Mother's Day 2007
I stand here with my family today to proclaim that the only
way my boys will ever go to war is over my dead body. So shoot
me now, or shoot me later, but my children are never going to
shoot anyone in the name of the hypocrisy that poses as
democracy. It shouldn’t have to hurt to be a child.
Reverend Gregory L. Stewart and his family witness for peace on Mother's Day 2007.
With the Stewarts on the church steps are Moderator Linda Enger
and California Assemblyman Mark Leno.
photo by Geoffrey Kulik
Many people come to church looking for answers. I stand
before you today with questions. I cannot help but question the
power elite in this country who have privatized patriotism for
their own profit and reinvented religion in their own image.
They claim an historical precedent and a hysterical mandate to
form of a culture of conformity that dances only to the
drumbeats of war.
To their leader I say with all due respect, “Two-step
somewhere else cowboy, I’m not going to goosestep beside you.”
It was the Unitarian Julia Ward Howe who founded Mother’s
Peace Day long before Madison Avenue hijacked the holiday, as a
plea for peace in her time of war. She roared over the antics of
apathy, “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence
She could easily have been talking about the United States
unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq.
We are here today to rekindle the original spirit of Mother’s
Day by standing for peace before sitting in pews. Too many
mothers and fathers and their families have experienced the loss
and the lies of war. We won’t wait any longer.
We cannot let fascism mask itself as democracy or allow
America terrorists at home to demonize their own kind abroad.
When our most powerful leaders send the most vulnerable
Americans to war they terrorize us all. It shouldn’t’ have to
hurt this much to be an American citizen.
So if it walks like a terrorist, if it talks like a
terrorist, it if maims like a terrorist, if it cowers in
congressional halls like a terrorist—it’s a terrorist. One thing
we’ve learned for sure in all this mess: Terrorism knows no
nationality. It’s time to tell the truth, my brothers and
sisters. Mother’s Day is no longer for the faint of heart.
We are here to ask questions, not presume answers. What will
it take to realize the world we seek, with peace as normative
and war as nonsensical? What will ti take? Can we settle our
differences with talking sticks instead of smart bombs? What
will it take? There must be a way to feed the world rather than
bleed its citizens. What will it take? Who painted the White
House blood red?
Oh, I have far more questions than I have answers today. But
there is one more thing that emerges from living among
warmongers, and that is this: in the fight for peace and
justice, God is optional but you are not. You possess the hands
and feet of justice. You embody the hearts and minds of peace.
You are the keepers of the American Dream.
I close with an observation in light of all the
advertisements that demand we find our mothers the “perfect
gift.” How about giving Mom a safer world for all her sons and
daughters? How about pursuing the peace that passes all
Forget the gifts. Put down the guns. Bring our troops home.
Hear the Audio of the Public Witness
(Recording, editing and equalizing by Jonathan
Slideshow of Photos (from Sonnie Wills, Meg Whitaker-Greene,
and Geoffrey Kulik)
Album of the Same Pictures
KTVU - Channel 2
KGO-TV - Channel 7
San Francisco Chronicle