Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
March 20, 1990
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Dear Mrs. Bush:
Peace to you, peace on earth, good will to all.
Several weeks ago two tourists told us that you surprised their White House tour with a visit. They said you mentioned having noticed our signs in Lafayette (Peace) Park "every day," but said you do not understand why we are here.
John C. Harper, Rector of St. John's Church on Lafayette Square, observed:
"It takes three skills to love other people. First, we need to listen to them; second, we need to show that we understand them; and third, we need to respond to them. An Inauguration Homily, January 20, 1989.
Essentially we are in the park every day because we love people. On one level we listen to the people in the streets, we respond to them in the streets. On another level we listen to the people in power, we respond to them in our signs.
We hope that the enclosed Introduction to Peace Park will give you a better understanding of why we are in the park every day.
We have long been praying for an opportunity to compare ideas with someone from your side of the street. We would be honored by a visit to our signs. If you would feel more comfortable indoors, we will gladly come to you. Please feel free to ask us any questions. Come let us reason together, perhaps thereby we shall come to a better understanding and, thus, overcome wrongdoing. See Isaiah 1:18.
In service to the God of Love,
Around the time of Alexander the Great, there lived a man named Diogenes (aka "the Cynic"). According to reliable sources, during the daytime Diogenes carried a lamp through the streets of Athens. Asked why he carried a lamp by day, Diogenes explained that he was seeking an honest man. By night Diogenes slept in a barrel to illustrate, he said, that a person's worth is better measured by principles than by pocketbook.
Because we live in a literate society, signs with words are the lamp we use. We seek honest and principled men and women to join in a concerted effort to understand truth. To illustrate our belief that a person's worth is better measured by principles than by pocketbook, we devote our lives to our symbolic presence in the park.
To us our signs represent the ancient right - Thomas Jefferson may have termed it "the duty" (appendix ("A") pg. 1) - of people in a democracy to voice their opinions on issues of broad public concern. We do not insist that our opinions are "the" truth, but remain open to reasonable alternatives. (E.g. A pg. 2.)
Those of us with signs have come here as individuals. Each of us sees "actual reality" from his/her own unique perspective. (A pg. 4.) As individuals we do not agree on everything, but on several occasions we have achieved consensus. (E.g. A pg. 6, 7.)
We try to think globally (e.g. A pg. 8 and 9) and act locally. (E.g. A pg. 10.)
A perusal of Secret Service files will reveal that some of us have been in the park since 1981 to "pray for reason, sanity, and an end to war," to persuade this nation "to return to the principles upon which it was founded" (A pg. 11), and "to speak to other people ... to provoke them into thinking about the existence of Cod, because as long as they continue to behave as though there were nothing beyond this material existence," they are deceived into believing that "might makes right -- which it doesn't." (A pg. 13.)
For some years after our vigil began on June 3, 1981, the right to remain harmlessly in the park was fully protected under the principles of freedom of religious exercise and free expression. (A. pg. 14-16, and 17-19.)
Owing to the inconsistent nature of man's law we have experienced increased persecution which has resulted in our being imprisoned for "resting, meditating, or napping" in the park. (A pg. 5 and 32, 33.) Over the years we have evolved into a small, yet unsettled, body of law. See, e.g., Thomas v. United States, 557 A.2d 1296 (Diet. Col. 1989); United States v. Picciotto, 875 F.2d 345 (1989); Thomas, et al v. United States, et al, 696 F.Supp. 702 at 712 (1988); Thomas, et al v. News World Communications, et al, 681 F.Supp. 55-74 (D.D.C. 1988); United States v. Sunrise, 707 F.Supp. (1988).
Lately developments in eastern Europe have raised new hope for international understanding and individual freedom. It seems that we in Peace Park may be better understood in other parts of the world (e.g. A pg. 34-36) than by our nearest neighbors where understanding still seems quite distant.
The first step toward solving a problem is to identify it. We do not believe that peace is achieved by violence (A pg. 24), nor do we believe that kinder and gentler is more detached and aloof. To us it seems that to imprison a person for "maintain(ing) a twenty-four hour peace vigil ... liv(ing) by biblical principles and emulat(ing) the life of Christ" (A pg. 26) misses the mark.
At times human beings can seem quite unreasonable (A pg. 27-29), yet we maintain hope. (A pg. 30, 31.) It is our prayer that together we can understand truth/actual reality and through that understanding we can all achieve atonement.