent'

and it won't matter anymore.

It's typical American technique -- every single atrocity is lost and covered up by blaming a specific person and getting it over with. ... We are occupied by murderers. ... I'm feeling sick, depressed and frightened. I don't know what to say anymore.

--Riverbend, November 16  [ here ]

"All violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law

must be investigated and those responsible for breaches -- including the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields -- must be brought to justice, be they members of the multinational force or insurgents."

--Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights (Nov. 16) [ here ]

"I saw the injured people on the street, covered in blood, staggering, screaming, shouting, 'Help me! Help me!' but we could not get out and help them

because we would be killed."

At one point, he looked out and saw a cousin in the street; he had been wounded. "I could not do anything for him, I could not move," Ghanim said.

"He died.  There was no mercy." ...

  "I think if the Americans let us treat the injured, even in the streets," he said, "we could have saved hundreds."

-- Doctor Haunted by Seige of Fallujah, LAT, Nov. 15  [ here ]

"U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house," he said. ..."I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river."

--AP Photographer Flees Fallujah (Nov. 15): [ here ]

Human rights experts said Friday that American soldiers might have committed a war crime on Thursday when they sent fleeing Iraqi civilians back into Fallujah.

Citing several articles of the Geneva Conventions, the experts said recognized laws of war require military forces to protect civilians as refugees

and forbid returning them to a combat zone....

James Ross, senior legal adviser to Human Rights Watch, said, "If that's what happened, it would be a war crime."

--Associated Press, November 13, 2004 [ here ]

T h e   G e n e v a   C o n v e n t i o n s   H a v e   B e e n   A b a n d o n e d

Rahul Mahajan

November 13, 2004  [ here ]

People in Falloojeh are being murdered. The stories coming back are horrifying. People being shot in cold blood in the streets and being buried under tons of concrete and iron. ...

where is the world? ...

Iraqis will never forgive this -- never. It's outrageous -- it's genocide, and America, with the help and support of Allawi, is responsible. May whoever contributes to this see the sorrow, terror and misery of the people suffering in Falloojeh.

-- Riverbend, Baghdad Burning (Nov. 13)  [ here ]


I r a q :   t h e  U n t h i n k a b l e   B e c o m e s   N o r m a l

J o h n   P i l g e r

November 12, 2004  [ here ]

Journalists with the troops speak of a city that is gradually being devastated. Scarcely a single house does not bear some form of weapons scar and many have been rendered uninhabitable.

Tactics handed down from years of urban warfare in Israel mean that troops sometimes search rows of buildings by punching holes through walls with high velocity bullets rather than moving from house to house through doors, thus reducing the risk of booby traps and increasing the element of surprise.

The consequences are that homes are being badly damaged on a routine basis.

--The Telegraph/UK, Nov 13  [ here ]

The main story playing in the Arab world in the past 24 hours is that of Mohammed Abboud -- who saw his nine-year-old son bleed to death of shrapnel wounds when his house in Fallujah was hit because he could not venture out to go to a hospital. 

Abboud had to bury his son in his own garden.

-- Atimes, November 11  [ here ]

E l e g y   f o r   G h a i t h

M a r i l y n   C h a n d l e r   M c E n t y r e

November 12, 2004

Muhammad Abbud said he watched his nine-year-old son bleed to death at their Falluja home, unable to take him to hospital as fighting raged in the streets and

bombs rained down on the Iraqi city.

-Truthout , Nov. 9

He was nine.

His name was Ghaith.

His house was hit.

One piece of shrapnel

found its way

into his belly. His father held him.

The clinics were closed.

All morning he bled.

They buried him in the garden.

One of those marines

has a nine-year-old waiting.

He missed the birthday party,

the fourth-grade assembly

where his son led the pledge

and everyone applauded

because his dad was over there

keeping America safe,

patrolling the streets of Fallujah,

walking bravely through the rubble

of enemy houses, where even women

and children are armed,

where they may be hiding guerillas

in their gardens.

U.S. Reportedly Firing White Phosphorous Rounds
The Washington Post [scroll down] reports that the U.S. has begun firing white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Iraqi doctors are reporting that corpses are being brought into the hospital with their skin melted -- a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.

--Democracy Now, November 10, 2004


W e a p o n   o f   t h e   D a y

M a r i l y n   C h a n d l e r   M c E n t y r e
November 10, 2004

White phosphorous
melts the skin, burns
through to the bone.

Water cannot quench it.

What you can make with it:
firewalls around houses,
lines in the sand,
burning barricades not even
one Fallujan can get past.

In Santa Barbara
on the beach at night
small phosphorescent waves
crest and break, in long,
luminous trails of light.

No sound is more soothing  
than their whisper.


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F i g h t i n g  i n  F a l l u j a
M a r i l y n   C h a n d l e r   M c E n t y r e
November 9, 2004

Urban warfare, meaning
street by street,
house by house,
rifle to rifle,
face to face.

Then someone shoots first.

Tanks make their muddy way
in the tracks of yesterday’s
grocery trucks.

Marines are making ready
to storm the mosque. No one
sounds the summons
to evening prayer.

No one has water or light.

Escape routes are closed
to all but one who
survived to tell what he knew:
“The streets are littered with bodies.”

There is no official information
about civilian casualties.


R u n n i n g   t h e   N u m b e r s :

F a l l u j a h

M a r i l y n   C h a n d l e r   M c E n t y r e

November 6, 2004

3 hospitals-

"military targets"--

1 seized, 2 bombed.

8 air strikes

in 20 minutes.

4 500-pound bombs

before dawn.

And all night

in cars, in carts,

desperate pedestrians,


white flags,

they leave

home behind.

250,000 of them.

The other 50,000 wait.

In rear view mirrors

5 mosques rise

like fists

in a yellowed sky.


It is time for full accountability. And time to face reality about the war.




© 2004-2005 Church Folks for a Better America - All Rights Reserved
A Project of the Peace Action Education Fund, educational arm of the
Coalition for Peace Action, 40 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ 08542