Bix Reflects on COMMUNITY

Friends,

Here is video from the November 10, 2011 prayer sendoff for Bix before he re-entered prison for his ongoing resistance to war-making and nuclear weapons. In this clip, Bix reflects on the rich blessings and strengths of COMMUNITY.

Peace,

Leonard

The best we can do for the common good

I have been summoned to appear at the federal court in Tacoma, Washington on Monday, July 23 at 1:30. It is possible that Probation Officer will ask that my supervised release be revoked, and that I be sent back to prison. This is not a surprise. I have not cooperated with being on supervised release. Continue reading

Anne Montgomery on Divine Obedience

“Civil disobedience is, traditionally, the breaking of a civil law to obey a higher law, sometimes with the hope of changing the unjust civil law. … But we should speak of such actions as divine obedience, rather than civil disobedience. The term ‘disobedience’ is not appropriate because any law that does not protect and enhance human life is no real law.”

Sister Anne Montgomery, R.S.C.J.

(found at Sojourners: http://www.sojo.net/blogs/2011/03/03/voice-day-sister-anne-montgomery-rscj)

Remember a Resister this Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings People of Peace,

Oh what a year it’s been! For those of us in the Anti-Nuclear and Anti-War Resistance Movement it has been a year of continued struggle against an ever growing (and out-of-control) Military-Industrial Complex. From drones to nuclear weapons and more, dedicated peacemakers have steadfastly resisted the dominant culture of war.

At places like Fort Benning, Y-12, Kansas City, STRATCOM, Hancock Field, Downing Street and Jeju Island, resisters stood their ground taking a stand for justice and peace. They spoke out against a host of immoral and illegal actions by their governments. And for their actions many were arrested, tried and put in prison.

Acting on conscience, they have become prisoners of conscience. Some serve a few days or weeks, while others serve months or years. Helen Woodson was recently released after serving nearly 27 years for the Silo Pruning Hooks Plowshares action!

All are jailed unjustly; it would be inconvenient for governments and the corporations they serve to face the truth and let real justice be served.

They may be out of sight, but they are not forgotten. Consider spreading a little extra Holiday cheer this Christmas. Send a message of support to one (or more) of these prisoners. Include some news from the outside. I frequently print articles from the progressive press – Common Dreams is a great source – and include them with my letters.

You can find addresses for prisoners of conscience at the Nuclear Resister’s Inside & Out page. The Nuclear Resister also keeps us up-to-date on what’s happening in the anti-nuclear and anti-war resistance movement in the U.S. and around the world.

Finally, a BIG SHOUT-OUT to all who support resisters – including those who support them during actions, to legal teams, to prison support teams – on their journeys. We’re all in this together.

Here’s to the Next Year in Resistance.

Peace,

Leonard

P.S. – Don’t forget that prisons have rules about what you can and cannot send.  Letters, of course, are no problem.  In many cases – such as Federal prisons – magazines must come directly from the publisher, and books sometimes must come from a bookstore.  Prison mail regulations are generally found in their

Mary Dennis’ Y-12 sentencing statement – centered on the sacred

Sentencing Statement Sept. 21, 2011
 Mary Dennis Lentsch (Elizabeth Ann)

I bow to the sacred in each person in this room and to my sisters and brothers around the world.

I bow to the sacred in all plants and animals.

I bow to the sacred in all the gifts of creation found on planet Earth and in our Universe.

In order to protect all the sacred gifts of creation, I feel called to do whatever is necessary to abolish nuclear weapons. My years of nonviolent resistance and acts of conscience have their roots in my Christian baptismal promise to renounce and resist evil, and in the public witness of my religious vows as a Catholic sister.

My heartfelt conviction for resisting nuclear weapons is reinforced by a passage from the Bible. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 30 verse 19 we read: “…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life that you and future generations may live.”

It is a known fact that nuclear weapons are instruments of death and massive destruction. The explosion of a nuclear bomb gives off immense quantities of heat and energy, as well as powerful and prolonged radiation that cannot be contained in time and space. This violence of nuclear weapons has the potential to destroy all that is sacred—all living beings, as well as our ecosystems, and our planet.

At the peaceful gathering at Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on July 5, 2010, I carried a sign that read: “Continuing nuclear weapons production at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is in direct violation of the treaty obligations of the United States (The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Article VI), and therefore is a violation of Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America and fails to conform to our obligations under international law according to the ruling of the International Court of Justice, July 8, 1996.”

To my surprise a copy of this sign was not included in the Discovery Document from the government while the copies of two signs carried by other codefendants were included.

With my sign and nonviolent act of conscience, it was my hope to bring a lawless situation into the court of justice. It was my hope and expectation that the judge and jury would weigh in the balance of justice the gravity of the United States violating international law and the Constitution of the United States, with my puny action of calling attention to these violations regarding the continued nuclear bomb production at Y-12.

In the United States justice system, where it is expected that truth and integrity will be honored, should it not make a difference who breaks the law and what law is broken?

I am inspired and energized in my efforts to abolish nuclear weapons by the witness of Jesus, Nano Nagle, and so many other prophets who challenged unjust systems and oppressive government policies. Jesus resisted the unjust laws and oppression of his day. Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Sisters, resisted the government policies in Ireland by illegally giving religious instruction in her hedge schools.

Salvator Fink, a Franciscan priest, describes Nano Nagle in the following manner and I quote: “a woman whose love was stronger than viciousness, injustice, greed and violence that swamped her city and nation. She was a woman of indomitable courage, native shrewdness and indefatigable zeal for her faith. Challenging the brutal power of her people’s oppressors, she spent her life on the razor’s edge of danger.” As a member of the Presentation Sisters, I am inspired by the witness of deep faith and lived experience from this great woman.

Today I face a sentence of prison for my nonviolent action resisting nuclear weapons. Like Jesus, Nano Nagle, and many prophetic witnesses before me, I accept the consequential suffering of my decision to follow my conscience.

It is my prayerful hope that the nonviolent energy of each person in this room, and all people around the world, could one day soon, insure the sacred gift of life and existence for all in a nuclear-free future. We must abolish nuclear weapons!

Thank you.

Bix’s Y-12 statement – choosing life over death

September 25, 2011 [from Joe Power-Drutis]

Bix recently returned to Knoxville to be sentenced along with 10 other
nuclear resisters for their part in the Y-12 civil resistance act of
prayer at Oak Ridge Tennessee on July 5, 2010.

The following reading is his statement to the court prior to being
sentenced. After making his statement he was sentenced to 3 months in
Federal Prison for this misdemeanor act. He was granted his request to
self commit but has not as yet been given a commitment date.

Bix’s statement to the court – September 12, 2011

        I wish to thank the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) Community of Eastern Tennessee which is committed to peacemaking for their warm welcome. Especially do I wish to thank Erik and Libby Johnson for their embracing hospitality and the gracious sharing of their home; they are what peacemaking is about.

        On Sunday, September 11th, I accompanied Erik and Libby to the
service at The Church of the Savior of the United Church of Christ.
The pastor, Rev. John Gill, emphasized the power of INTENTION in our
lives – for good or for evil – for destruction of creation – for hurt
or for healing. The question for us is whether we will choose to live
with intention – with commitment – or simply float through life with
more or less good intentions.

        Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we know the
crucifying destruction that was unleashed on the Japanese people and
the contagious twin diseases of fear and hopelessness that were
ushered into our world by those weapons. We as a people have been
wounded by the unrepented acts of violence against the Japanese
people. We live in nuclear bondage in which violence and fear has
infected our body politic and culture.

        Will we, individually and collectively, as a people intentionally
allow the presence, maintenance, and intended use of these unrelenting
weapons of death or will we resist their very existence. We allow
these weapons when we are indifferent, unconcerned, or in the dark
about them; or when we accept judicial protection of them. Unless we
live with the intention to resist and abolish these weapons we will
continue on the walk of death we are on now.

        We can choose life or death. We can intentionally commit ourselves to
walk the path of justice, so that every human being of every race is
nourished with what is necessary for a full human life – in which the
joy and potential of our global family blooms; or we can walk the path
of self-gain and/ or “might makes right” which leads to spiritual
death and a shattered world.

        The words of Martin Luther King Jr. talk to our times: “I refuse to
accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a
militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I
believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final
word in reality.” Martin Luther King also reminds us that: “The arc of
the universe bends toward Justice.”

       With the hope that this court and Judge bends with the arc of the
universe, I wish to recommit myself to the pursuit of Justice and to
resistance to forces of death such as nuclear weapons. For me this
means that I, intentionally, with the grace of God recommit myself to
the following of Jesus in his non-violence, forgiveness, and love. I
ask for the aid and support of Francis, Gandhi, Martin Luther King,
Oscar Romero, the four churchwomen Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Dorothy
Kazel and Jean Donovan, Dorothy Day, Jackie Hudson and also my living
compatriots that I might follow faithfully, even unto death, in the
path of Jesus. This also means, to affirm what gives life and to
resist what brings death to all people and our creation.

