Peace mom to make Glenwood appearance |

Peace mom to make Glenwood appearance

Give peace a chance.

Like the John Lennon song, that’s the message Jim Chenoweth hopes will resonate during Cindy Sheehan’s visit to Glenwood Springs on Sept. 16.

“We’ve been trying to get more respectful conversation between people who have different views,” said Chenoweth, of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition. “We are trying to be for peaceful resolution of conflict, instead of war.”

Sheehan, whose son, Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, was killed in Iraq on April 4, returned to a vigil Wednesday outside of President Bush’s Texas ranch in Crawford. She started the vigil Aug. 6.

Last week, the “Anti-war Mom” ” as she has been dubbed by media ” traveled to California with her sister after their 74-year-old mother suffered a stroke. Chenoweth is not aware of a change in plans for her Western Slope visit.

Chenoweth said Sheehan’s visit was planned before the internationally publicized peaceful protest during Bush’s vacation.

“We had firmed up her visit before she went to Crawford,” he said. “In terms of progressive press, her name was out there.

“I watched her on ‘Democracy Now’ before she was going home and she said she had commitments through the end of September and that she would miss the big rally at the end of September to follow Bush back to Washington,” Chenoweth said. “I think she’s committed to do the planned events, and she wants to talk to kids to do counter-recruitment. But her mother’s health is the unknown variable.”

As a founding member of Gold Star Families for Peace, Sheehan has called for soldiers to be pulled out of Iraq. She also wants to discuss the matter of her son’s death one-on-one with Bush, which he has no intentions of doing.

“This is quite amazing,” said Glenwood Springs resident Dean Moffatt, the facilitator for Sheehan’s appearance, which will take place at the First United Methodist Church. “She’s on the international radar screen and she’s coming to Glenwood Springs.”

To some, an anti-war protester appearing at a church may be inappropriate. Chenoweth thinks it’s the right fit.

“I like the idea of having her at the church. War is a moral issue and a spiritual issue,” Chenoweth said. “Having her at the church makes sense. Isn’t there something in the Ten Commandments about ‘though shalt not kill?’

“I would rather have a church packed with people open to talking about faith than have it at an high school auditorium,” he said. “It’s so sad that this country is so polarized. It reminds me a lot of Vietnam. I’m hoping we can have more conversation about war.”

A First United Methodist congregation member, Moffatt also defended the church’s decision to host the event.

“The Methodist Church has a motto: Open minds, open hearts, open doors,” he said. “We are a venue for important issues of our times and our country. We strive to be a venue for responsible and cutting-edge issues.”

“If President Bush was in town and wanted to meet with people at our church we would welcome him,” he said. “We see Cindy as patriotic and a symbol for a part of the country that wants very much for the war to end and our soldiers to come home.”

Along with Glenwood Springs, Sheehan will appear in Grand Junction on Sept. 15 and Paonia on Sept. 17. Chenoweth said she plans a one-hour interview during KDNK’s Friday noon show with Maura Masters, an owner of Grassroots Community Television.

Chenoweth will drive Sheehan to Paonia after the radio interview, an opportunity he is excited about.

“Being a psychotherapist, I plan to ask her, ‘How can I support you during this time?'” he said. “I see a grieving mother ” someone incensed and angry about the war. I want her to know we can help her get through this.”

Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518

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