Nuclear Weapons? Plowshares Actions? Do They Matter?
Four years ago, while I was a member of Notre Dame AmeriCorps in Baltimore, I heard two Plowshares activists speak about their action for nuclear disarmament.
Here were two women who had cut through a fence, poured blood on nuclear missile silos, hammered on them, and prayed for their abolition. Their action sounded foolhardy to me; rash; imprudent; even–thinking of the blood–scary and perhaps not completely nonviolent.
But the women who stood in front of me gave a completely different impression. I don’t remember their words from that day, but as they spoke, their whole demeanor was grounded and gentle, passionate and compassionate.
I approached them afterward. My thoughts were too muddled to be able to ask any particular question, so I walked over with nothing but “thank you” as a conversation starter.
It was enough. I left with an invitation to gather with them and their community — Jonah House in Baltimore — some Sunday.
Sundays at Jonah House became a routine for me. I saw my own values reflected in the group discussions and meditations there; not only reflected, but widened and deepened. I saw that my values and spiritual tradition had within them more hope and possibility than I had ever given them credit for:
“We are all one.”
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
“In God there is no killing.”
“Let your body be broken, rather than break the body of another.”
In the Jonah House community I met people whose lives bear witness to the power of these truths. They are wholly committed to nonviolence in their own lives, as members of their community, and as citizens of the world. They live their principles in loving integrity, with self-reflection and depth and insight.
Their witness helped me start to let go of a despair and resignation I had not even known I had. It became less clear to me that nuclear weapons are “just a fact of life.” It made less and less sense to dismiss their convictions and dedication as naive idealism.
Jonah House and the wider antiwar, antinuclear community gave me hope enough to ask the questions I ask today.
What does it mean to live humanly in a country that has used and still threatens to use nuclear weapons, in my name?
Can I profess to believe in one human family, and stand idly by as nuclear weapons are poised to annihilate millions of my sisters and brothers?
What should I do about the contribution my tax dollars make to nuclear proliferation? especially when my money could instead be helping to fulfill my responsibility to the sick, hungry, and impoverished in my community?
What are the implications of my inaction?
What is the cost of action?
What is the cost of inaction?
Communities like Jonah House exist around the country, places where people come together in sincerity, hope, and yearning to struggle with similar questions.
I wholeheartedly invite you, urge you, to join the conversation.
Disarm Now Plowshares
1417 South G Street
Tacoma, Washington 98405
disarmnowplowshares (at) gmail (dot) com
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
16159 Clear Creek Rd
Poulsbo, WA 98370
info (at) gzcenter (dot) org
1301 Moreland Ave
Baltimore, Maryland 21216
disarmnow (at) jonahhouse (dot) org
More organizations listed on the blogroll at https://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/