October, 2017

On the Road to Peace

 

Dear friends,

 

After hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated the homes and lives of millions, and Trump threatened nuclear war with North Korea, October began with the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where some 60 people were killed, and over 500 were injured. The global epidemic of violence rages on, and our only hope remains Gospel nonviolence, and the global grassroots movement of nonviolence that the nonviolent Jesus inspires.

 

Despite the widespread violence, our Campaign Nonviolence national week of action last month reached unprecedented heights, with over 1600 events/marches/vigils and actions across the USA. Some of the events, in particular, were amazing and inspiring. Every one of them was documented at www.campaignnonviolence.org. I hope you will read up about them, join the movement, contribute to the cause, and help us build an even bigger outpouring next year! We are determined to keep going, but we need your help.

 

For my part, I helped launch “Nonviolent Cincinnati” in Cincinnati last month. Over 400 people came out for our evening program and my speech. A few days later, I traveled to Lancaster, Pa., to speak at the rally in the city park calling for a new culture of nonviolence. Again, over 400 people came out on a hot Sunday afternoon to hear music and speakers. I was moved and inspired.

The “National Catholic Reporter” covered the national week of action (see PRESS), and the Lancaster newspaper covered the event and my speech on the front page (also see PRESS).

 

 

Here’s how I began my speech:

“Today, we are saying that we are sick and tired of war and racism, gun violence and nuclear weapons, police brutality, mass incarceration, executions, poverty, hunger, cutbacks for schools and healthcare, massive corporate greed, Islamaphobia, turning away our immigrants, environmental destruction, and the whole culture of violence.

“We say war and violence don’t work; war and violence are a dead end; war and violence are not the way toward a peaceful world; war and violence are not the will of the God of peace; war and violence are sinful, immoral, illegal and just downright impractical. The time is now to build a new culture of peace and nonviolence.

 

“So that means, today, in the name of the God of peace, don’t bomb North Korea. Don’t start a nuclear war. Don’t start World War III. Stop all the US wars and occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan. Don’t bomb Syria; that will not disarm ISSI or Al Qaeda only build them up. An eye for an eye doesn’t work. War breeds war. War never leads to peace. Bring our troops home, let the UN resolve the crises, make massive reparations to Iraq and Afghanistan. Seek nonviolent solutions for peace.

 

“Stop the militarization of the Mid-East, end the occupation of the Palestinians; support nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers. Close all the 750 US military bases around the world, and our 100 terrorist training camps like the School of the Americas. And while you’re at it, close Los Alamos, Livermore Labs, and then close the CIA, NSA, and the Pentagon.

 

“Lift the entire Third World debt, house the world’s homeless; give free universal healthcare. Welcome every immigrant to our country; end handgun violence, mass shootings, racism, mass incarceration, and the death penalty. Sign the treaties for total nuclear disarmament and the Paris accords, join the world court, obey international law, fund alternatives to fossil fuels, stop fracking and environmental destruction; save our parks and the coral reefs and the artic and the creatures from extinction; cut the entire military budget; abolish every nuclear weapon and weapon of mass destruction.

 

“And then, take those billions and billions and trillions of dollars and feed every starving child and refugee on the planet, end extreme poverty, institutionalize nonviolent conflict resolution and with the infinite money left over, educate every child in the world in the methodology of nonviolence so that nonviolence becomes the new normal human way of life, so that we can begin to create a new culture of peace and nonviolence.”

 

These are the things we all need to say from now on. We all need to step up to the plate, speak out against injustice and war, resist Trump’s insane violence and corporate greed, advocate for a new culture of peace and nonviolence, and do our part to disarm and heal the world.

 

This, I believe, is the will of the God of peace, the greatest need before us.

Thank you for all you do for peace and for the God of peace. May the God of peace strengthen us to carry on the journey and fulfill our mission! Take care,

 

–Fr. John