The Boston-Baghdad Connection

Boston’s religious leaders provided admirable concern for the victims of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, but abdicated their no less important prophetic role.  In fact, their pastoral care, while critical, apparently provided a safe way of avoiding the more risky, and no less caring, inquiry into the expressed Boston-Baghdad connection motivating the Marathon bombers.

The Boston Globe reported that worshippers will join in a service just beyond the Marathon finish line to pray and sing in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones. (“Religious groups to meet, pray at Marathon barricade Sunday in Boston’s Back Bay,” By Gal Tziperman Lotan, Globe Correspondent, The Boston Globe, Apr. 20, 2013)  Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O’Malley prayed for the victims and “preached forgiveness” at a packed Cathedral of the Holy Cross mass, referring to the “senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.” (“Cardinal O’Malley prays for Marathon bombing victims, preaches forgiveness at Boston service, By Kathy McCabe, The Boston Globe, Apr. 21, 2013)

A front page Boston Globe story, called “Clergy, congregants give solace to the shaken,” stated that members of “churches most directly affected by the bombings and their aftermath . . . mourned and comforted each other, taking refuge after a week of horrific violence.”  The story also reported, “From pulpits across Greater Boston, clergy offered sermons on caring, kindness and the power of community.”  Reverend Rob Mark, minister of Boston’s Church of the Covenant, was quoted: “May this be our invitation as a people of faith . . . to tell a different narrative to our world—not one of violence, profiling, or revenge but one of selfless love, compassion, and hope.”  And in the filled wooden pews of Watertown’s St. James Church, an evidently relieved, Rev. Laura Everett, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and guest speaker, said, after the lockdown of the city was lifted, “We step outside with the sky a deep headstrong blue to go to church . . . the grocery store . . . school or work.  . . . This is what the living do.” (By Lisa Wangsness, Beth Daley, and Lisa Kocian, April 22, 2013)

“Forgiving . . . senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  “To tell a different narrative to the world, not one of violence. “  “We step outside with the sky a deep headstrong blue to go to church . . . grocery store . . .school or work.  This is what the living do.”

Tell these stories to the mothers and fathers and their families in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, where US drones fly overhead, 24 hours a day, creating constant, crippling terror—and inflicting death and injury to thousands of innocent children and their loved ones; and other US-led aerial assaults and special forces, at any time, bring sudden death to Afghan villagers.  All this trumped up “war on terror” against innocent human beings– in our name.

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  How about Iraq?  With more than one million civilians killed, over four million made refugees, the country’s infrastructure destroyed, and continuing, severe sectarian violence.  The lives of some 4500 Americans needlessly sacrificed, with over 100,00 more maimed in body and mind.  Billions of dollars of our country’s resources wasted.  America’s military-industrial complex profiting—like former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Halliburton making $39.5 billion off the Iraq war. (“Report: Halliburton Subsidiary Received $39.5 Billion For Iraq War Alone,”, Apr. 8, 2013)

And a United Methodist president, who should be indicted as a war criminal for launching the falsely based, illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Instead, he has recently celebrated the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library at Southern Methodist University—with President Obama and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, Sr. lending legitimacy to his obscene monument.

The Washington Post reported that, from his hospital bed, a wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.” (“Boston bombing suspect cites U.S. wars as motivation, officials say,” By Scott Wilson, Greg Miller and Sari Horwitz, Apr. 23, 2013)

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  Not for  UK Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who said on the Bill Moyers show, “We need to investigate why ‘there seem to be so many people from so many different parts of the world willing to risk their lives or their liberty in order to bring violence to the United States, including to random Americans whom they don’t know.’” (The Real Questions About the Boston Attack,” Moyers & company, Apr. 24, 2013)  It is not about former President George W. Bush’s simplistic, war-mongering administration’s self-serving answer: “They hate us for our freedoms.”

