Following a nonviolent Jesus while living in a warmaking state

Susan Crane, Tacoma WA  January 4, 2011

During the trial of the  Disarm Now Plowshares, Arlen Storm, the US attorney, said something to the effect that all of us in this courtroom want a world without nuclear weapons.  There is general agreement on that, and the question is, “How do we get there?” The US attorney was objecting to our tactics. And he’s not the only one objecting. Stephen Kent (Catholic News Services) wrote: “Granted, the tactics of the Disarm Now Plowshares were wrong, but not so the philosophy and theology at the root of their action.”

What is the value of a philosophy or theology, if it isn’t practiced?
Or, what does it mean to follow a nonviolent Jesus while living in a warmaking state?

From the Gospels we read that Jesus was a teacher of nonviolence and often broke the laws in order to obey God. This tradition of embracing God’s will can be found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.

Shiphrah and Puah, Hebrew midwives

At the beginning of Exodus, we read that Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwifes, were ordered by the Pharaoh to kill the boys that were born to the Hebrew women. In between the lines, we can imagine that the midwives prayed, talked with each other and with their families, and made a decision based on their faith. The decided to disobey the Pharaoh, and not kill the boys. This is perhaps the first story in the scriptures where people deliberately, in a knowing and careful way, make a decision to obey God instead of Empire (the king or human laws). (Exodus 1:8-17) Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons? Plowshares Actions? Do They Matter?

Nuclear Weapons? Plowshares Actions? Do They Matter?

ChrissChrissy Nesbitt speaks about nuclear weapons.y Nesbitt graduated from Princeton University and is now teaching at Sisters Academy in Baltimore, MD.

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. Continue reading

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