Why are you researching the American peace movement during the Vietnam era?
I'm writing my senior thesis in Church History. So I decided to research and write on the peace movement within the Episcopal Church during the Vietnam War. Like the rest of society, the Episcopal Church was severely divided. I'm researching in the Archives this summer. It's kind of crazy reading some of the stuff that was put out by the Church back then.
Neat - you picked the right time to research.
"severely divided" This may be a bit overblown. It may seem to you now (and even to some then) but the anti-war movment was not as widespread as you might think. Just like it is now. It gets a lot of publicity, but only encompasses a tiny porportion of the U.S. population. Good topic though.
In fact, I believe that the Episcopal Church was severely divided. In reading church newsletters, memos, personal correspondence, and resolutions, I have found Episcopalians on all sides of the issue to be incredibly offended by the other. For example, the voting records on the floor of our General Convention (akin to the U.S. Congress) show a clear and predictable split between the bishops (anti-war), priests (evenly split), and the laity (pro-war). Furthermore, activists in the Church took many different avenues to protest the war. For instance, a group of 150 clergy gathered for the consecration of the Bishop of the Armed Forces. They interrupted the middle of the service and demanded that the bishop not be consecrated. When the Presiding Bishop decided to continue regardless of the protest, the 150 protesting clergy in unison took their collars off and dropped them on the floor of the National Cathedral while walking out. Needless to say, this caused quite a stink.While this story is anecdotal, it is indicative of the entire anti-war feeling within the church during the '60s. Lastly (sorry for this length), I do not believe this topic is overblown because there is a fundamental question that Christians have to wrestle with: Do I submit myself to the authority of civil government (as Romans 13 says) even when I feel that it is not in accordance with my Christian conscience?
First off, I never said the topic is overblown, I simply meant the anti-war movement in this country presently. Indeed, there are many that NOW say the war was a bad idea (I am one of them) but the anti-war movement today is fundamentally different from what is was in the 1970s. It's like comparing apples and oranges. This war did not see a racial aspect to who fought it and, more important, it did not see a draft. These two pertenent facts make if difficult to compare today's movment to the 1970's. If your intention is to show the divide within the church in the 1970s, then that is one thing. Yet, to compare it to today's movment is quite another thing. As for the this:"a fundamental question that Christians have to wrestle with: Do I submit myself to the authority of civil government (as Romans 13 says) even when I feel that it is not in accordance with my Christian conscience?"This is valid if someone were drafted against thier own will (which by the way is probably the worst thing a "democratic" nation, such as we call ourselves, can ever enact) like many were in Vietnam. However, we did not envoke a draft for Iraq or Afghanistan; thus, soldiers are not afforded the luxury of questionsing their command or the civil government.Jimmy, it's a great topic, just don't let your historical realtivism cloud your judgement on things.