Bix invites Pope Francis to Jeju Island

Bix and Gilberto are nearing the end of their stay on Jeju Island.  Here is a photo showing them in solidarity with the people of Jeju, in opposition to the construction of the naval base there.

Bix & Gliberto on Jeju (1)

Moving from “Empire to Servanthood”

Friends,

The National Catholic Worker gathering wrapped up yesterday (Sunday) with prayers and nonviolent resistence at both the Nevada Test Site (aka: Nevada National Security Site) and Creech Air Force Base, protesting both nuclearism and drones.  59 Catholic Workers were arrested at the Test Site, and 18 were arrested at Creech.

I’m sharing (see below) the Final Statement created by those gathered over the past few days in Las Vegas.  It is an extraordinary statement calling us all to the Gospel of Nonviolence and the walk of the peacemaker.  It calls on the Church to end its complicity in the hubris of Empire.  It calls on our entire nation to repent for the crimes of war.  Above all, it recommits those present at the the CW gathering to “creating the Beloved Community where all God’s people can live together in peace with justice.”

To that day when Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore,

Leonard

************************

Final Statement for Las Vegas Catholic Worker Gathering
(On the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Bombing and Invasion of Afghanistan)

We Catholic Workers from around North America gather in Las Vegas on this 10th anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Afghanistan with the theme “From Empire to Servanthood.” We renounce all war-making as a affront to the God of Creation and we reject the false gods and religion of Empire that dominate our national spirit. We call on our church and nation to join us in repenting for the violence the U.S. has inflicted, and make reparations to all of its victims at home and in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. At this critical point in history, when we face unending wars, nuclear perils, occupations, and economic collapse, when human life and creation itself has become so devalued and killing has become the norm; when greed, exploitation, racism and discrimination are at the heart of social injustice; when our earth and environment is endangered as never before; we recommit ourselves to the God of creation that calls us to revere all life as sacred, and to resist the way of violence, oppression, and empire.

As we hear the cry of the suffering and the poor of our country and world, we demand that all resources being squandered for weapons and war be instead spent to meet urgent human needs.

As the U.S. government continues its immoral and illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and its murderous drone attacks, especially in Pakistan, we recall the words of Dorothy Day regarding U.S. war-making during World War II:

“We are at war, a declared war, with Japan, Germany, and Italy. But still we can repeat Christ’s words, each day, holding them close in our hearts, each month printing them in the paper… We will print the words of Christ who is with us always, even to the end of the world. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you …” In The Catholic Worker we will quote our Pope, our saints, our priests. We will go on printing the articles which remind us today that we are all called to be saints, that we are other Christs, reminding us of the priesthood of the laity…We are still pacifists. Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.”

Yes, we are still pacifists. In the name of Jesus who calls us to love unconditionally and be peacemakers, we call on all followers of Jesus to embrace and practice the Gospel of Nonviolence. We urge our church leadership to break their silence and prophetically proclaim Christ’s gospel by calling the entire nation to repent for the war crimes we have committed. We invite them and all followers of Jesus to join us in making the following appeal to the political, military and economic power structure of our nation:

–end all U.S. war-making and and military intervention throughout our world, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Pakistan.

–stop all drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

–stop demonizing Arabs and Muslims.

– and the US backed Israeli occupation of Palestine and support self-determination for the Palestinians.

–disarm and abolish all conventional, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

–close and/or convert all nuclear and conventional weapons facilities, military bases, and military training centers like the SOA/WHINSEC.

–stop the U.S. militarization of space.

–convert our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting the environment.

–initiate an equitable redistribution of the earth’s resources.

–work to reverse global climate change and bring about environmental justice.

–cultivate respect for the health of the land that feeds us and honors the people that lived on it before us.

–end the practice of torture.

–close the Guantanamo U.S. military prison, the Bagram prison in Afghanistan, all secret black sites and detention centers, and end indefinite detention.

–end all ROTC training programs at all levels in Catholic and public schools.

