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Century Marks

Clergy silence? In a tribute to William Sloane Coffin, a former Yale University chaplain and an antiwar activist during the Vietnam War who died in April, Helen Thomas asks where the clergy voices are on the Iraq war. Whereas many clergy led the struggle against the war in Southeast Asia, notes Thomas, “three years into the war against Iraq, the silence of the clergy is deafening, despite U.S. abuse of prisoners at Abu Graib and a reported American policy of shipping detainees to secret prisons abroad where, presumably, they can be tortured.” Thomas, a member of the White House press corps, concludes that the clergy seem “to be in the same boat as the news media and most members of Congress: they are victims of the post–Sept. 11 syndrome that equates any criticism of U.S. policy with lack of patriotism” (San Francisco Chronicle, May 4). However, war protest songs have come from performers as different as Pink, Neil Young, Merle Haggard and Madonna.


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