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Crossing the red line

click to enlarge BRUCE ELLIOTT

Barbara Huber, a 73-year-old Catholic nun, disrupted business as usual at Peterson Air Force Base for about an hour last week in hopes of conveying a simple message to her fellow Americans:

Don't pray for God to support the troops. Pray for an end to war.

She and a group of about 50 peace activists quietly bowed their heads outside the base as nearly two dozen military guards, Colorado Springs police officers and El Paso County sheriff's deputies monitored them.

Then Huber (pictured far right), joined by Esther Kisamore, 65, of Colorado Springs, and Doug Gale, 80, of Pueblo, carried white flags and marched across the red line painted on the street that marks the entry to the base.

Huber, Kisamore and Gale say they were heading to the base's chapel to pray some more. They each got about a foot into the base before being arrested by military police.

The three subsequently were released and charged by the city with trespassing. Each activist faces up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Huber, a Sister of Charity, says she was headed for the chapel because the base had refused a request to let all the activists come in and pray on the base.

She says any chapel anywhere in the world should be open to Christians. She doesn't understand why more Americans don't question the presence of chapels on military bases in the first place.

"It gives the impression that God is on our side -- that we have a corner on it, and that the war we're executing is just," she said. "The church is being used to baptize our warmongering."

Last week marked the fifth time Huber was arrested in an anti-war demonstration since the 1970s, though she never has been convicted of breaking the law for such actions.

"I suppose I'm lucky," she said. "But I'd be willing to go to jail for what I believe."

-- Michael de Yoanna

Photo by Bruce Elliott

  • Crossing the red line

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