To the Editors:
I am writing on behalf of a group of prominent religious leaders who have requested that Fathers Daniel and Philip Berrigan, presently at the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, Connecticut, be allowed to preach a sermon—in person or by tape—to their congregation. This request was made ideally for the month of October, which includes the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
This request was denied by F. L. Williams, the acting warden of Danbury, since “it would be contrary to long-standing Bureau of Prisons procedure.”
A group of lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights have agreed to bring the matter to court and to sue the Federal Bureau of Prisons for obstructing the Berrigans’ right to freedom of speech and religion under the First Amendment.
We are now asking for your moral and financial support in order to cover our expenses, especially the considerable work of the lawyers involved.
Obviously, the issue is not simply the rights of the Berrigans, but rather the rights of all prisoners, especially those imprisoned for political “crimes.”
Correspondence and contributions may be directed to: Political Prisoners’ Fund, c/o Center for Constitutional Rights, 588 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY.
December 3, 1970