Glenn Greenwald continued, “When [terrorists] are heard, which is rare, about what their motive was, invariably they cite the fact that they became enraged by what Americans are doing to Muslims around the world, to their countries in terms of bombing them, imprisoning them without charges, drones attacking them, interfering in their governments, propping up their dictators, that they feel that they have not only the right, but the duty to attack America back.” (Ibid)

In a Guardian column on “The Recurring Motive for Anti- US ‘Terrorism,” Glenn Greenwald states, “Ignoring the role played by US actions is dangerously self-flattering and self-delusional.”  He cites “four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world—violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children.”  A case in point  is “attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.”  When the prosecuting  federal judge asked why he would kill innocent children, he replied, “Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children, they don’t see anybody.  They kill women, children, they kill everybody.”  He concluded, “Americans only care about their own people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.” (Apr. 25, 2013)

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  Farea Al-muslimi, a Yemeni citizen made sense at a recent Senate subcommittee hearing on the Obama administration’s targeted killings with drones.  He testified, “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.  . . . The drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis.” (Voice from Yemen: Obama’s Drones Stir ‘Growing Hatred of America,’” by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, Apr. 24, 2013)

A related New York Times story reported that the Yemeni man’s testimony was before “the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights . . . a rare public hearing on the use of drones,” at which “the Obama administration did not send anyone to testify.”  The Yemini citizen is quoted as saying, “Now, however, when they [his friends and neighbors] think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads.” (“Drone Strikes Turn Allies Into Enemies, Yemeni Says,” By Charlie Savage, Apr. 24, 2013)

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  A week before the Boston Marathon, a C.I.A.-directed air strike killed an estimated 20 Afghan people, including 11 small children.  The shocking photo of all these dead young children, lying side by side for burial,  may be seen in a Huffington Post story on “Afghanistan: NATO Air Strike Kills 11 Children,” by Kim Gamel,,  Apr. 7, 2013.)

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  In 2004, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board Task Force studied the blowback effect of the Bush administration’s warfare policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and concluded,

Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies.  The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most  notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.  Moreover,  saying that “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing,   suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved people of the old Communist World– but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq  has not led to more democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering.  U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination. (“A Rumsfeld-era reminder about what causes  Terrorism,” By Glenn Greenwald,, Oct. 20, 2009)

“Senseless violence . . . difficult to understand.”  Or, too threatening to understand!  But we are getting ahead of our story.

More of the same evasive theologizing came from newly elected Pope Francis, who, in a telegram “calls on Bostonians to not be overcome by evil.”  His telegram states, “In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response.”  And, “The Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf Rom. 12- 21), working together to build an even more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.” (Vatican Radio, Apr. 16, 2013)

“Senseless tragedy.”  Had then Pope John Paul II radically opposed the Bush administration’s imminent pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, and rejected the Presidential Medal of Freedom President Bush later presented to him, there might not have been an unnecessary, lie-based war against non-weapons of mass destruction-possessing Iraq. (See Alberts, “Guardians of the Status Quo: Mainstream Religion in Bushtime,” Counterpunch, Sept. 19, 2005)   And there might not have been bombs going off on Boston’s Boylston Street.

Safe theological abstractions abound—and are apparently sought– in mainstream media’s coverage of religious leaders’ responses to the terrible Boston Marathon bombings.  Time US conducted a survey of the sermons of nine religious leaders in response to the bombings, in a piece called, “Hope Amid Disaster: Sermons After the Boston Bombings.”  From Boston to New York to Los Angeles, the sermons were about: the terrorists’ “goal is to make people frightened,” and “the best antidote [is] the 23rd Psalm,” and “Jesus’ words, ‘I am the good shepherd who cares for his sheep;’” “hope is the church’s business . . . and we do have the promise that God is in the business of staring down darkness and bringing out light and new life from the darkest places of this world’s troubles;” “when we are faced with unexplainable tragedy . . . we pray that above all, we as a nation will maintain our hope, our trust and our confidence in the all-knowing, ever-present, all powerful nature of God;” “what religion can provide at such a moment is community and eternity;” “we are God’s people and we still think that God and his people can speak light into the abyss of the things that often besiege us;” “if we are the people who we say we are, and follow the footsteps of someone who was nailed to a tree and forgave those who hurt him, what will be our response?; “ “the scars in the hands and feet of our risen Lord testify that our response as disciples is not to hang our heads, but to lift our eyes to the One who is present with us always in our midst, building up God’s kingdom when ours are broken down . . . and turning tragedy into triumph by God’s grace.” (By Elizabeth Dias, Apr. 20, 2013)

