When people ask my religion I usually respond, “Recovering Catholic.”
If there is one faith that has mastered the subjugation of its followers by any means necessary (fear, guilt, major motion pictures) AND the inserting of itself into socio-political debates when frankly nobody asked for its damned opinion, it is Catholicism. (Which is not to imply it hasn’t got plenty of company.)
But as sure as everything happens for a reason (hey, I never said my recovery was complete!) Catholicism breeds its own brand of radicalism, one to which any and every human – religious, agnostic or atheist – can and should aspire. It is rooted in the thinking of Thomas Merton, and it is the radicalism of Peace. Until each of us embraces its tenets, the world’s governments will continue to sell us war as everything it never is: A tactic, a bargaining chip, an economic engine, a career, an inevitability, a last resort, a keeper of some broader peace which – of course – never seems to show up.
As strongly and determinedly as any group, the Plowshares Movement – launched in 1980 – is still fighting to restore sanity to a nation and world gone batshit crazy. And right now, it needs your help.
It was just after Labor Day of that year when Philip and Daniel Berrigan led The Plowshares Eight’s infiltration of General Electric’s Nuclear Weapons plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, symbolically beat “swords into plowshares” in accordance with biblical doctrine, and spilled their own blood on documents related to the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Ga-ga patriotic as the masters of war have inculcated Americans to get on each anniversary of a September date from 2001, The Eight and their adherents had by that event’s occurrence already been demonstrating for 21 years, all across the globe, always peacefully, in efforts to awaken goodness in the people who staff and manage such sites, and those who contract with the military-industrial complex for the making of weapons of mass destruction. In the name of “democracy,” of course.
Since that seminal event in King of Prussia on September 9, 1980, over a hundred such actions have taken place. The MIC doesn’t like it. And it’s preparing to sentence on September 23 three Plowshares activists – aged 58, 63 and 83 – who perpetrated these “terrors” last summer at a Tennessee weapons plant (be sure to view the whole gallery). Photos of the defendants along with excellent, detailed reporting from CommonDreams is here.
This is where the rubber meets the road, people. Each of those fearsome-looking terrorists (!) face up to 30 years in prison. Will you take 10 minutes to print out a postcard and mail it to the judge?