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Peace Studies at Manchester University | Plowshares | Indianapolis Peace Institute | Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace
  Volume 36  

October

2009  

Dedication: Phil and Louie Rieman

Pastors, Peaceworkers, War Tax Resisters

by Kenneth L. Brown

Phil and Louie Rieman

A few people, whenever you meet them, convey a powerful message without speaking a word.  We link them with who they are and the commitments for which they have sacrificed. So it was whenever one met Louie and Phil Rieman, both ’69 graduates, who died together from an icy road last December 26. Their presence alone strengthened us for peace.

  

Phil and Louie loved their neighbor, “the next person they met.” Whether in South Bend or Sudan, Indianapolis, Iowa, or Uganda, theirs was a ministry of love. Always a team, they shared everything: vegetables from Phil’s gardens, guitar playing and camp-outs; Louie’s pastoral leadership and counseling. They had that rare ability to combine openness and respect with strong condemnation of societal evils such as racism, economic injustice and war.  They were prophets.

Their faithfulness to our peace and justice heritage led them to recognize the inconsistency of being against war while at the same time helping to pay for it. Their decision to redirect tax dollars from militarism to constructive uses did not favorably impress the Internal Revenue Service, but Phil and Louie, as long-term nonviolentists, accepted the costs of conscience.  IRS once confiscated and auctioned off their car for taxes “owed.” They could not legally own property because of the continuing threat that it would be confiscated and sold.  Despite the David-Goliath nature of any person who challenges federal authority, Louie and Phil never wavered. Their witness still stirs us to stand strongly against war.

“God sent his son into the world not to condemn it but so that through him the world can be saved (John 3:17). That son envisioned a kingdom on earth made possible not by violence but by the power of nonviolent love. Louie and Phil were nurtured in that tradition by Manchester faculty parents, Dr. Fern (’58) and Elmer Baldwin, and Dr. T. Wayne and Gwenn RiemanParental witness was embraced in turn by Phil and Louie, and then by their own three children, who in their own ways carry out the vision of a world healed by reconciling relationship: Ken ( ‘93), Tina ( ‘94), and Cheri (‘96). All three as peace studies majors have been instrumental in strengthening that program at Manchester through internships and elsewhere in countless ways.

Phil and Louie Rieman best embodied Manchester’s mission in educating for peace. In tribute to them, the Peace Studies Institute at homecoming, October 3, will add their names to our peacemaker’s wall in the Muir Garden, where they will join those of Gandhi, King, Dan West, Dorothy Day and Gladdys Muir—all pilgrims who beckon us across the frontiers to yet undiscovered powers of love. They have been our teachers and teach us still.

Ken Brown

Philosophy and Peace Studies (emeritus)


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