I’m honored to have a chapter included in this book! (And if you want to know what I’ve been working on for the past year, read it.)
“The Spirit frees hearts chained by fear. It overcomes all resistance. To those content with half measures he inspires whole-hearted generosity. It opens hearts that are closed. It impels the comfortable to go out and serve.”–Pope Francis, Pentecost 2018
The Kings Bay Plowshares – Liz, Steve, Carmen, Mark, Martha, Clare and Patrick – were moved on May 7 to the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Georgia. On May 10, they will appear in federal court in Brunswick. Last week, an indictment was filed by the federal government and the group was charges with four counts: conspiracy, destruction of property on a Naval Station, depredation of government property and trespass.
For inmate numbers and their jail address, please visit https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses/
For more information about the action, jail reflections, suggestions about how to continue the witness, how to make a donation and more, visit https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/ and the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page.
Clare Grady 015632
Patrick O’Neill 015637
Elizabeth McAlister 015633
Stephen Kelly 015634
Martha Hennessy 015631
Mark Colville 015635
Carmen Trotta 015636
Glynn County Detention Center, 100 Sulphur Springs Road, Brunswick, GA 31520.
Please note: Inmates may only receive plain white pre-stamped postcards written in blue or black ink. Postcards may not have any pictures nor backgrounds on them. Plain white pre-stamped postcards may be purchased at some Post Offices and online. Do not use any return address labels or other labels. All postcards are subject to search and /or screening. Include your handwritten return address. Inmates cannot receive letters or packages.
(Kings Bay Plowshares activists held on multiple charges following arrest at Kings Bay nuclear submarine base in Georgia, 4/5/18. Read more.)
“To be Christian is to be Black with God and hence with the oppressed in their fight for freedom, in their fight for justice.”–Kelly Brown Douglas on James H. Cone
Watch the funeral service at Riverside Church for James H. Cone here.
May 4, 2018
For more information contact:
Jessica Stewart: 207.266.0919
Paul Magno: 202.321.6650
Brian Hynes: 718. 838.2636
Kings Bay Plowshares Indicted in Southern District of Georgia Federal Court
On April 4, 2018, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Liz McAlister, 78, Stephen Kelly S.J., 70, Martha Hennessy, 62, Clare Grady, 58, Patrick O’Neill, 62, Mark Colville, 55, and Carmen Trotta, 55, entered the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Carrying hammers and bottles of their own blood, the seven sought to enact and embody the prophet Isaiah’s command to: “Beat swords into plowshares.” In so doing, they were upholding the US Constitution through its requirement to respect treaties, international law through the UN Charter and Nuremburg principles, and higher moral law regarding the sacredness of all creation. They hoped to draw attention to and dismantle what Dr. King called, “the triple evils” of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism.
In an indictment filed this week in the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick division, the seven were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass. They will appear before a magistrate in Brunswick on May 10th. Although currently being held at the Camden County jail in Woodbine, Georgia, they expect to be acquitted of all charges. Attorney William P. Quigley, Professor of Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, noted, “These peace activists acted in accordance with the 1996 declaration of the International Court of Justice that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal.”
Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The Kings Bay Plowshares hope to draw attention not only to the threat of nuclear annihilation posed by the weapons aboard the submarines whose homeport is Kings Bay, but to emphasize how the weapons kill every day. Clare Grady wrote from Camden Country jail, “We say, ‘the ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide’, and yet, the explosive power of this weapon is only part of what we want to make visible. We see that nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence. We see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources, which are desperately needed for human needs. In response to news of the indictment, Mark Colville, of New Haven, Connecticut, wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”
For more information visit their facebook page: Kings Bay Plowshares.
From Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia Jail
Sunday, April 22, 2018
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against the Lord’s anointed one.(Acts 4: 23-26)
We walked in the dark, stars overhead, with Orion at our shoulder and the waning moon rising late. Praise to you Dear God, for this gift of Eden. There were fire flies and croaking frogs to keep us company. And to think the logic of Trident is the obliteration of Creation. What did God whisper to my ancestors and then to me? Swords into Plowshares! We don’t mean to make everyone furious, but why turn our blood and hammers into spray paint and bolt cutters?* Why continue to set the desecrated altar to the false idols of war? We walked onto a military base that harbors the ultimate destruction, and we prayed for the power of a message, of a witness that could reach many ears; conversion of free will towards life- giving work and away from death dealing false constructs.
We strung up crime scene tape over the model missiles and over the door to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT), a place where war plans promise to take all we love. We wish to indict this war machine for what it is: immoral, illegal, and monstrous. Our foolish plans desire to see a world in which the suffering is lessened, our leaders begin to know what it means if they pull the nuclear trigger. Our action is an invitation to all for a change of heart that will bring us to true revolution.–Martha Hennessy (granddaughter of Dorothy Day who cofounded the Catholic Worker Movement)
*Editor’s note: the charging documents and the Magistrate referred to their possession of bolt cutters and spray paint, but ignored mention of the symbols of blood and hammers, which were used by the seven in their symbolic action. Please contribute to the Kings Bay Plowshares legal fund.
19 APRIL 2018 UPDATE from Matthew W. Daloisio, part of the legal team for Kings Bay Plowshares 7:
Contribute to the Kings Bay Plowshares legal fund.
Federal Charges: We have been in touch with an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) in the Southern District of Georgia. It is our understanding from the communication thus far that it is likely that the US Attorney will want to prosecute. At this point, we cannot give a definitive timeline, but we are preparing for a possible indictment on federal charges in early May.
An indictment would be followed by an appearance before a US Magistrate who will handle arraignment, bond and/or conditions of release, and scheduling subsequent court dates.
The AUSA has been trying to get in touch with the State Prosecutor, and we have reached out as well. He, and we expect that once the feds indict the local DA will likely drop the state charges. This may or may not mean a transfer from the Camden County jail.
Bond Challenge: As you know, on Friday, April 6th, Chief Magistrate Jennifer E. Lewis of the Camden County Magistrate Court said in court she was denying bond on the felony charges (and she set $50,000 on the misdemeanor).
We are in the process of pursuing a bond appeal. A local public defender will file an appeal on behalf of Carmen, and myself and Anna Lellelid will file on behalf of the other folks. We anticipate filing the papers in the next week, with a hearing likely to occur May 8th.
The outcome of the bond appeal is uncertain. There is a small possibility that folks could be released. A more likely scenario would be the decreasing of the misdemeanor bond amount and a setting of bond on the felony charges with certain release conditions after which folks could decide how to proceed. It is also possible that the court upholds the current determination.
State Charges: The seven folks are currently charged in state court with possession of tools for the commission of a crime and interference with government property, both felonies, and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.
The state has 90 days (approx. July 6th) to indict and arraign on these charges. After an indictment, there will likely be a number of pre-trial hearing dates set.
Next Steps: We will continue to pursue the appeal of the bond on the state charges, although this may become a moot point if the state charges are dropped in favor of the federal charges.
We should know more in the coming weeks, and certainly by early May about what the path forward looks like.
Visit Update: We met with the women for two hours in the morning, followed by two hours with the men. I was able to go back later in the day and met with the men and women together for another two hours.
Everyone is in good spirits, happy to now have underpants, more food, and extra layers, purchased through commissary. We were able to deliver some books and a packet of legal information.
There are three men’s ‘pods’ in the jail, and one pod for women. There are 24 beds in each pod – and up to 30 people…meaning some are on mattresses on the floor. Carmen and Mark are together in a pod. Steve and Patrick are in separate pods. All of the women are together in a pod – and cell, with Clare on a mattress on the floor.
