Jim and Shelley Douglass: How Do We Act for Peace?

Utsumi Shoenin, Bill Bichsel, Sr. Denise, Shelley and Jim Douglass at Y-12 nuclear weapon plant in Tennessee

Utsumi Shoenin, Bill Bichsel, Sr. Denise, Shelley and Jim Douglass

Jim and Shelley Douglass were among the co-founders of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, who purchased 3.8 acres along Bangor’s Trident base in 1977.  As members of the Pacific Life Community, founded in 1975,  they began a campaign of nonviolently resisting Trident.  They were inspired by Robert Aldridge’s resignation as a missile designer for Lockheed following a crisis of conscience as he recognized the first-strike capability and accuracy of the Trident missiles. The Douglasses currently live at Mary’s House Catholic Worker in Birmingham, Alabama, offering hospitality to homeless families and acting for nonviolence and peace.
A short video and talk by Jim and Shelley, and for more information:
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action:


All of us live in a world that is at constant risk of destruction.  We humans have created weapons of an unimaginable  magnitude, and we find the making of peace to be unimaginable as well.  Our current administration talks about nuclear disarmament while planning and building new weapons production facilities.  We expect other, smaller nations to forgo nuclear weapons while we continue to build them.  This situation cannot continue indefinitely.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our choice is not between violence and nonviolence.  Our choice is between nonviolence and non-existence.”  It is only a matter of time before someone uses a nuclear weapon, setting off a global nuclear exchange that could end life as we know it.  How are we to live in such a world?

In such a world people of conscience are called to step outside normal boundaries.  It is necessary to awaken the public and to focus our attention on the question of nuclear weapons.  Only if we are aware of the problem can we begin to think of the solution.  In such a world Christians are called to act on the most radical teachings of the Gospels:  “Love your enemies.  Do good to those who hate you.”  In such a world, to be human is to create new ways of speaking truth to those in power.  We are grateful to the Disarm Now Plowshares for their creative action at the Naval Submarine Base Bangor, which remains one of the most heavily armed sites on the planet.  By stepping inside the boundaries of SWFPAC, they have risked their freedom and their lives to remind us of our responsibilities.  Ultimately the choice – survival or destruction – rests with us.  In supporting their action we are challenged to find our own ways of acting to end nuclear weapons.  We must all take responsibility,  just as the Disarm Now Plowshares continue to do.  How will we act for peace?

Shelley & Jim Douglass

Birmingham, AL

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