Bix reflects on the April 14th youth vigil at Bangor

In conversations with Ciaron O’Reilly, Pat Gaffney and Bruce Kent in London; Gerry Hughes, S.J. in Oxford; Brian Larken, Jane Talents, Rev. Allan McDonald, and Cardinal Keith O’Brian in Scotland, it was strongly agreed that our different countries must support each other and be in solidarity with those carrying out actions and events to abolish nuclear weapons and the Trident delivery system.

On April 14th young people from the Tacoma area came together to carry out a planned resistance event at the gates of the Trident Sub Base at Bangor, Washington at the same time that a large blockade action at the gates of the Trident Sub Base in Faslane, Scotland was taking place.

Prior to the event at Bangor there was a planned video/Skype hook-up at Jeans House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker; supporters of the blockade in Faslane connected with the youth of our community who were on their way to the resistance event at Bangor, and a sense of solidarity evolved. At 11:45 AM (PST) the youth of Tacoma (expressing reasons why they oppose nuclear weapons) were in touch with a room full of Scottish resisters who cheered and waved signs. Some of the youth present were Will Bently, Elias Rodkey, Rosie James, Claire Bently, Amanda Brown, and Kaitlin Martin. They identified themselves and expressed why they were there. Sam Colella led us in singing “Yellow Submarine” but with a modified version – changing yellow to Trident.

We concluded our Skype connection and solidarity wishes with singing together “We Shall Overcome”. After this we car pooled to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, where we gathered in preparation for our walk to the Bangor gate. We were welcomed by Connie Mears then Will Bently called us into a circle and thanked all for coming. Brenda Gallo and Eli Rodkey expressed why they had come. There were words of support for what the youth were doing from Mary Gallagher, Ruth Gallo, and Niko Colella. After this all assembled recited the pledge of non-violence. The group was fortunate to have Mira Leslie and Mary Glystein as peace-keepers who gave instructions on how the group would safely proceed to the main gate of the Bangor Base; following this Peter Roderick led the procession with drumming.

On arriving near the entrance to the Bangor Base, we assembled in the usual place of demonstration which is bordered by a white line restricting entrance onto the state highway and a blue line restricting entrance onto federal property. No sooner had we assembled than a group of 5 marines with a guard dog assembled on the other side of the blue line. Will Bently welcomed everyone then he, Gabe and Quinn spoke of why they were there. We were led in song by Kaitlin Martin and George Rodkey.

Then all of the assembled greeted the marine guards with waves and words which said we were brothers and sisters and not enemies; mindful that we wanted the best for them while we work for a nuclear weapon free world. This was followed by a communal blessing of the guards led by Gerri Jones. Our gathering was ended by a reading from Martin Luther King by Amanda Brown. This reading stated that non-violent action first affects the participant and does not immediately have an effect on violence inherent in nuclear weapons.

We were a vulnerable, rag-tag, insignificant group gathered in a “cloud of unknowing” of the deep, devastating forces of violence that protects nuclear weapons. Though most had a general idea of why we were there, for many the reason of our gathering was a bit fuzzy and, for some, confusing.

We were like long-legged, spindly spiders trying to avoid a puddle. We were the stuff out of which an amused and joyful God writes on our fleshy hearts about the Kingdom (Kindom) coming.



Transform Now Plowshares Trial: An Invitation

Dear Friends

In only a few weeks (May 7th) our friends from the Transform Now Plowshares community will begin trial before Federal District Judge Amul Thapar in Knoxville TN.

Since last year their disarmament action has kept the government and its contractors hopping as they have sought to downplay the significance of this witness and kept the focus off the dangerous criminality of the nuclear arsenal itself and the role of the Oak Ridge Y12 plant in that continuing threat to creation.  For their truthfulness on July 28th and subsequently, Greg Bortje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli are facing three felony charges, including a charge under the Sabotage Act, and risking 35 years in prison.

Michael Walli, Sr. Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed

Michael Walli, Sr. Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed

We are encouraging supporters who can join us in Knoxville the week of the trial to make plans as early as possible and to let our host activists in Tennessee know as soon as possible, so they can plan hospitality accordingly.  In addition to the trial there will be activities over the weekend leading up to and each day surrounding the trial. Click here for more information if you will be joining us in Knoxville.

On Sunday May 5, in preparation for trial, there will be a Vigil at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant — 5 p.m. at Y12 in Oak Ridge, followed by a Potluck and Festival of Hope — 6:30 p.m. at Church of the Savior UCC, 934 Weisgarber Road, Knoxville.

For those of you who will not be able to come to Knoxville, please consider public witness in solidarity with the trial in your locality and please consider sending on financial support for the witness. The legal effort itself entails bringing several expert witnesses and other legal resource people to Knoxville and the additional support needed to stand with Greg, Megan and Michael and their peace witness during their trial will also be significant .  