In terms of other jail logistics: (1) there are three standing counts during the day, with the first being at 5am, and the last at 11pm. The lights go off at midnight and are back on at 5am. There is limited access to fresh air, and when folks do get outside, it’s on paved ground with a fence overhead. (2) the phone is available in each pod most of the day (roughly 8am-10pm). Calls are limited to 15 minutes, and the line for the phone is fairly constant. (3) there is one computer in each pod where folks are able to send and receive emails (if you sign up for an account https://deposits.jailatm.com/webdeposits/default.aspx) –Matthew W. Daloisio
Bond Denied for 7 Catholic Protesters Who Prayed on Nuclear Submarine Base in Georgia
KINGS BAY, Ga. — Just steps away from a decommissioned submarine buried in the ground near the main gate at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, anti-nuclear peace activists held a vigil Saturday morning to protest the U.S. nuclear arsenal and to show support for seven Catholic peace activists arrested early Thursday morning for unauthorized entry onto the base.
Pastor Eric Johnson of Durham, N.C., opened the vigil by reading from Acts 4, describing early Christians in court for disobeying local authorities and continuing to heal and preach in the name of Jesus, which was illegal:
“Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men and women, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.”
Saturday’s peace vigil at the Kings Bay base follows the arrest of seven Catholic leaders who entered the base on Wednesday without authorization to draw attention to the global dangers of the Trident fleet and link the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m pleased to introduce you to Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence (edited by Marie Dennis) that includes a chapter by me on Catholic Just Peace Practice, based on the paper that I wrote for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative gathering in Rome in 2016. Others included here are: South Africa’s bishop Kevin Dowling, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Maria Stephan, Terrence Rynne, Ken Butigan and John Dear, with the guiding voice and direction of Marie Dennis. It includes the voices of many more within the chapters, reflecting a worldwide conversation happening within the Catholic Church on the centrality of gospel nonviolence. This is the first major release of the work that the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative is stewarding and curating across the Church, especially in the majority world where Catholics are most numerous.
Action steps for Choosing Peace:
- Order bulk copies of Choosing Peace from Orbis, so they know this is a popular title and ask your local bookstore to carry it.
- Send a copy of Choosing Peace to the Catholic bishop in your area. Even if you are not Catholic, you can look up the Catholic bishop in your area and send him a letter along with the book asking for him to offer leadership in the area of gospel nonviolence. Tell him that you appreciate that he is a moral leader in your area and you respectfully ask that he give this book and its message prayerful consideration.
- Order Choosing Peace for your book group! There’s lots in this book that addresses current conversations in the Catholic Church related to the leadership of Pope Francis. But it’s also useful reading for groups committed to Christian nonviolence. It raises provocative questions and opens up a little know history on Christians and peace. (See Nonviolent Fight Club for more on the provocative discussion!)
It takes a movement to respond to the Holy Spirit’s charge to turn away from violence. Be part of the movement!
21 April 2018, 3:30-5p, “Poetry of Praise: Reclaiming Religion and Spirituality for the Resistance (Reading)” at Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives “Memorial Hall” (1201 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036). Presenters: Ayari Aguayo-Ceribo, Kazim Ali, Rose Berger, Sunu P. Chandy, Temim Fruchter, Letta Neely, Marie Varghese. Part of Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2018.
In this reading and workshop, poets will share writing from varied religious, spiritual, and cultural backgrounds to reclaim religion and find sustenance, healing, and holiness in faith practices and communities. In this time where religion is being used to institute regressive policies, we amplify the good that is inspired by religion, discuss how spiritual practices are vital to many of us who identify as part of the resistance, and highlight how religious practice has historically served this purpose. This session explores the connections between poetry and prayer, between faith and sharing our truths, liberation theology, and the idea of Infinite Sustenance. Together, we will consider how we all harbor holiness, how the Divine and faith enter our work and our poetry, how queer identities find spaces within religious communities, and how racism impacts faith communities. For the workshop, we will share writing prompts and exercises with participants and interact with them and their writing as guides.