Rally voices war concerns

CLEVELAND (AP) - A newly formed coalition opposing possible U.S. involvement in war with Iraq rallied at a church, where politicians, clergy and activists made impassioned pleas for peace.

About 500 people Sunday night filled the sanctuary of Antioch Baptist Church for a "Voices Against the War" rally, billed initially as an effort of the Cleveland area's black communities to unite in opposition to war.

Nearly as many whites as blacks came to the rally, The Plain Dealer reported. The Intercommunity/Interfaith Push for Peace, a coalition of 25 peace activist groups, was the sponsor.

The Rev. Mylion Waite, associate pastor of Antioch, said Push for Peace was formed to counter a perception that most Americans support a war against Iraq.

The Rev. Otis Moss Jr., pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, said there is "something dangerous about any nation with a war itch." Moss wondered what the United States could do at home with the billions of dollars it would spend to fight a war in Iraq.

The Rev. Joan Brown-Campbell, the mother of Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who also was at the rally, talked about her own humanitarian missions to Iraq.

"I have prayed with the Iraqi people; they are our sisters and brothers," Brown-Campbell said. "We cannot be timid in our cries for peace and justice."

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has been outspoken in Congress against what seems to be a prelude to war.

"We must be prepared to stand up, to speak out, to organize, to demand an end to the war or demand an end to the administration which insists on war," Kucinich said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)