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Clergyman To Teach Course In Religious Protest

October 31, 1988

DETROIT (AP) _ Students enrolling in a new course at the Whitaker School of Theology may find their names on a police rap sheet.

The seven-month introductory course on religious protest will include demonstrations outside Detroit-area military contractors such as General Dynamics Corp. in Warren and Williams International Corp. in Walled Lake, said the instructor, the Rev. William Wylie-Kellerman.

Candidates for the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, which sponsors the school, will earn seminary credit for the course, which begins Saturday.

″It is important to understand that worship and liturgy are always political,″ said Wylie-Kellerman, 39, a United Methodist who has been jailed nearly 40 times during protests at military and weapons facilities in several states.

Wylie-Kellerman said the protests to be staged as part of his course will be ″a low-risk taste of this kind of direct action.″ Students will be asked to pray and read Bible passages and not necessarily be arrested, he said.

He said the course was meant to clarify the relationships among politics, religion and militarism.

″There is a spiritual conflict over the culture of militarism,″ he said. ″On one side there’s a story of imperial America, its manifest destiny and Rambo and ‘Make my day.’ There’s a whole language and story about imperial America that Ronald Reagan is living out.″

He said the other side is the Bible and its story ″of non-violent, forgiving love.″

Judith Craig, bishop of Michigan’s United Methodist Church, supports Wylie- Kellerman.

″The thing I admire about Bill is that he never asks for an exception from the rules,″ she said. ″He always accepts the consequences of his actions.″

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