War, Violence & Religion: A Dialogue and Call to Action

Rev. Dr. James Lawson and Dr. John G. Cobb, Jr

Rev. Dr. James Lawson and Dr. John G. Cobb, Jr

War, Violence & Religion:
A Dialogue and Call to Action

with the Rev. Dr. James Lawson
and Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr.
Monday, July 20 – 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd.

Is war or violence ever justified by our religious or spiritual traditions? In the service of combating oppression, tyranny, or genocide? In self-defense? Please join ICUJP – Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace in an exploration of these issues, led by veteran Civil Rights leader the Rev. Dr. James Lawson and pioneering Process Theologian Dr. John G. Cobb, Jr.

These questions are the subject of intense debate within our own Unitarian Universalist denomination as the 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake City considers a Statement of Conscience on “Peacemaking.” The Draft Statement presented at GA states that “We reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy, except for self-defense and humanitarian purposes. …. We affirm and promote nonviolent measures to prevent war, while considering the right of conscience that calls some of us to choose conscientious objection and some of us to choose military service.”

Yet the Rev. Dr. Paul Sawyer and other long-time UU peace advocates question the concept of “war for humanitarian purposes” and its application in recent years to US foreign policy. Some wonder why only “nonviolent” measures are acceptable to prevent war, when war itself is considered sometimes acceptable.

While grounding our exploration of peacemaking in our Unitarian Universalist traditions, we can extend and deepen it by learning more about the tensions between pacifism and just-war theory in other religions. This event is a rare opportunity to do so, as it brings together two most eminent theologians and activists in a face-to-face conversation.

  • The Rev. Dr. James Lawson was once called by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the “leading theorist and strategist of non-violence in the world.” He was a co-founder, in 1960, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, coordinator of the Freedom Ride in 1961, advance staff person for the 1963 Birmingham campaign, coordinator of the 1966 Meredith march in Mississippi in 1966, participated in the 1961- 67 Chicago effort, and chaired the strategy committee for the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike . After retiring as pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in LA, Dr. Lawson served last year as a Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University.
  • Dr. John B. Cobb, Emeritus Professor at the Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate School, played a critical role in the development of Process Theology. He has authored over two dozen books, including Is It Too Late? A Theology of Ecology (1971), Process Theology as Political Theology (1982), Sustainability (1992), and The Process Perspective (2003). He is a co-founder of Progressive Christians Uniting. For more information, see the “Ask Dr. Cobb” feature at www.processandfaith.org.

Immanuel Presbyterian Church is two short blocks from the Metro Red Line stop at Wilshire/Vermont. Limited Early Bird parking in the rear of the church – alternative parking in the UTLA structure on Berendo, north of Wilshire. More information: www.icujp.org (213) 626-2265 – or contact Bonnie Blustein blustein@earthlink.net

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