March 01, 2007


We interrupt Goat Rope's ongoing series on conservatism for this news flash.

(You guys must be living right--two Goat Rope posts today!)

((You'll have to wait for the next post for the gratuitous animal picture.))


I guess you could call him The Capito One. The Rev. Jim Lewis, a retired Episcopal priest, pleaded guilty yesterday of trespassing in Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito's Charleston office.

Rev. Lewis visited the office on Feb. 16 with a delegation from WV Patriots for Peace to express concern for Capito's vote against a House resolution opposing President Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq. While other members left the office, Lewis remained, noting that U.S. troops in Iraq had to stay so he would too. He was ordered to pay a fine of $50 or do a day of community service.

Here's the Gazette story.

Here is an excerpt from the statement Rev. Lewis gave in municipal court:

Your honor, I find it ludicrous that I have been charged with a citation for trespassing.

Mr. Bush has received no citation for trespassing in Iraq.

Ms. Capito has received no citation for having been an accessory to our trespassing in Iraq.

No one in the CIA, or the Bush Administration, has received a citation for trespassing on international law, and the human rights of prisoners, for having shipped over a thousand prisoners to other countries where they are being tortured.

No one in the Justice Department has received a citation for having trespassed on the Constitution by using illegal wiretaps and surveillance techniques to spy on U.S citizens.

No one in Congress has received a citation for having trespassed on U.S. taxpayers by allocating billions upon billions of dollars, many of them squandered illegally, for a war that threatens the very soul of our nation...

I want to apologize for any trouble, inconvenience or anxiety I may have caused the staff at Representative Capito’s office.

My fervent hope is that everyone involved in this situation will come to understand that my actions were motivated by conscience, a sense of duty to my God and to my country, and, last but not least, my concern for all peace-loving people who work and pray for an end to this war.

BISHOP'S STATEMENT OF SUPPORT: In addition, WV Episcopal bishop the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer issued the following statement of support:

This communication comes to attest that the Rev. Jim Lewis is an Episcopal priest in good standing, resident in the Diocese of West Virginia. As such, he agreed at his ordination to “ proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. It is our understanding in the Episcopal Church that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of peace.

In his action of “sitting in” at Shelley Moore Capito’s office on February 16, he was following the tenants of the Church that call for promoting peace and non-support of war. Father Lewis was speaking out specifically against the war in Iraq, consistent with the voice of the Episcopal Church against unjust war. The war in Iraq does not meet the “just War” criteria. Beginning with St. Augustine in the early 7th century, the church has supported the Just War criteria in evaluating acts of defense and aggression. Three basic conditions for a just war were established at that time, and elaborated upon over the centuries. The three basic conditions for a just war include: authorized authority, just cause, and rightful intention. Although President Bush is clearly our authorized authority in the US according to just war conditions, “just cause” and “rightful intentions” have not been adhered to in this war.

In his endeavor to serve as a prophetic voice, father Lewis has repeatedly attempted to speak with our elected leadership to vote the “will of the people” rather than the will of the Party. When that failed, due to an unwillingness to listen to the electorate, Father Lewis proceeded to remain in Congresswoman Moore Capito’s office until such time as he spoke with her, or was removed.

As Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, I strongly support Father Lewis in his message, and in his actions.

Rock on, Episcopalians! Did El Cabrero mention he was one too?

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL...The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Employee Free Choice Act today. This bill would restore the right of workers to form unions. Specifically, it would allow workers to organize when a majority sign a card authorizing union representation, increase penalties for companies that illegally fire or harass workers for trying to organize and would provide mediation and arbitration for first contracts. It would be an important step towards restoring the middle class and putting the country on the road to shared prosperity.

If you haven't contacted your congressperson yet, now would be the time. Here's some information.

Coincidentally or maybe not, Congresswoman Capito is the only member of WV's delegation who has not come out in support of EFCA.



Jspiker said...

Very powerful....great entry.
I was going to write about the same thing myself but you beat me to it.

You sure tell it like it is....

El Cabrero said...

Thanks. I felt bad that I didn't make it to Jim's hearing yesterday but wanted to help get the word out.