It is about “evil,” and “forgiveness,” and “staring down darkness,” and “community and eternity,” and “God and his people can speak light into the abyss“; and “lifting our eyes to God.”  Theological questions and commentary, about the role the US pre-emptive Iraq-Afghanistan-wars played in motivating the Boston Marathon bombings, are taboo.  Nor will any such theologizing and moralizing be given a hearing in the US government’s guardian mainstream press

Absent here, and elsewhere in mainstream media, are religious leaders speaking truth to power– to America’s political leaders.  Abdicated is the prophetic connecting of the Boston blowback to an imperialistic bi-partisan foreign policy.  A world-dominating foreign policy– served by some 1000 US military bases world-wide– violating the national sovereignty of countries, killing and oppressing innocent human beings, exploiting their nations’ resources, and using their strategic locations to guard and further the interests of American corporate, military, and political power.  Former President George W. Bush’s favorite pre-emotive war-justifying battle cry of “spreading freedom” are code words for America’s pursuit of unrestricted global “free enterprize.”

America’s mainstream media play a key guardian role here.  Coverage of comments about the Boston Marathon bombings from non-status-quo-threatening religious leaders are far more likely to be sought and covered, than statements by clergy raising questions about the possible connection between the bombings and US foreign policy.  Few, if any, clergy are being quoted regarding 19-year-old Dahokhar Tsarnaev’s hospital bedside statement that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to bomb the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Globe continues to provide such selective coverage.  For example, a front page Globe story called, “Amid bustle, some discover the open doors to a vital serenity,” features two churches near the Boston Marathon finish line. “Two oases of calm reopened Wednesday and lured hundreds of visitors from the crowded plaza and surrounding streets.” The story focused on “visitors” who “knelt or sat in the majestic sanctuaries of Trinity Church and Old South Church . . . reflecting on the meaning of the mayhem that took three lives and injured 264 people only steps away”.  For one visitor, “the serenity of the [Trinity] church’s soaring Romanesque interior provided peace in the middle of a storm, and this was a big one.” And “across Boylston Street, near the first bombing cite, an organ boomed inside Old South Church,” where associate minister John Edgerton said, “It’s about offering a sanctuary in the midst of the city.  Now more than ever, we’re committed to that.  . . . At times like this . . . there’s a great comfort in this place.” (By Brian MacQuarrie, Apr. 25, 2013)

A front page story in The Boston Globe’s Metro section is entitled, “Congregations begin long road to recovery.”  The congregations, again, are those of Trinity and Old South churches.  Rev. Patrick C. Ward, Trinity’s pastor, is quoted, “We are compelled to pray for those who wish harm us .  . . . This is what Christ is calling us to do.”  Far more challenging would be to ask himself and his congregation why the Tsarnaev brothers would wish to harm them.

And at Old South Church, the prayer, “Empower us, Lord,  to meet terror with tenderness and meet madness with mercy”—and the “implore[ing] of a higher power to empower those gathered . . .  to exhibit God-like grace and compassion,even in the wake of inexplicable (italics added) terrorism.” (By Wesley Lowery, Apr. 29, 2013)

The Boston Globe seems to have gone far afield to divert our attention from the Boston-Baghdad connection motivating the marathon bombers.  The taboo on looking at that political connection is also seen in a guest op ed page column by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center psychiatrist Michael Craig Miller.  Dr. Miller recommends that the brain of older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev be tested.  His theory?  He believes the older brother’s mainstream media-reported “anger and intensity” may indicate a biological cause for his violent behavior, like possible repeated head injury from being a boxer.  Miller writes, “We are hungry for details that could explain why two young men would be driven to maim and kill.  But a string of reports, many of which are second- and third hand, do not make a coherent explanation.” (“Testing the brain of Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” Apr. 27, 2013)  Miller is evidently “hungry” for certain kind of “details.”  What is so hard to understand about Dzhokhar Tsarneav’s explanation that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was the motivation?

Connecting the dots between Boston and US violence in Iraq and Afghanistan is obviously taboo in The Boston Globe.  Another example of the taboo is a front page story called, “Behind plot, several potential psychological explanations.”  Interviewed for the piece are certain mental health authorities, who focus on the makeup of and relationship between Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to explain their violent behavior.  According to these psychological experts, understanding the brothers’ violent behavior “can only be ascertained by conducting a mental health assessment, which would include questioning [Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev, along with his teachers, family, and close friends, as well as neuropsychological testing to evaluate his memory, motor function, personality, and other cognitive skills.” (Apr. 29, 2013)  Again, what is so difficult to understand about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s explanation?

