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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

War Resistance in Killeen

An article published in truthout tells the story of soldiers from Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, who have found one another through their mutual conviction that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are morally wrong and unjustifiable. They are part of a newly connected group of people in Killeen who have determined that they must take a stand against the war. Two soldiers, Spc. Victor Agosto and Sgt. Travis Bishop, have faced court martial for their refusal to deploy.

One of the outgrowths of this developing community of war resistance has been a coffee shop just down the street from Fort Hood, called Under the Hood. Members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, soldiers, and families of Fort Hood military personnel have found refuge and strength for their convictions in this new gathering place.

The Resistors from Casey J Porter on Vimeo.

The Resistors is a new film made for Under The Hood Cafe.

The following quotations are excerpts from the truthout article.

Sgt. Travis Bishop, who served 14 months in Baghdad with the 3rd Signal Brigade, faces a court-martial this Friday for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Bishop is the second soldier from Fort Hood in as may weeks to be tried by the military for his stand against an occupation he believes is "illegal." He insists that it would be unethical for him to deploy to support an occupation he opposes on both moral and legal grounds and he has filed for conscientious objector (CO) status.

Spc. Victor Agosto was court-martialed last week for his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan.

* * *

Bishop told Truthout he was inspired by Agosto's stand and had chosen to follow Specialist Agosto's example of refusal. Both his time in Iraq, the illegality of the occupation and a moral awakening led to his decision to refuse to deploy.

"I started to see a big difference between our reality there and what was in the news," Bishop explained to Truthout about his experience in Iraq, but went on to add that morality and religion played a role as well.

When he received orders to deploy to Afghanistan, Bishop said, "I started reading my Bible to get right with my creator before going. Through my reading I realized all this goes against what Jesus taught and what all true Christians should believe. I had a religious transformation, and realized that all war is wrong."

Bishop received his orders to deploy to Afghanistan in February, but at the time "didn't know there was a support network or a way out at all. I thought GI resistance was something archaic from Vietnam."

As his deployment date approached, he met with other soldiers at a GI resistance cafe, "Under the Hood", in Killeen, Texas.

"They told me not only do I have a choice, but I have a support network backing me up," Bishop explained, "I told them my thinking, and they said that I sounded like a CO. They put me in touch with (James) Branum and when I learned from him what a CO was, I knew I couldn't go."

* * *

Bishop hopes his refusal to deploy will inspire soldiers to search their consciences.

"My hope is that people who feel like me, that they don't have a voice and are having doubts, I hope that this shows them that not only can you talk to someone about this, but that you actually have a choice," he said.

"Choice is the first thing they take away from you in the military," Bishop added, "You're taught that you don't have a choice. That's not true. And not wanting to kill someone or get killed does not make you a coward. I hope my actions show this to more people."
There is a video documentary linked below, for those who want to learn more about Under the Hood Cafe. Be warned that there is some rough language used by some persons who are interviewed.

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