In Reader Response to Faithful Witness - March 21, 2003
                        by Marcia Z. Nelson
I was glad to remember Faithful Witness this difficult week -- what great queries. How do I seek support? Just look up Faithful Witness! And I am going to a Pendle Hill Midwest workshop on peacemaking.

Of what I read two things leaped out for me, a freelance journalist writing on religion: how can I make a positive difference as a minority voice in this business? I must follow my rules of being fair and impartial -- as you put it elsewhere, be above reproach in what I say. It is very challenging to not "take sides." I cannot lose my credibility or I forfeit my ability to make a difference, which is why I got in the business to begin with! I have also had difficult private conversations in the course of citizen activism this week. This has helped open my heart to the intentions of people who want peace but believe war is the means to that end. I see them as mothers and fathers and siblings of soldiers. We have found common ground in agreeing to pray for peace. I frankly wish more Quakers would pray for peace! Prayer is working to bring peace to my heart so that I can do my work of pointing to voices that may not be popular but which have been steadfastly there, as for example conscientious objectors.

This week the staff I am a member of at ReligionLink (www.religionwriters.com) quickly put together a special "war edition" of story ideas that reflect the role of religion in this conflict. It is a trove of story ideas for media people. It reflects taking a lot of different viewpoints responsibly in an attempt to advance informed discussion, as is the job of the media. I was pleased to have taken part and would suggest it as a resource.

I would like to hear thoughts from fellow Friends in mainstream media -- I know we're out there! -- about the degree to which we should disclose to colleagues about being Quakers. I do not want to be marginalized. I also don't want to underestimate my colleagues' tolerance. I need more clearness on this. And also on the line between reporting the news and making the news (in peace activities).

Marcia Z. Nelson works for Religionwriters.com and lives in Aurora, Illinois.


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