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Our Method: NonViolent Action, Dec 30th, A Confession, and Advent

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Tue Dec 17 2002 - 10:56:40 EST

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Good People & People of Faith:

On Wednesday I fly out west to pickup my son Domenic for Christmas
vacation.  We'll be coming back to New York for our holiday till the
26th, then I bring him back and the next thing on my calendar is going
to the Syracuse Federal Building on December 30th.  I plan on going to
the 14th floor, where the offices of my US Senator are located,
Hillary R. Clinton, and carrying a picture of parents and children
separated by our system while I walk quietly in the hall to petition
her for reform.

Just yesterday I received an order from a Federal Magistrate that said
I couldn't do that.  Imagine that!  See the order below.

In one of the recent message we talked about "THE GOAL" of our
efforts. I think we would all agree it's a pretty good goal:
protecting the rights of parents to nurture their own children and make
sure children have two parents in their lives.  But what I would like
to mention here is "THE METHOD."  After all, there are a lot of good
goals out there, but what about methods?

The purpose of the web site, www.AKidsRight.Org, is to focus on one
method: NonViolent Action.  I hate to have to repeat this all the
time, but again, this is not to say it is the ONLY method necessary
for bringing reform or the BEST method of reform -- it is ONE of the
methods for reform. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil_back.htm (I also
think it will become a method ESSENTIAL to our effort).

It is profoundly Faith based and demands personal sacrifice with no
guarantee of a specific outcome.  If you don't consider yourself a
person of Faith, it's probably not a good method. I've always thought
myself a pragmatist and firmly rooted in reality. My Faith tells me
the ultimate reality is that of a deeply loving God that cares for
each and every one of us as his children.

I have shared this Faith with Domenic, not just a paradigm or a nice
way of thinking about things, but a reality.  Something I really
believe in.  I know how much I love Domenic and what I would do for
him and when I think of a loving God who cares for me in that same
intimate way.....

A Confession
With all that being said.  I'm amazed at the amount of mistakes I have
made over the past years.  I have talked about some of those in past
list messages.  I accept half the responsibility for the pain my child
has been put through and the destruction of a "normal" family life for
him.  I can think of many occasions in my life where if I had
demonstrated more Faith, not only in God, but in myself; and more
love, and more of a willingness to sacrifice of myself for others --
this would have been a completely different ball game!

[ I want to say I always feel uncomfortable when I hear people's
stories of how they got cut off from their kids -- and they don't
mention what they could have done to avoid it. What mistakes they
made.  I wonder if these are "perfect victims?"  Do we need people
like that testifying before Congress?  Isn't this about the right of
"average" people to nurture their own children, of "below average"
parents to raise their own kids? ]

Everytime the FEEDBACK comes in I'm aware of all the errors I've made
in trying to help in our reform efforts.  The great ideas that
weren't followed up on, failures to get more people involved, the
emails that weren't answered at all, or were answered poorly, and more....

Right now, you know how many other people have committed to
participating in events here on December 30th, ZERO.  If you think you
might, sign up at http://www.AKIdsRight.Org/actionc_syr

Want to know what else needs to be confessed.  If the phone rang
today, and my former spouse said, "John, I've had a change of heart. I
want to share equal custody of Dom with you, I'll be moving back to
New York soon..."

Do you think I would be "walking" on December 30th and risk arrest --
I don't think so!  I would do a lot more letter writing, calling,
etc....  Would it mean I would not think NonViolent Action was
important, no.  But I would be admitting my own lack of Faith, my own
unwillingness to continue to be a "guinea pig" to see if these great
sounding ideas actually work.  The talk of the loving God above --
well .... let's just hedge our bets ... just in case.

That is why I say that among some of you, there are going to be people
that really bring focus to this effort.  The people that know me and
the daily "indignities" I undergo as a NCP (Non Custodial Parent),
understand part of what motivates me.  But there are going to be some
people who stop forward to sacrifice who have children that hate them,
or may not have any children at all -- they are sacrificing for a goal
they will never get to enjoy.  They will be truly admired.

A Thought for Advent
I may not be sure about a lot of things, but the efforts I have made
to walk quietly & lovingly with a picture of children have felt very,
very good.  I can't quite say how, but at the same time I began to
take control of my life and take "action", I lost a lot of my anger
and frustration.  I encountered my own Faith more deeply than before
and I saw people change their attitudes around me.

This message and invitation isn't for everybody out there.  Heck, it
wouldn't be for me if suddenly I had a Sun to go home to at night.
But some of you are in similar circumstances, rolled over by the
system at every turn, alienated from your kids, not even seeing them
for Christmas, and angry and passionate (and you still have your
Faith) -- maybe you want to give NonViolent Action a test drive on
December 30th.  There is still time, take a look at a checklist we
have, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/checklist.htm, and see if you might
want to walk-the-walk.

I will celebrate this Christmas with so much passion and focus and
joy.  Just the ability to be with my child and friends and family!
Why?  Because on the evening of December 28th, I'll be sitting in a
jail cell and not sure of when I'm getting out.

Give a Gift / Receive a Gift
While good and evil are often compared to light/darkness and
warmth/cold -- if you were a scientist you might see a deeper meaning
there.  Darkness is nothing, cold is nothing.  Only heat and light
represent things that are real -- the other two are just absences.

I have struggled with understanding NonViolent Action and how it
succeeds and why personal sacrifice is necessary.  I have to credit
part of this to Dave Shackleton (editor of Everyman journal,, who sent me an email and got me thinking
more about the issue.

NonViolent Action allows you to demonstrate through "unambiguous
physical action" the depth of your Faith and belief in your "cause."
It is a positive demonstration of love given at sometimes tremendous
personal cost.  Words are not required.

As many of us prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I can't
help but recall those famous words of his: "turn the other cheek, give
him your coat as well, walk with him two miles..."  Don't talk
.... do.  NonViolent Action.  The return gift, personal joy and peace.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
John Murtari

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