News Release

Presidential Policies and Morality


Kelly and Pearson are co-coordinators of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, which is organizing the Witness Against War 2008, a 450-mile walk from Chicago to St. Paul “to challenge and nonviolently resist our country’s continuing war in and occupation of Iraq.”

Kelly said today: “Our journey began in the City of Chicago, site of the 1968 Democratic Party convention in the midst of the Vietnam War. The walk will conclude on August 30 in St. Paul — in time for the start of the 2008 Republican Party convention in the midst of the Iraq war.

“In our previous actions, we’d tried to meet more with political leaders. This time, we’ve decided to meet more with average people. They’re obviously concerned about the war in Iraq, but there’s not much confidence that either McCain or Obama will bring that war to an end.

“Our walk demonstrates a direct way to travel toward our goal of a peaceful society. The core of any contemporary movement to resist war and military empire-building must be a radical change in the way each of us and all of us use energy and other limited resources of our common planet.”

Kelly is author of Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison. Her latest piece is “The Big Voice.” She has been repeatedly imprisoned for her anti-war activities, most recently on Aug. 9 at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin with 12 others. Kelly has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Over the last two years she has spent extensive time with and written about Iraqi refugees.

Pearson has helped lead the “Witness Against War” walk since it began, July 12, in Chicago. He became fluent in Arabic while living in Damascus amongst Iraqis who fled their country.

Author of the book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, Clarkson is editor of the forthcoming Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America. He is founder of the interactive blog “Talk to Action” about the religious right and recently wrote the piece “Are Nouveax Moderate Evangelicals, Actually Immoderate?.”

He said today: “The fiercely partisan religious right leader Rick Warren of four years ago is little different from the Rick Warren of today. In 2004, he issued a letter regarding the presidential candidates on the issues he considered to be ‘non-negotiable’ and that ‘are not even debatable because God’s word is clear on these issues.’

“At the Civic Forum, Warren featured the key litmus tests of the religious right — abortion and same sex marriage — while ignoring the so-called broader agenda of the supposedly newly moderate evangelicals such as climate change and domestic and world poverty. He said that we should not ‘demonize’ people with whom we disagree, and yet he described abortion as a ‘holocaust.’

“Warren opened the forum by saying he supports separation of church and state, while the event itself held in the sanctuary of a church epitomized the all-out war on separation being waged by the religious right and its current avuncular leader. [McCain and Obama] have contributed greatly to the role of Warren as a power broker, reflecting poorly on the judgment of both.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167