Statement made in Federal Court
Protesting the war in Iraq
Cassie MacDonald
25 August 2004

Some might think I find myself here because I don't respect the law . . . but that wouldn't be true. I studied the law. I have a deep respect for it, for the discipline of order and the social contracts we participate in as a human community. I don't want to live in a world without laws. But when the law asks me to stand by quietly while children die needlessly and a whole people is terrorized, then the law has failed us. That is when I need to mindfully put it aside and listen to a truer authority: the law that was written on my heart before I was born.

This is my commandment: love one another.

The law failed us, but my faith teaches me that love never fails. I may fail- and do, daily. But love never fails. I believe that any act done with love is successful, that it tips the balance for the good - even if no one sees, and no one listens. Even if the act is squashed, interrupted, belittled, or worst of all, ignored. A true word spoken with love will find its way in the dark.

Some might also think that I find myself here because I don't respect the commitment and sacrifices of our armed forces. That would not be true either. My own brother served a year in Iraq as an infantryman. Michael is home safe, thank God. But it is because of him that the losses suffered in the war could never be impersonal. Every casualty - brought home in the night as if their sacrifice was a shameful secret - every one has a face: it is my brother's face. Every bereaved mother has a face, and it is my mother's face. Considering that suffering, the prospect of sitting in the rain a few hours or in a cell for a few days hardly seems to signify. But love never fails.

I was one of a few people here at the end of the April hearing when you asked a question of us: What if we as a nation had not intervened in 1941? It is a question for all of us in these times: when is it our responsibility to bring our strength to the defense of the weak? I like this question because it has, at its heart, concern for the other. It is a loving question. Though it is good that we can be moved passionately by the suffering of others, ultimately, in God's time, no one is served by acts of violence. Only violence is served by violence. And though we could follow an infinite number of possibilities arising out of a single act or omission (who hasn't tortured him or herself with "what ifs"?), isn't there more integrity in living the moment I am in, consulting with my own heart, and listening to the voice that speaks to me? I can find some peace in that, no matter what the outcome is.