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News and Op/Ed

Major Prophetic Event
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
April 2-4, 2006. 
A Revolution of Values.
Organizing for the future of the faiths.

On those dates in April, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq will hold a national conference that includes spiritually rooted prophetic action in the tradition of King and Heschel. 

Late afternoon or evening on April 2, there will be an interfaith tent revival on the National Mall to reclaim the spirit of democracy in this dark hour. 

April 3 will serve as an all-day organizing conference, which will provide the interfaith religious community the skill, tools, and theology to build a strong witness for peace in their local community. 

April 4 will continue with organizing workshops and then with a pre-Passover Freedom Seder and a march, with palms waving, to the White House. 

There some will choose to assert their First Amendment rights even if the police decide to arrest them. Others will act as support groups, not risking arrest. 

Equally as a part of the CALC-I event will be a gathering of 40 religious leaders under forty, who are working on peace and justice issues around the country. This Future of the Faiths gathering of young religious leader will be interfaith and serve to strength a new generation of prophetic witnesses. 

We have chosen these days because of their deep significance in traditions of peace, justice, and spirituality. 

April 4 is the Jahrzeit (death-anniversary) of Martin Luther King, and the anniversary of his great Riverside Church speech in 1967 against the three great dangers to America: militarism, racism, and materialism. ("A Revolution in Values" is a phrase from Dr. King's Riverside speech.)

April 9 is Palm Sunday, recalling the moment when a nonviolent Jewish demonstration, led by a charismatic young rabbi, confronted the Roman Empire in its local sub-capitol, Jerusalem.

April 12 is the first night of Passover, remembering when a band of runaway slaves, with God's help, faced and overcame the might of Pharaoh.

The CALC-I National Organizing Conference welcomes all religiously committed opponents of the present US governmental policy of making endless war, torturing prisoners, starving the poor, impoverishing the middle class, and poisoning the earth while enriching the super-wealthy;

And since being "OPponents" is not enough, CALC-I welcomes those "PROponents" who draw on the prophetic traditions and visions of the Biblical, Quranic, Buddhist, Hindu, earth-centered, and other spiritual teachings: harmony between the human race and the earth, the nonviolent resolution and transformation of conflict, compassion for the afflicted, empowerment of the poor and the weak. 

It was CALC-I that helped to coordinate at Riverside Church on April 4 last year the extraordinarily successful MLK memorial and celebration that gave Cindy Sheehan her first national platform.

It was CALC-I that held the amazing interfaith Tent Revival Service in Washington on September 25, the weekend of the major antiwar demonstration.

And it was CALC-I that along with Veterans for Peace and Gold Star Families for Peace led the petition-march to the White House on September 26 at which more than 60 clergy, including Cornel West and Walter Wink, were arrested along with 300+ others.

We have been Called precisely for a time such as this -- to confront top-down illegitimate, unaccountable power; to struggle against Pharaoh, against Caesar, against the danger King warned about of a racist, materialist, militarist America which could yet be saved. 

These are the symbols and reality at the heart of much of the American religious and spiritual vision.

We call upon all committed practitioners of faith to join us at this hour. Please set aside these days as a sacred time to come to Washington, D.C. and speak our truth to the world. 

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center