The Boston Globe has good reason to avoid political cause-and-effect analysis of the Boston-Baghdad motivation of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  Such an analysis would show The Globe itself—and other mainstream media– as an enthusiastic cheerleader of the Bush administration’s illegal and criminal war against Iraq, and thus its own possible culpability for the consequences, including the Boston Marathon bombings.  Following are merely three Iraqi war-promoting Globe editorials.  “Bush was fittingly candid in saying that ‘though all options are on the table,’ the ‘one thing that I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.’ In reality,” the editorial continued, “Saddam already has large quantities of chemical and biological weapons.” (“BUSH IN COMMAND,” Mar. 15, 2002)  Such weapons– which were the Bush administration’s pretext for launching it criminal war against the Iraqi people– did not exist.

“The particular means for liberating Iraqis [from “Saddam’s police state”] will be less important in the long run than the character of the government that comes after Saddam’s fall.” (“AIMING AT SADDAM,” June 19, 2002) The realities of death and maiming and destruction and waste in Iraq—and in the United States– reveal just how outrageous that editorial statement was—and is.

“If US action in the coming months lead to Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, there will be jubilation in Iraq that the monster who murdered and tortured so many people and ruined the life of entire generations is finally gone.” (“AFTER SADDAM,” Oct. 21, 2002)  Instead of jubilation in its streets, Iraq continues to be torn apart by sectarian violence—“made in America.”  The Boston Globe itself is complicit in the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people, and in the related blowback of violence against American citizens.  (For more on Boston Globe editorials, and other media, supporting the war against Iraq, see Alberts, “A Trail of American Blood: From the White House to CBS,” Counterpunch, Oct. 31, 2007)

The greatest taboo in American political, corporate, media and religious circles is bringing up the cause-and-effect connection between US foreign policy and blowback violence against Americans.  Vice President Joe Biden reinforced this taboo at the memorial service for Sean A. Collier, the M.I.T police officer tragically murdered by one of the Tsarnaeu brothers.  “During an emotional address,” The New York Times reported, “Mr. Biden drew on his own experience of losing a child, and reflected broadly—and colorfully—on what had motivated the bombers to commit their terrorism.  ‘Why,’” Biden asked, “’whether it’s Al Qaeda . . . or two twisted, perverted, cowardly knockoff jihadis here in Boston, why do they do what they do?’”  His answer: “They do it to instill fear.”  He then shifted to the students in attendance, saying, “’You are their worst nightmare.  . . . All the things these perverted jihadeis—self-made or organized—all the things they fear.” (“On a Field at M.I.T., 10,000 Remember an Officer Who Was Killed,” By Jess Bidgood, Apr. 25, 2013)

What Vice President Biden himself really fears is students becoming radicalized by a Boston-Baghdad awareness of how his own Obama administration’s imperialistic foreign policy contributes to violent blowback against Americans.  Calling the Tsarnaeu brothers “twisted, perverted, cowardly knockoff jihadis,” may be cathartic for Biden and certain others at the memorial service, but those words betray and discourage not only the search for cause-and-effect political truth, but the future safety of Americans.  The denial of the Boston-Baghdad connection is a disservice to America, and keeps us citizens at continuing, and greater, risk.

To seek to understand the expressed political motivation of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not to condone their heinous disregard and accountability for the lives of those persons they killed and injured.  Nor does the pursuit of such knowledge minimize the terrible loss, maiming, grief and traumatizing of the brothers’ many victims.  Neither does the search for such political cause-and-effect insight trivialize the work of police, other first responders, doctors, nurses and hospital chaplains, who have responded with admirable calming, comforting, life-saving and healing care for the victims and their loved ones.

Real freedom—and safety—are found in a cause-and-effect understanding of why people hate the United States and want to do violence to Americans.  Patriotic denials, seeking to squash national soul-searching, only serve to reinforce our government’s manufactured global “war on terror” and its continuing cycle of blowback violence.  The danger of such cause-and-effect truth is that it can radicalize US citizens, and lead them to say No! to America’s imperialistic—terror- and terrorist-creating— foreign policy in our name.

