William Sloane Coffin, Jr., a progressive activist who used his faith to serve the greater good, died yesterday. He was 81.
Coffin first became well-known when, as the chaplain of Yale University, he was an outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam. He was jailed several times for his civil rights activities (he was a Freedom Rider), and indicted by the US government in the Benjamin Spock conspiracy trial. Coffin was a former pastor at New York City's famous progressive Riverside Church, and a long-time president of the SANE/FREEZE Campaign for Global Security. He also fought in World War II, worked for the CIA, and inspired a character in Doonesbury. He wrote several inspiring books, among them, The Courage To Love and A Passion for the Possible.
Coffin was a great man and a great leader. Progressive people everywhere can honour his memory by carrying on his work.
AlterNet's obituary features an interview with Coffin from the progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun.