Sep 29, 2008

"Your picket sign"

Did you see the 1961 movie "The Hoodlum Priest" on TCM the other night? I only saw the last third or so, but it is a really memorable film.

The film tells the story of real-life Father Charles Dismas Clark, S.J., who ministered to gang members and other hoods in St. Louis. Actor Don Murray plays Father Clark very well and co-wrote the script.

One of the most striking scenes takes place late at night outside the governor's mansion. Inside, "the hoodlum priest" is asking the governor to commute a death sentence at the last minute.

Outside, a lone man keeps vigil in the dark, carrying an anti-death penalty picket sign. When he pauses to take out a cigarette, the one guard on duty comes over and gives him a light.

The guard says to the man (I'm paraphrasing now), "You're not gonna change the world with your picket sign." The man replies, "I'm not trying to change the world. I'm trying to keep the world from changing me."

There's another reason for you and me to never be afraid to go out and picket, no?


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