Peter McWilliams Memorial Service
conducted by the Pocono Libertarians, Saturday, October 21, 2000 in Tannersville, PA.
Words of Welcome
Ray Masters (pictured) Media Relations - Pocono Libertarians
Good evening! Peter McWilliams is an American hero. His tragic death has left a void within our hearts. When he appeared at the national Libertarian Convention in 1998 and declared to the world that he too was a libertarian, we were so happy....we cheered...we were so proud that this man, the author of 35 some books, some of which appeared on the New York Times best selling list declared himself to be a libertarian. We were later saddened to hear of his arrest and trial on drug charges. But what was his crime?
You see, some years earlier, Peter was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer. To combat the side effects of his therapy, he used marijuana to help reverse his disease.
On June 14th, he lost his life because of the refusal of federal authorities to "allow" him to use the therapy of his choice in consultation with his doctor.
A few years ago, our lives were also touched by one of our own who used marijuana to help her alleviate her suffering. Denise Smith helped sensitize us to the plight of those suffering from AIDS. Though Denise and Peter are gone, the campaign to allow suffers the freedom to use medicinal marijuana must continue.
People of religious faith should not shy away from this issue, especially since compassion for the sick is moral and just.
Peter's perspective on life has been a constant inspiration to us within the libertarian movement. So, his death should not cause us to retreat in fear, but propel us to fight the forces of ignorance, not with the guns of government, but through knowledge, action and random acts of kindness.
Join me now in a service of prayers, readings and songs celebrating the life of Peter McWilliams.
Hymn - "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
Call to Worship and Invocation
Scripture Reading - Genesis 1: 1-31
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
Hymn - "For the Beauty of the Earth" verses 1 - 4
Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 3: 8-17
Composed and played by Ruth Kochera
Scripture Reading - Matthew 7: 1-12
Words of William F. Buckley on Peter's Death
Hymn - "In the Bulb there is a Flower"
Remarks by Mr. Julian Heicklen
Professor Emeritus - Penn State University, State College, PA
Guitar Interlude - Pat Fallon
"John Barleycorn "
Letters of Condolence
Musical Interlude - Gary Raish
Prayers of Intercession
- For all who have gathered here to honor the memory of Peter McWilliams:
hear their prayer, O God.
- For all church and religious leaders both here and throughout the world:
fill them with wisdom, O God.
- For all policy makers and those elected to public office:
enlighten them, O God.
- For judges, juries, lawyers and courts:
speak to their hearts, O God.
- For those who are incarcerated unjustly:
free them, O God.
- For those who are persecuted for the sake of liberty:
protect them, O God.
- For those who suffer from illness and pain:
restore their strength, O God.
- For doctors, nurses, research scientists, and those bring care, comfort and hope to the sick and dying:
inspire them, O God.
- For the lonely and the confused:
be their friend, O God.
- For those who suffer from addiction:
deliver them, O God.
- For the families of those who are coping with the disease of a loved one:
renew their love for each other, O God.
- For Peter's mother Mary, his brother Michael, and all his colleagues, friends and acquaintances:
console them, O God.
- For all those who have gained solace, strength and motivation from the writings and whit of Peter:
may his words continue to inspire them, O God.
- May Peter's soul and those of all who have passed away:
rest in peace. Amen.
Piano Solo "Dawn" Composed and played by Ruth Kochera
"Once to Every Man and Nation"
All scripture texts where taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
Let us pray. (this prayer was recited by all the people together.) O God of freedom: Liberate our minds and hearts from the darkness of ignorance and indifference. May Peter McWilliams continue to inspire us in the noble task of preserving liberty for current and future generations. We yearn for the universal springtime of liberty both here and throughout the world when the long winter of intolerance, coercion and hatred shall have passed. Teach us to understand that by defending the liberty of others, we preserve it for ourselves. Help us to see that liberty is the very breath of life and that only in the atmosphere of freedom can truth, prosperity, and peace flourish. Imbue us with the courage to guard our precious heritage of freedom so that all people can dwell together in safety and none shall make them afraid. Amen.
Leader: God our Father, the Source of everything that is good: Listen to our petitions that we offer to You from the bottom of our hearts:
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
"Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.
"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. For "He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil." Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God's will, than for doing wrong.
Leader: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good!
People: For His mercy endures forever.
Leader: Let us pray...O Lord, we have gathered here this evening to remember the late Peter McWilliams. May his writings and good deeds continue to inspire us to attain the free and open society that he so much desired. Help us to never lose sight of that vision, so that, with vigilance and courage, we may hasten that day for us and our children. We ask this in Your holy and majestic Name.