Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Have You Been to Jail for Justice?

That is the title of a song from Peter, Paul, and Mary on their CD In These Times.

I dedicate this song to The Rev. Chris Lieberman and Le Anne Clausen who "both face up to six months in federal prison and fines of up to $5,000 for trespassing on military property during the peaceful demonstration Nov. 18."

Here is the story on the Presbyterian News Service.

At least two Presbyterians — one of whom is a pastor — are among 11 demonstrators facing federal charges after being arrested for crossing onto the U.S. Army’s Fort Benning in Georgia to protest a controversial training school for Latin American military officers.

The Rev. Chris Lieberman, 54, of Albuquerque, NM, and Le Anne Clausen, 29, of Chicago, both face up to six months in federal prison and fines of up to $5,000 for trespassing on military property during the peaceful demonstration Nov. 18.

Lieberman was released after posting $500 bail. It was unclear how much bail was posted by Clausen, who is traveling in Iran as part of an interfaith peacemaking delegation and could not be reached for comment.

Federal court hearings for the two are scheduled for Jan. 28.

The demonstrators were at Fort Benning near Columbus, GA, to protest it housing the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA).

Opponents want the combat training facility shut down. They say forces from Latin American countries are taught counter-insurgency measures at the institute and use that knowledge to commit murder, torture and other human rights abuses in their home countries.

The event marked the 18th anniversary of protests at Fort Benning — disparagingly referred to by critics as the “School of the Assassins” — demanding the training facility be closed.

Federal authorities said the 11 protesters were arrested when they went onto the military base during this year’s rally organized by a group that calls itself School of the Americas Watch (SOAW). Lieberman said he ventured onto the grounds by slipping through a hole in a chain-link fence.

More than 100 Presbyterians are believed to have taken part in the demonstration, which involved as many as 20,000 protesters from around the country. (Read More)


This song is for you!


Was it Cesar Chavez or Rosa Parks that day?
Some say Dr. King or Ghandi
Set them on their way
No matter who your mentors are
It's pretty plain to see
That if you've been to jail for justice
You're in good company

Have you been to jail for justice?
I want to shake your hand
'Cause sitting in and laying down
Are ways to take a stand
Have you sung a song for freedom
Or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice?
Then you're a friend of mine

You law abiding citizens
Come listen to this song
Laws are made by people
And people can be wrong
Once unions were against the law
But slavery was fine
Women were denied the vote
While children worked the mine
The more you study history
The less you can deny it
A rotten law stays on the books
'til folks with guts defy it!

Have you been to jail for justice?
I want to shake your hand
'Cause sitting in and laying down
Are ways to take a stand
Have you sung a song for freedom
Or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice?
Then you're a friend of mine

Well the law is supposed to serve us
And so are the police
When the system fails
It's up to us to speak our piece
We must be ever vigilant
For justice to prevail
So get courage from your convictions
Let 'em haul you off to jail!

Have you been to jail for justice?
I want to shake your hand
'Cause sitting in and laying down
Are ways to take a stand
Have you sung a song for freedom
Or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice?
Then you're a friend of mine
Have you been to jail for justice
Have you been to jail for justice
Have you been to jail for justice
Then you're a friend of mine



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