Statement – Wanda Guthrie, Target of Illegal FBI Spying

March 14, 2006

Illegal FBI / JTTF Spying >>

The Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice was founded in 1972 to bring people from diverse philosophies and faiths together to work, through nonviolent efforts, for a more just and peaceful world. Through protests and ongoing projects, members of TMC aim to instill in our society a consciousness of values and to raise the moral questions involved in the issues of war, poverty, racism and oppression.

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I've been involved with the Thomas Merton Center as a volunteer for just about nine years now. With their help, I founded Roots of Promise, in an effort to join spiritual integrity with public actions for peace and social justice. TMC helps us to publicize our events and spread the word about our work. They are also our fiscal sponsor and without them it would be very difficult for Roots to exist. Roots has five religious denominations from all across Allegheny county, helping us speak from a spiritual perspective to the problems we're all facing with war, poverty and current social justice issues.

Through Roots of Promise and with the support of TMC, I act as a liaison between houses of worship and community groups working on social justice issues like budget cuts for needed social services, tax cuts for the wealthy and the impact they will have on our communities. We bring together prayers from different traditions with one unifying prayer for peace and social justice for all.

I think for people who are spiritual but not necessarily religious, there needs to be a place and a way that we can express our moral values for the public good, and to keep hope alive, especially these days, when we're at war. We're a group of folks who are here for the long haul. We are concerned about what decisions being made today will mean for the next generation and after that. Our vision is long term and for the benefit of all humanity. We join together to nurture peace and justice in our own lives as well as working for it on the local and national levels.

The government's surveillance of the TMC events and gatherings which may include those of Roots for Peace is just horrible. Spying invades peoples' privacy and sacred space when they are speaking out - and make no bones about it, when you're speaking out for peace it is sacred space. For the FBI to monitor us as if we were terrorists is unconscionable.
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