“A just and peaceful world is possible when we join prayers with action. Swords into Plowshares!” The Kings Bay Plowshares 7
On April 4, 2018, fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, seven individuals–Carmen Trotta, Patrick O’Neill, Steve Kelly, Liz McAlister, Martha Hennesy, Clare Grady, Mark Colville–entered the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, George where “the group cut a padlock at a maintenance gate at the Navy base that houses six Trident submarines carrying hundreds of nuclear weapons. They spilled blood on a Navy insignia affixed to a wall, spray painted anti-war slogans on the walkway and banged a nuclear arms statuary with hammers made from melted-down guns.” In October, the seven were found guilty of conspiracy, destruction of property, depredation of property and trespassing. In June, Liz McAlister was sentenced to time served, 3 years probation, and restitution. The other 6 are expected to be sentenced July 30 & 31.
“Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity.”
The above quotation is taken from the closing paragraph of the Kings Bay Plowshare 7 Action Statement. The full statement follows:
“We come in peace on this sorrowful anniversary of the martyrdom of a great prophet, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fifty years ago today, April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee as a reaction to his efforts to address “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.” We come to Kings Bay to answer the call of the prophet Isaiah (2:4) to “beat swords into plowshares” by disarming the world’s deadliest nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. We repent of the sin of white supremacy that oppresses and takes the lives of people of color here in the United States and throughout the world. We resist militarism that has employed deadly violence to enforce global domination. We believe reparations are required for stolen land, labor and lives.
Dr. King said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.” This remains true in the midst of our endless war on terror. The United States has embraced a permanent war economy. “Peace through strength” is a dangerous lie in a world that includes weapons of mass destruction on hair-trigger alert. The weapons from one Trident have the capacity to end life as we know it on planet Earth. Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage, and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet.
As white Catholics, we take responsibility to atone for the horrific crimes stemming from our complicity with “the triplets.” Only then can we begin to restore right relationships. We seek to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, racism and economic exploitation. We plead to our Church to withdraw its complicity in violence and war. We cannot simultaneously pray and hope for peace while we bless weapons and condone war-making. Pope Francis says the abolition of weapons of mass destruction is the only way to save God’s creation from destruction. Clarifying the teachings of our Church, Pope Francis said, “The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned … weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”
Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity. Dr. King said, “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide.” We say, “The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide.” A just and peaceful world is possible when we join prayers with action. Swords into Plowshares!”
Learn More about Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and their determination to end the arms race and to eliminate nuclear weapons. In their Fall/Winter newsletter, chapter president Michael McDonald reported, “By late October of this year, over 22,600 residents from all 851 incorporated Minnesota towns had signed this petition calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons.” According to the newsletter “Driving a bus with ABOLISH WAR painted on the back of it from South Minneapolis through rural Minnesota can turn heads. Ask Steve Mckeown.
Mckeown, a Vietnam Vet and local member of Veterans For Peace (VFP) is part of a collaborative effort between Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) and VFP collecting signatures from residents of all 851 incorporated Minnesota towns on a petition to ban nuclear weapons globally. Armed with a clipboard and map of Minnesota mounted on cardboard, he usually drove alone around the hinterlands to sign up folks he’d meet in small towns or at county fairs. He kept accurate tallies and was careful to put stickpins in towns on a map after receiving signatures from each city.” Steve is pretty sure they collected 25,000 signatures.
And so for what shall we pray?
— Give us eyes, and the courage, to see the ways we participate in supporting racism, extreme materialism, and militarism
— Light a fire within us so that we, with passion and commitment, can help to “bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, racism and economic exploitation”
— Guide us to be advocates for reparations for “stolen land, labor and lives”
— Strengthen our political will to achieve global disarmament.
— and for our country in this time of turmoil
Be well. Stay safe.