If you can provide financial assistance, you can contribute via the website or mail your contribution to Catholic Worker, PO Box 29179, Washington DC 20017 and designate it for “Transform Now Plowshares”.

We look forward to embodying a community of peace and justice with you in Knoxville in May

For the Transformation of our World,

The TNP Support Crew

A Malicious Nun? Are you kidding me?????

The following article about Sr. Anne Montgomery and the Disarm Now Plowshares was written by Documentary filmmaker and Emmy award winning writer and producer Helen Young, and published in The Huffington Post today.

A Malicious Nun?

There are many words that come to mind to describe Sister Anne Montgomery, and her work but “malicious” is certainly  not one of them. Sister Anne, an 85-year-old Roman Catholic nun from the Society of the Sacred Heart who once taught students in Spanish Harlem and high school dropouts in Albany, also spent years working for Christian Peacemakers, an  ecumenical anti-war group. She has put her life on the line in some of the world’s most war-torn regions, including the  Balkans in the 1990’s, the Middle East, and more recently in  Iraq. Her life has been devoted to working for peace and on  nuclear disarmament. Continue reading

An invitation from Susan: Begin the process of conversion

[A reflection from Susan Crane, February 1, 2012, FCI Dublin on the US military base Camp Parks]

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your prayers and letters, articles and books.   Life here continues to be simple in some basic ways. In prayer I don’t have to discern whether to live or work here or there, to cross the line at this or that military base, or to begin to disarm these drones or that nuclear capable missile. What I can do is be neighbor to the people around me, sharing, listening, reminding myself and others that the use of violence is never in conformity with the gospel or the god of love.

I was having a conversation with a friend here about a woman who had just been taken to the SHU. She had been fasting from water and food as part of her prayer for her daughter who has cancer. A drug test (urine) was demanded of her, and (we hear) she didn’t break her fast to drink water to be able to comply. My friend said, “A woman of God would be obedient, not stubborn and rebellious.” And that statement pretty much sums up the thinking among many women here. How is it that we so easily confuse the authority of the state with God’s will?

And here I sit, in general population, while Steve and Bix are both in the SHU. Am I confusing the authority of the state with God’s will? How much does fear or the desire for comfort influence my thinking?

I’m reminded of the story of Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18-31) who refused to act in contradiction to the tenets, as he understood them, of his faith.

The doomsday clock was just moved a minute closer to midnight. Our country still spends half of our federal tax dollars on warmaking. Stringfellow’s words about the state still ring true to me. He reminds us that the only sanction the state relies on is death, or some status that embodies the same meaning as death: imprisonment, deportation, loss of reputation or property or employment, or intimidation that causes fear and conformity.

If we were living in WWII Europe and there was a concentration camp in your neighborhood, would you work there and demean and kill people? If you didn’t work there, would it be enought to live a good life doing works of mercy?

The crimes of our government are not talked about on Fox news or in many places of worship. But we still have a responsibility to speak out and act nonviolently to begin to convert our warmaking hearts and economy and Empire.

Pray with friends! Breathe together! Practice love of friends and enemies! Walk into Lockheed Martin and other weapons manufacturers. Walk onto military bases. Begin the process of conversion!

We are all responsible for the collective acts of our warmaking state. Here in prison, there is a special kind of rest for my conscience. Join me! For love of the world we hammer swords into plowshares.

Faith and Disarmament

On June 12, 1981, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen gave a prophetic speech to the Pacific Northwest Synod of the Lutheran Church of America.  Taking up our cross with Christ in the nuclear age, he proclaimed, means unilateral disarmament. Furthermore, he suggested that “our paralyzed political process” needs a catalyst and that catalyst is tax resistance.
Hunthausen’s statement was received enthusiastically by religious leaders and followers of nonviolence across the country.  His words remain urgent and relevant to us today, as we continue to struggle with the question of how to build peace in this nuclear empire.

Faith and Disarmament

I am grateful for having been invited to speak to you on disarmament because it forces me to a kind of personal  disarmament. This is a subject I have thought about and prayed over for many years. I can recall vividly hearing the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. I was deeply shocked. I could not then put into words the shock I felt from the news that a city of hundreds of thousands of people had been devastated by a single bomb. Hiroshima challenged my faith as a Christian in a way I am only now beginning to understand. That awful event and its successor at Nagasaki sank into my soul, as they have in fact sunk into the souls of all of us, whether we recognize it or not. Continue reading

Five New Government Photos

One of five newly released government photographs of Disarm Now Plowshares.
One picture tells so many stories: banners, bolt cutters, and nuclear bunkers; machine guns and hooded nonviolent activists.

(Note: The new photos have been placed toward the middle of the slideshow.)

Government Photos of Disarm Now Plowshares

Click each picture to advance to the next one, or select a photo to view from the thumbnails below.

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