As a Jewish person in this Christian peace witness, I felt affirmed and welcomed by the other participants. As a nurse, I gladly was the health resource person for the event and was moved by the dedication of participants with serious medical conditions that might have kept others away.
For example, a middle-age woman suffering from cancer told me that she was considering doing the civil disobedience. She had brought her chemotherapy medications, which she had to take on a regular schedule.
I explained that police often will confiscate any meds that people carry; I expected that she would decide regretfully not to participate in the civil disobedience. However she continued to struggle with her decision. She spoke of her deep opposition to the war, her empathy with Iraqis and American soldiers who are being killed and wounded, and her feeling of being called to "divine obedience," no matter what the cost. So far as I know, she was arrested a few hours later. I had a similar conversation with a man who had his nitroglycerine tablets on his belt in case he had cardiac problems.
Sometimes it's said that those of us opposing the war need to be as dedicated and willing to take risks as the soldiers who are battling in Iraq. Meeting this dedicated man and woman gave me hope that this faith-inspired peace movement is producing just such people.
Phyllis Taylor is a correctional chaplain, hospice nurse, and bereavement counselor in Philadelphia.