Today is a day to celebrate the prophetic voice and witness of Fr. Daniel Berrigan, the non-violent anti-war activist and poet, whose life and witness has touched so many lives. He was born on May 9, 1921 and would have been 100 years old today. He died five years ago, but his spirit continues to animate and inspire so many others. The following essay is from my recent book, Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies. Radical dissidents and prophets have never had an easy time of it. When alive, that is. Once safely dead, however, honors and respect are often heaped on their heads. The dead can’t talk back, or so it is assumed. Nor can they cause trouble. Jesuit priest Fr. Daniel Berrigan was one such man. When he died on April 30th, the major media, organs of propaganda and war promotion, noted his death in generally respectful ways. This included The New York Times. But back in 1988 when Daniel was a spry 68 years old, the Times published a review of his autobiography, To Dwell in Peace, which was a nauseating hatchet job aimed at dismissing his anti-war activism through the cheap trick of psychological reductionism and reversal.
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