Nonviolence, Peace, Refugee Stories, Social Issues

A cross of human bodies

by Rose Berger, Sojourners

I spent five hours as a guest of the U.S. Capitol Police last week. It was hot, really hot. And those plastic handcuffs leave bruises.

I was one of 71 Catholics arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police in the rotunda of the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C., for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” while praying the rosary. My prayer was — and is — to end the warehousing of immigrant children in cages — 63,624 of whom have been apprehended by border patrol at the southwestern border between October 2018 and June 2019 and seven of whom have died after being in federal custody since September. More than a dozen Catholic orders and organizations sponsored the event. Seven Catholic bishops sent letters of support.

I’ve been arrested more than 30 times for nonviolent civil disobedience, beginning when I was in high school. It is one way to say “no” to inhuman laws, to show how to build a “‘moral frontier’ in one’s own identity, by openly and publicly challenging authorities who [are] practicing inhuman orders,” as Mexican Gandhian strategist and Catholic Pietro Ameglio puts it.

When laws become so egregious that life and creation are at risk, then the moral imperative is clear: Disobedience in the face of what is inhuman is a personal, religious, and social virtue to increase the good.

We were in the Russell Senate building to pierce the veil of morally isolated political leaders who are caging immigrant children…

Read the full article here.

Peace, Refugee Stories, Social Issues

A young Catholic immigrant prepares for the terrorising threat of deportation

by Arlin Karina Tellez Martinez

The weekend following the Fourth of July, the immigrant community continues to prepare itself against the terrorizing threats of ICE raids made by Donald Trump. I spent my Fourth of July, preparing a deportation packet for my family and me. The packet includes all our important information in case one of us is deported. My calls home have become shorter in an effort to avoid my mom’s questions about my emotional well-being. I prepare to train community members and inform them of their rights in case they are detained by an ICE agent, but I can’t bring myself to share the same information with my parents without feeling like I am already sentencing them to their deportation. Anti-immigrant legislation is not new, tied with the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies. The reports of death seem so familiar to us; it’s almost as if we’re desensitized from the heavy reality of what another death in our community means.

The death of Oscar Martinez and his daughter, Valeria, has been weighing heavily on me. It was a trigger that I hadn’t experienced before. I crossed the border at the age of four. I crossed the same river where the bodies of Oscar and Valeria laid with my own mother. The image shown across various news articles continues to make me sick, and it sent me back to the night that I crossed, the water weighing down my jeans, being constantly assured by my mother that Mickey Mouse was on the other side of the river and all I had to do was to be quiet…

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Peace, Peace Spirituality

Praying for peace at the Pentagon

by Tony Magliano

Every Monday morning for the past 30 years, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C. have been making their way across the Potomac River to pray and nonviolently witness for peace in front of the most symbolic war planning, war-making headquarters on earth: the Pentagon.

Just days ago on August 6 – the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan – I joined them, along with 19 members of several other mostly Catholic faith-based organizations.

Facing the Pentagon, we held signs calling for an end to all nuclear weapons. And we prayed to the God of peace (see: 1 Thess 5:23) for the full conversion of all hearts and minds from war-making to peace-making (see: https://dccatholicworker.wordpress.com).

Together with the Holy Spirit, we were hoping to awaken the consciences of military and civilian workers walking toward the Pentagon. But nearly everyone tried to ignore our Christ-centered message of peaceful nonviolence.

One member of our group was arrested for bravely moving outside of the Pentagon police designated protest zone, and onto the sidewalk used by workers entering the Pentagon. Her purpose was to make it harder for Pentagon employees to ignore her sign saying “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A butchery of untold magnitude.”

That statement was taken from soon to be canonized Pope Paul VI’s World Day of Peace Message in 1976, in which he clearly condemned the nuclear bombing of Japan. He wrote, “If the consciousness of universal brotherhood truly penetrates into the hearts of men, will they still need to arm themselves to the point of becoming blind and fanatic killers of their brethren who in themselves are innocent, and of perpetrating, as a contribution to peace, butchery of untold magnitude, as at Hiroshima on 6 August 1945?”
On that day over 70,000 people – mostly civilians – were killed when a United States Boeing B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on that Japanese city.

Then on August 9, 1945 the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 people – again mostly civilians. Nagasaki was the center of Japanese Catholicism. An added tragic irony here is that the U.S. crew that dropped this atomic bomb was “blessed” by a Catholic chaplain – the late Father George Zabelka, who later had a total conversion, spending the remainder of his life as a nonviolent Catholic peace activist (see: https://vimeo.com/48820359).

Today, nine nations possess approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons. And especially dangerous is the fact that the U.S. and Russia have hundreds of nuclear weapons aimed at each other on high-alert status ready to be launched within minutes.

On July 7, 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations. But unfortunately, the U.S. and the other eight nuclear weapon countries refuse to sign and ratify it. However, Catholics should prayerfully consider that the Holy See was equally the first nation to sign and ratified it.
To learn more about this immensely important treaty, and how you can help abolish nuclear weapons, visit the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize (see: http://www.nuclearban.org/). And please visit the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/) and Nonviolent Peaceforce (https://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/).

As followers of the nonviolent Jesus, let us form our lives by the words of the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton: “The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.”
Challenging world oil executives to recognize the urgent environmental need to quickly transition from fossil fuel extraction and burning, to clean energy production, Pope Francis called them to take to heart that “Civilization requires energy, but energy must not destroy civilization.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

* Photo credit: Tyler Orsburn/CNS.
Nonviolence

The choice is between nonviolence and nonexistence

by Tony Magliano

“To call the world’s nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy,” warned Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Famous for their symbolic Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin’s highly respected scientists and 15 Nobel Laureate consultants recently moved the clock to two minutes before midnight – warning that a nuclear war catastrophe is very possible!

The only other time in its seven decade history the minute hand has been set this close to midnight – that is, the devastation of the planet, and virtually everything and everyone on it – was in 1953 after the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time (see: http://bit.ly/2FjsyxC).

And in less than three weeks after the Doomsday Clock was moved so perilously close to nuclear midnight, the Pentagon on Feb. 2 released its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), providing the world with even more reasons to be alarmed.

Adding to the insane fact that both the United States and the Russian Federation each have hundreds of nuclear weapons aimed at each other programmed with a “launch-on-warning” – hair-trigger-alert – status, the NPR states that the U.S. will continue its policy to be the first to initiate a nuclear attack if it decides that its “vital interests” and those of its “allies and partners” are at risk (see: http://wapo.st/2EJnF0R)…

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Peace

The dangerous game of North Korean-American brinkmanship

by Tony Magliano

Remember the game of chicken?

It’s a foolishly high-stakes challenge in which two drivers risking death, drive on a collision course towards each other until one of the drivers chooses to swerve away.

Since neither driver wants to be called “chicken,” meaning coward, they both push the decision to swerve away to the last possible moment, each hoping that the other driver will be the one to back down and swerve away.

This is a very dangerous game – a game now being played between North Korea and the United States.

But in this game of chicken the high-stakes of two possible deaths increases to hundreds of thousands of probable deaths. And if it goes nuclear, the stakes rise to millions dead.

During the course of this year North Korea has launched over 20 missiles – some flying over Japan – and according to seismic readings may have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. And if not already, it is getting close to being able to hit the U.S. with one or more nuclear armed missiles…

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Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.