Third Assembly

3rd Annual National Assembly to Honor Freedom of Conscience

Voices of conscience:  Objections to War in the Middle East

October 2, 2010

Central Presbyterian Church, 8th and Brazos

Austin, Texas

Program Scenario:

8:30-9:00a    Registration/Refreshments (no registration fee, donations welcome)
9:00               Opening: Welcome, Music, Keynote Address by Ann Wright
10:15         Refreshments
10:45         General assembly, Facilitator and Panel Members discuss Destructive Consequences of Wars in Middle East: Impact on Persons and Communities.

Noon Recognize and Honor CO’s present

Lunch on site

1:00p            Documentary, The Wounded Platoon (86 min) and Reflection  

Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs, Colo., have tripled. At least 36 servicemen based at the nearby Army post of Fort Carson have committed suicide, and 14 Fort Carson soldiers have been charged or convicted in at least 11 killings. Many of the most violent crimes involved men who had served in the same battalion in Iraq. Three of them came from a single platoon of infantrymen. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers.

(Soldiers of Conscience possible at 6p for those interested)    

2:45         Refreshments

3:15          Seminars

Greensuiters and Peacebuilders: Creative Strategies for Civilian-Military Dialogue,Elizabeth Snyder

War and Peace: How Conflict and Pacifism Shaped Thought and Writing in the First Half of the Twentieth Century Sarah Abraham and Michael Sirmons

Ethical Criteria for Engaging in War Facilitator and Panel Members

4:30         Refreshments

4:45          Closing Ritual


6:00  Screening, Soldiers of Conscience  


Seminar Descriptions

Greensuiters and Peacebuilders: Creative Strategies for Civilian-Military Dialogue Elizabeth Snyder

Continued U.S. military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the increased securitization of our nation’s borders, has profound, far-reaching implications for both soldiers and civilians. Civ-Mil cooperation is based on the premise that sustainable peace is achieved not simply by containing conflict, but by transforming it. Civ-Mil partners acknowledge that the most decisive efforts are rarely military. And they prioritize the input of multiple stakeholders in the peacebuilding process. Yet despite this growing inclusion of civilian actors in security operations – as planners, first responders, advisors, and monitors – bridging the Civ-Mil divide is not always easy. This workshop provides hands-on strategies for conducting effective dialogue between military/security personnel and civilian peacebuilders. It addresses the challenges often faced in such partnerships and helps seminar participants develop creative solutions. The workshop is highly interactive and gives attendees a practical toolkit they can use in their own work.

War and Peace: How Conflict and Pacifism Shaped Thought and Writing in the First Half of the Twentieth Century Sarah Abraham and Michael Sirmons

PurposeThis workshop will examine the antiwar writings and thoughts of great writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in social, historical, and philosophical context and the relevance of their works and thinking in the twenty-first century.

Part OneLev Tolstoy spent his youth gambling, womanizing, and seeking honor on the battlefield, yet his experiences as both a soldier and a human citizen witnessing injustice and inequality both in Russia and around the world shaped him into the Tolstoy history remembers—thinker, writer, Christian, anarchist, egalitarian, pacifist. He shared his radical and uncompromising views on the evils of violence with anyone who cared to listen (and some who didn’t), such as Gandhi, Lenin, and many other writers and thinkers who impacted the twentieth century.

Part TwoSome of the greatest antiwar literature was written in the first two decades of the twentieth century: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), e.e. cummings, and firsthand experiences of British poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, both of whom enlisted in World war I, fought in the trenches, and became antiwar advocates while still in the service, resulting in the British government putting them in mental hospitals. These pacifist voices raised concerns that shaped attitudes toward conscientious objection in World War II that are still relevant today.

Ethical Criteria for Engaging in War Facilitator and Panel

Historical and contemporary standards that have been used as moral measurements for determining how to respond to conflict will be explained. Panel members will discuss positions of Pacifism/Non-violence, Just War Theory, Selective Conscientious Objection, Constitutional Standard, and Biblically-based Provision. Questions and discussion are welcome and encouraged. 



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