October 16th is the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam war protest in which 67 American draft resisters burned their Selective Service cards at Boston’s Arlington Street Church (Unitarian). 214 more protesters placed their draft cards on offering plates held by ministers, including Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin.
It was one of several such incidents that caused Coffin (and others including baby-book author Benjamin Spock) to be indicted for conspiracy to violate draft laws. Coffin was later acquitted on appeal, but the incident pushed him into the national spotlight. In time he was immortalized as the Rev. Scot Sloan in the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury.
Or rather, as we point out in our recent profile of Coffin, half-immortalized. Turns out the “fighting young priest who can talk to the young,” as Sloan was called in his 1972 Doonesbury debut, was also half-named for cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s Yale roomie, Scotty McLennan. (McLennan went on to his own clerical career and is now a chaplain at Stanford.)
Coffin died last year — having outlived the draft, but not the latest war.