        I do this in conjunction with Sr. Jackie Hudson, OP who has given her
life to the pursuit of Justice. I join my resolve with Sue Albao,
faithful partner of Jackie, to continue the work of Jackie Hudson.

Y-12 Trial Ends – Guilty as Charged!

Editor’s Note: This came in earlier this evening from our ace reporter on the scene in Knoxville, Joe Power-Drutis.

Right on the money, at 5PM, a jury of 12 returned after less than 30 minutes recess to deliver a unanimous verdict of “GUILTY” for 12 Y-12 nuclear resistors at the Knoxville Court House.

The following peace activists were charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 Project on July 5, 2010. Thirteen people took part in the action, David Corcoran, because of health reasons has been granted a later court date.

Carol Gilbert,OP,Ardeth Platte,OP,Jackie Hudson,OP, Bonnie Urfer,Michael Walli,Jean Gump and Steve Bggarly were immediately taken into custody.

Bradford Lyttle,Dennis DuVall,Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch and Beth Rosdatter remain free on bond until a later sentencing date is arranged.

Fr.Bill Bichsel,S.J., who is currently serving a sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action of November 2, 2009, is remanded to the Knox County Detention Facility until his sentencing for this Y-12 action, on June 27, 2011.

On Thursday May 12, an overview of the three days of this trial will be covered.

In the meantime link onto http://www.knoxnews.com for the latest local news of the hearing. Knox news covered this event in court all three days; log onto Knox News for May 11th for another insightful report.

Editor’s End Note: You can read Ralph Hutchison’s full length trial wrap-up by clicking here.

Praying for Conversion: A Lenten Reflection

Turn our hearts
Turn our minds
Make us branches holding fast to the vine
Patient Keeper, hold us in your tender mercy, Tree of Life.

This Lenten journey has been one of prayer and conversion. I wake each morning asking god to turn my heart and mind toward nonviolence, love and compassion. It is very humbling to be here with the women being held, waiting for their cases to come up, waiting for sentencing, waiting for a destination. Their stories touch my heart. Their generosity and kindness brings a smile and a disarmed heart minute by minute.

During Lent, we follow the journey of Jesus as he prepares for his arrest, trial and execution. He was tortured and executed by the Roman occupying forces, by the Roman empire that didn’t want any unrest or challenge to its power. Jesus, who taught nonviolence, who healed, fed, and encouraged people, was a threat.

As Jesus is about to be arrested, Peter brings out his sword to defend him. John Dear, SJ, reminds us that if there ever was a time to use violence to defend someone, it would be to defend Jesus, the incarnate God. But Jesus tells Peter, NO. Put away the sword (Matthew 26:52).

He rejects violence, even knowing the consequence can be his own torture and death.

“Put away the sword” is good advice to us today. Put away our nuclear weapons. Put away our military spending. Put away our war making.

Archbishop Hunthausen once said, “Jesus’ acceptance of the cross, rather than the sword raised in his defense, is the Gospel’s statement of unilateral disarmament.”

We 5 are held here at SeaTac Federal Detention Center for saying No to nuclear weapons: No to the trident nuclear warheads.

Archbishop Hunthausen called Trident the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound”. The trident nuclear warheads, like flying ovens, are ready to be launched from the Trident submarines and incinerate millions of people anywhere in the world.

The parishioners of St. Leo Parish sang a hymn of conversion, Tree of Life, at the Mass where we were blessed and commissioned to federal prison. The love, prayers and encouragement of the people at St. Leo’s strengthens us everyday.

We pray for the women and men held here at SeaTac and for the guards; we pray for disarmed hearts in a disarmed world, and for the conversion of our hearts and our weapons.

Peace,

Susan

Relevant Links: 

Archbishop Hunthausen’s 1981 speech on Faith and Disarmament

Click here to learn about the Vancouver Declaration.

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

Sending the Wrong People to Jail…

Friends,

In a little over a month from now (on March 28th) the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants will walk into Judge Benjamin Settle’s courtroom for sentencing.

Sentencing can be defined as the punishment given to persons convicted of a crime.  One legal dictionary refers to the primary goals of sentencing as “punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.”  It is somewhat ironic that one of the goals of sentencing is “deterrence,” the same longstanding stated (and completely misguided) goal of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.  And I must admit that the last one, “rehabilitation” made me laugh as I thought of the idea of rehabilitating any of these fine people.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to  prescribe rehabilitation for those people engaged in preparations for nuclear war, the ones Thomas Merton once described as:

“…the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared.” Continue reading

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