Catholic Leaders Take Pope’s Word and Denounce Nuclear Weapons at Kings Bay Georgia

Seven Catholic leaders trespassed onto the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia on Wednesday. This is the first major direct anti-nuclear action taken by U.S. Catholics since Pope Francis announced in November that Catholics should condemn not only the use of a nuclear weapon but their possession.

“The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned,” the pope told participants at a conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by the Vatican in collaboration with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passed by the United Nations in July 2017.

The seven members of the Kings Bay Plowshares, a nonviolent movement committed to “beating swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4), included Elizabeth McAlister, a revered leader in the American Catholic peace movement; Fr. Stephen Kelley, a Jesuit priest; Martha Hennessy, granddaughter of Dorothy Day who was founder of the Catholic Worker movement and currently considered for sainthood; with Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta, and Mark Colville.

Carmen Trotta and Elizabeth McAlister on Kings Bay submarine base, 4 April 2018
Blood was spilled on the weapons facility crest to call attention to the purpose of the facility, which is mass destruction.

In a video statement made before crossing on to the naval base, Hennessy said: “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 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.”

Currently, all seven are held in Camden County jail in Woodbine, Georgia. They have been denied bond. At a support vigil held on Saturday, 7 April, at 10a (EST), the supporters read sections from the book of Acts until the sheriff’s department moved the vigilers away from the entrance gate to the base.

Famed Catholic attorney William Quigley will be leading the legal defense. (Contribute to the legal fund.)

The Kings Bay submarine Base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for U.S. Navy Fleet ballistic missile nuclear submarines armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons.–Rose Marie Berger

MEDIA COVERAGE:

April 5, 2018
From First Coast News
From Washington Post
From Common Dreams
From the Raleigh News and Observer
From the Tribune & Georgian
From National Catholic Reporter
From Franciscan Media

April 6, 2018
From News4Jax

Refugees From the Military-Industrial Empire

brandon_toyBrandon Toy worked for General Dynamics, one of the leading U.S. war corporations. He was an engineering project manager who built Stryker armored fighting vehicles. Before working for GenDyn, Brandon was in the Michigan Army National Guard as a rocket specialist, team leader, and vehicle commander. He deployed as a military policeman in Baghdad in 2004-2005.

Today he resigned – in protest – from the whole shebang. (Read his letter below.)

There are thousands of people who joined the military or war corporations after the attacks on Sept. 11 because they thought it was a way to being meaning to that senseless carnage. Additionally, in the midst of the Great Recession, there was only one industry that was always hiring: military-industrial-information corporations.

I applaud Brandon for “throwing down his gun.” It’s up to the rest of us to find him gainful employment in something that contributes to the “culture of life,” rather than the war machine.

He told Common Dreams on Wednesday: “I felt a lot of cognitive dissonance for the last two or three years. I knew what the truth was and what the consequences of our actions were. But I needed to make a living. … When [Edward Snowden] talked about how he had believed in the mission, joined after the Iraq war, and found out it was false, it was like my words coming out. It gave me hope that he took the chance and risked his life to do what he was doing.”

Here’s Brandon’s letter of resignation:

I hereby resign in protest effective immediately.

I have served the post-911 Military Industrial complex for 10 years, first as a soldier in Baghdad, and now as a defense contractor.

I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down.At the time of my enlistment, I believed in the cause. I was ignorant, naïve, and misled. The narrative, professed by the state, and echoed by the mainstream press, has proven false and criminal. We have become what I thought we were fighting against.

Recent revelations by fearless journalists of war crimes including counterinsurgency “dirty” wars, drone terrorism, the suspension of due process, torture, mass surveillance, and widespread regulatory capture have shed light on the true nature of the current US Government. I encourage you to read more about these topics at the links I have provided below.

Some will say that I am being irresponsible, impractical, and irrational. Others will insist that I am crazy. I have come to believe that the true insanity is doing nothing. As long as we sit in comfort, turning a blind eye to the injustices of the world, nothing will change. It is even worse to play an active part, protesting all along that I am not the true criminal.

I was only a foot soldier, and am now a low level clerk. However, I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down.