The War and Freedom of Speech

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Recently I have heard and read statements on campus to the effect that, now that the bombs are falling, the time for debate is over and that I should support the U. S. war against Iraq. I would like to explain why I cannot. After careful deliberation, I have become convinced that this war is unjust. This conviction cannot be easily dismissed. The U. S. Catholic bishops, the Holy Father, and the deliberative bodies of numerous Christian churches, including President Bush’s own church, have come to the same conclusion. An unjust war implicates all U. S. citizens in the commission of grave moral evil, moral evil because the cause is not just and grave because innocent human beings are being killed (on both sides!). As a Christian I must work to do good and avoid evil; and, as a citizen of this country, I have a duty to work to ensure that its conduct and policy are moral and contribute to securing its interests here and abroad. Thus, the fact that the bombs are falling only adds urgency to my duty to speak against the war. The framers of our constitution wisely guaranteed citizens the right to speak and assemble as means to address concerns and redress grievances. My failure to write, speak, and march against this war would constitute a dereliction of my duty as a citizen and a capitulation to forces and policies that I am convinced are destroying the moral integrity of our nation and its moral authority abroad. I treasure my country too much to let that happen in silence.

Paul Danove