Circle of Peace with Fr. Louie Vitale

How do we relate with individuals and countries that believe differently than we do? How do we deal with our so-called enemies? Is torture morally acceptable? How do we respond to terrorism?
        Father Louie Vitale has been grappling with these and other related questions for nearly half a century since he began his journey as a young man when he had a conversion to nonviolence after he left the air force.
He served 3 and 6-month sentences for crossing the line twice at the School of Americas in Fort Benning, GA, where the US trains Latin American soldiers in torture techniques. Then Louie served 5 months for crossing the line and praying at Fort Huachuca (the military installation in Arizona where the U.S. trains American Intelligence Officers in “Enhanced Interrogation” tactics such as the much- publicized water boarding, among other torture methods).       
Since his release from jail in spring 2008, Father Louie has given more than 50 talks at universities, community, and church groups across the United States and in Canada. In 2009 Louie will be touring the United States to talk about all of these issues. Just before the start of the spring 2009 tour, Fr. Louie will be journeying to Iran with the Fellowship of Reconciliation as part of an Iran Civilian Diplomacy Delegation to dialogue with the government and people of Iran, our supposed “enemy.”

 Suggested Speaking Topics

  • Love Your Enemies: Transforming Us vs. Them Thinking – Fr. Louie will discuss the importance of dialoguing with our enemies instead of warring against them. Just back from Iran, he will discuss his experience there and developments around the forging of new relationships with the Iranian people and government. Suggested next steps include both continuing to build people-to-people ties with Iranians, as well as advocating with our government to talk with the Iranian government. Optional PowerPoint slide show presentation.
  • The Nonviolent Response to Terrorism –Fr. Louie explores alternativesto our current policies of torturing and killing terrorists, thereby inciting others to join terrorist organizations. He discusses how nonviolence can be used as a much more effective response to terrorism.