R. I. P. Jim McGinnis (1943-2009)
Overlooked in the celebrity deaths this August (Ted Kennedy, author Dominick Dunne, Canadian pacifist Muriel Duckworth), has been the passing of one of the major leaders of American Christian pacifism since the Vietnam era: James B. (“Jim”) McGinnis (1943-2009). McGinnis was just ordinary American Catholic boy serving in the Indiana National Guard in 1968 when in brief succession, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated and McGinnis’ cousin, a draft resister, was killed in a car crash. Sensing a call from God, McGinnis applied and received a conscientious objector discharge and began resisting the war and shortly became a convinced pacifist.
Along with his wife, Kathleen, Jim McGinnis founded the Institute for Peace and Justice, the Parenting for Peace and Justice Network, and the Families Against Violence Action Network (FAVAN). He continued a life of simplicity, peace protest, and teaching and writing resources for peace education. In 1995, Pax Christi, USA, the largest Catholic peace network, awarded McGinnis their Teacher of Peace Award. His books and resources were used by many of us in many traditions.
On 13 August, going out for his usual morning walk, he had a heart attack and died.
He will be sorely missed by those of us who must continue the work.
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