– and we must end the “war on the poor” at home by: abolishing the death penalty, ending the practice of mass imprisonment, stopping prisons for profit, providing housing, jobs, adequate food and health care for ALL, taking down the wall on the US/Mexico boarder and insuring and protecting human rights of all immigrants.

Mindful of all political prisoners, including those Catholic Workers and other resisters imprisoned for acts of peacemaking, we commit ourselves to nonviolently resist all forms of state-sanctioned violence and oppression. In our efforts to come out of and resist U.S. Empire we concluded our weekend gathering by doing nonviolent direct actions at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site and at Creech AFB, a center of U.S. drone warfare. In solidarity with sisters and brothers around the world calling for an end to political repression, corporate domination and militarism, we seek to build a new society in the shell of the old. We commit ourselves to help create the Beloved Community where all God’s people can live together in peace with justice.

Who Should Be On Trial Today???

Friends,

Today, September 14th, 2010, fourteen people (including four priests) went on trial for walking onto Creech Air Force Base through the open main gate on April 10, 2009, Holy Thursday.  

They were seeking to engage in dialogue with the Air Force service members controlling the Predators and Reapers used in Central Asia. In a gesture of good will, they offered to break bread and share Passover pizza with Air Force personnel.”

Creech Air Force Base is one of the unholy places from which the U.S. military controls – from thousands of miles away – the drones (aka: unmanned aerial vehicles) that have killed untold innocent women, children and men in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (and perhaps elsewhere for all we know).  The use of drones is increasing dramatically, and for the U.S. military it is the wave of the future.

Well, this is not (neither is endless war) the “wave of the future” for the fourteen people who engaged in nonviolent, civil resistance against this new and improved (and horrible) tool of warfare.  The resisters only tools (in the spirit of nonviolence) – a letter, roses and pizza. 

Today the Creech 14 faced trial in Nevada state court.  They went to Creech to speak for justice for those with no voice, and now they face the mock justice of a nation so steeped in militarism that it cannot (or will not) tolerate anyone who steps outside the confines of its militaristic ways.

One of the Creech 14 is also a member of Disarm Now Plowshares.  Fr. Steve Kelly will  face arraignment with his fellow Disarm Now defendants on September 24th for their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action at the Bangor submarine base and nuclear weapons storage facility. 

Interestingly enough, after hearing all the testimony in today’s trial – which included former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Bill Quigley who is a Loyola University law professor and legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and retired Army Col. and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright – the judge delayed his decision until 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27, 2011.  It seems that those who spoke for the defense gave the judge some significant points to ponder. 

So today we hold up our brothers and sisters of the Creech 14, stand with them in solidarity, and pray with and for them:

  • Fr. John Dear, S.J. (New Mexico)
  • Dennis DuVall (Arizona)
  • Renee Espeland (Des Moines, Iowa Catholic Worker Community)
  • Judy Homanich (Binghamton, New York)
  • Kathy Kelly (Chicago Illinois, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize)
  • Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. (California)
  • Mariah Klusmire (Trinity House Catholic Worker, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Brad Lyttle (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Elizabeth Pappalardo (Crystal Lake, Illinois)
  • Sister Megan Rice, SHCJ (Nevada Desert Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Brian Terrell (Strangers & Guests Catholic Worker, Maloy, Iowa)
  • Eve Tetaz (Washington, D.C.)
  • Fr. Louis Vitale, O.F.M. (Oakland, California)
  • Jerry Zawada, O.F.M. (Tucson, Arizona)

And let us pray that one day it will be the architects of war who will go on trial rather than the carpenters of peace.

Peace,

Leonard

Read today’s post-trial article, Judge delays decision in ‘Creech 14’ drone trial, in the Las Vegas Sun.  Read John Dear’s article on today’s trial at the National Catholic Reporter Online.  Keep up with the Creech 14 at Nevada Desert Experience.  More also at Voices for Creative Nonviolence and http://sacredpeacewalk.blogspot.com/

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