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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Rice for peace'

An anti-war recipe from the 1950s circulating through e-mail calls for people to send 1/2 cup of uncooked rice in a small plastic bag to President Bush with this message: "If we are going to send something to Iraq, it should be food not bombs."

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, Co., tracks the campaign at www.riceforpeace.org, where people from 723 communities in every state and 19 other countries have recorded their participation via e-mail. "But we know that's way, way, way below the actual number," said Stirling Cousins, a center volunteer who came up with the idea for the rice mailings. "We've been told about churches that sponsor 'fill' events and send off hundreds of packets." Many of these carry the Bible verse: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them" (Romans 12:20).

Cousins got the idea from People Power by David Albert, which tells about an Eisenhower-era effort. Thousands of people mailed small bags of rice to the president to urge him to send food to then-enemy China during a famine. "I wrote a report on that book 15 years ago in high school," she says. "It's an idea I never forgot."


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September issue

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