I WATCHED FOR MONTHS as many of my coworkers devoted themselves to preparation for the Christian Peace Witness, including weeks of negotiation for the civil disobedience. As this was my first structured opportunity to risk arrest, I took it very seriously. At first, to be honest, it seemed frivolous and self-centered. Breaking an arbitrary law, a symbolic gesture at best, posed little hope of changing anything about Bush's policies. Every detail seemed orchestrated with the police in advance, like an elaborate stage play with marks set and lines rehearsed.
But as I thought, prayed, and conversed with others, I was slowly won over to the value of this act. It was to be part of a uniquely and explicitly Christian witness, done prayerfully and from the deepest part of my faith—a chance for solidarity, if only in a small way, with many who have had no choice in this war or its disastrous consequences, and a powerful way for me as a person of faith to say that this war has not been in my name or the name of my Jesus. It was, in its purest form, faith and politics. In the end, regardless of tangible policy effects or media coverage, it was an act of divine obedience, like Daniel's faithfulness to his God in the face of countervailing authority.
Bob Francis is organizing/policy intern at Sojourners/Call to Renewal.