The word “radicalized” is repeatedly used by mainstream media to characterize the Tsarnaev brothers—as if “radicalization” is equated with terrorism.  Being radicalized can be about gaining knowledge that leads one to see reality clearly, and sets one free.

In a Counterpunch piece on “What Motivated the Boston Bombers,” Tufts history professor Gary Leupp frees the word “radicalization” from those who repeatedly use it to avoid political cause-and-effect reality.  He states, “Marx wrote that ‘To be radical means to grasp things by the root,’ that is, to comprehend the real origins of problems.” He then says, “Many young people have been radicalized by knowledge of the realities of the Iraq and Afghan wars.  They’ve come to understand,” he continues, “that we live in an imperialistic country run by 1% who care nothing for human life, whose military does not even bother to keep figures on civilian causalities.” He emphasizes, “Such radicalization is entirely appropriate.  May it spread!” (Apr. 25, 2013)

At a Boston interfaith service called “Healing Our City,” President Obama eulogized 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu and eight-year-old Martin Richard, who were tragically killed in the marathon bombings.  He heralded the “discipline” of the doctors and nurses and police and others, the “real power” of runners who became first responders themselves, and the “love” of those who cared for the victims and others in a variety of helpful ways.  He then said, “That’s the message we send to those who carried this out and anyone who would do harm to our people.  Yes, we will find you,” he went on.  “And, yes, you will face justice.  We will find you.  We will hold you accountable.  But more than that,” he continued, “our fidelity to our way of life—to our free and open society—will only grow stronger.”  He ended by quoting The New Testament’s II Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline” (“In the Face of Evil, Boston Has Shown that Americans Will Lift Up What Is Good.” Colleen Curtin, The White House Blog,, Apr. 18, 2013)

President Obama’s closing comment leads everyone far from the empowering knowledge of cause-and-effect.  If he really wants to “find” who is harming our citizens, he should begin by looking in the mirror, and examining his administration’s continuation of America’s imperialistic foreign policy– in our name.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s April 4, 1964 sermon in New York’s Riverside Church, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, speaks to today’s theological taboo surrounding the Boston-Baghdad connection.  King began by emphasizing his strong agreement with the anti-war organization’s statement, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”  He said, “The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one.”  He continued,  “Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor,” King stated, “does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.  Moreover,” he added, “when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.”  King then affirmed the prophetic motivation of his audience: “Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.” (“Beyond Vietnam,”

Are religious leaders who talk about love able to be those kind of people?  Are they able to take on love’s prophetic role of speaking the following truth to power:  “He has judged between the nations . . . they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore?” (Isaiah 2: 4)

Are the Christian leaders among the clergy able to do what they sing?

O young and fearless Prophet of ancient Galilee:

Thy life is still a summons to serve humanity,

To make our thoughts and actions less prone to please the crowd,

To stand with humble courage for truth with hearts un-cowed.

(words: S. Ralph Harlow; music: John B. Dyes)

The New Testament reveals that when his disciples asked the “young and fearless prophet,” “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?,” Jesus put a child in their midst, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change (italics added) and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18: 1-5)

It is eight-year-old Martin Richard who spoke truth to power.  His words lead the way to real security—if America’s political and corporate leaders take his words to heart, and our nation’s religious leaders demand it: “No more hurting people.  Peace.”  May Martin Richard’s words forever remain in our midst, revealing the power of love.

Power of love

Love of power

In the middle of

Each we owe

In the love of power

We worship idols

In the power of love

We worship humanity

Love of power

For self interest

Power of Love

For other interest

Love of power

Builds fences

Power of love

Opens doors

Love of power

Is ideology based

Requires institutions

And the power of love

Is Holistic

And builds community

The love of power sees limits

The power of love is infinite (mhk)

Mel King is a long-time Boston community activist, organizer, educator, author and political leader, who, in 1983 was the first Black candidate to make it to the finals in Boston’s mayoral election.  He is author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development, South End Press, 1981, co-author with James Jennings of From Access to Power: Black Politics in Boston, Schenkman Books, 1986, and author of Streets, a Poem Book published by Hugs Press, Boston, 2006.  His e-mail address is

Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D., a former hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center, is a diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.  Both a Unitarian Universalist and United Methodist minister, he has written research reports, essays and articles on racism, war, politics, religion and pastoral care.  His book, A Hospital Chaplain at the Crossroads of Humanity, is available on  His e-mail address is