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Rotarians explore concept of peace

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
State Rep. Mike Glanton discusses peace as Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson listens.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats State Rep. Mike Glanton discusses peace as Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson listens.

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Most people seem to want peace but aren't willing or able to do much to achieve it.

A handful of community leaders got together Wednesday morning for breakfast to talk about peace. Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson, State Rep. Mike Glanton and Southern Regional President and CEO James Crissey were the featured speakers at the Lake Spivey Rotary Club meeting.

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Photo by Kathy Jefcoats State Rep. Mike Glanton (l) and Southern Regional President and CEO James Crissey (c) get certificates of appreciation for their participation in Lake Spivey Rotary Club’s peace forum. With them are (l-r) club President Debbie C. Walker, Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin and moderator Ron Swofford, club president-elect nominee.

Glanton serves on the House Committee for Public Safety and Homeland Security. He said because of the increase in terrorist attacks rather than conflicts among nations, it is harder to identify enemies.

"The enemy is no longer without," he said. "The enemy is within."

Moderator Ron Swofford, club president-elect nominee, agreed.

"Most of the wars of the 20th century were based on geography, identifiable places," he said. "In recent times, it seems like our international wars are based more on something related to religion. Who is the enemy? What is the enemy? Why do we have enemies like that? Some may blame the negative side of Islam being against us but if you study Islam, it's a religion of peace like Christianity."

Glanton said the source of some conflicts can be traced to personal pride.

"It's how we see ourselves and treasure our lives," he said. "When others don't, we take offense at that. As a Christian, I believe my way is the way, the truth and the life. But from a worldwide perspective, we have to accept our differences and move on."

Lawson said adults can take a cue from children.

"A 2-year-old knows nothing but peace," she said. "Kids are color-blind, religion-blind, everything blind. They just wanna have fun."

Glanton said the search for peace should begin at home but that some families teach hate instead. Crissey agreed.

"With a decline in morals, we're moving away from religion," he said. "Society is in trouble and God may be the only person to bring us together. If we take our eyes off the family unit, we're going to be in trouble."

Lawson suggested volunteerism as a way to find inner peace.

"If you just help one person, you never know if it spreads," she said. "That person could help one or two others. You'll get peace by helping people. If you need to volunteer, call me, we have plenty going on that needs volunteers."

Club President Debbie C. Walker said life should be about service to others — the foundation of the Rotary Club.

"We're not looking out for each other any longer, what happened?" she said. "I feel so good about what I'm doing. You don't need money to feel good about yourself."

Walker said "peace" is the Rotary International theme for 2012-2013. Each club throughout the world has been asked to hold a peace forum or provide a specific peace project.

"We selected the forum concept to bring light to the various definitions or meanings shared by different people," said Walker.