Report of Aug. 9, 2018 Prayer Service of Repentance to Commemorate U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Nagasaki Outside White House

Dear Friends,

On Aug. 9, from Noon-1:00 PM, about 30 people from the faith-based DC-MD-VA peace community held a prayer service of repentance on Pennsylvania Ave. outside the White House to commemorate the U.S. Nuclear bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The prayer service began with a word of welcome and reflection that I offered (see below— revised from the Aug. 6 Pentagon Prayer Service).

Judy Coode and Jean Stokan then read the powerful Hiroshima Peace Declaration that was delieved by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at a special Commemoration in Hiroshima on August 6, 2018 (see:https://www.wagingpeace.org/2018-hiroshima-peace-declaration/

Scott Wright then gave a compelling introduction to the “Apology Petition.” (see below)

This was followed by Shizuko, a Japanese peace activist, singing the inspiring song of the A-Bomb survivors in Japanese and offering a brief reflection.

Bob Cooke and Mike Walli then led a Litany of Repentance.

This was followed by Jean inviting prayers from the gathered community. Moving prayers were offered and after each prayer a rose was placed on a photo of numerous A-Bomb victims that were displayed on the street before us, which became a makeshift shrine to the victims.

Aug. 9 is also the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sr. Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, both of whom were killed by the Nazi’s. Stein was martyred on Aug. 9, 1942, and Jagerstatter on Aug. 9, 1943. Mary Liepold read a quote from Sr. Stein,  and Sr. Patty Chappell and Rachel Schmidt read quotes from Franz Jagerstatter.

This was followed by Kathy Boylan reading Dan Berrigan’s prophetic poem, “Shadow on the Rock.”

We concluded our witness singing together “I Come and Stand.”

Catholic News Service covered this witness and a link to the story can be found at:

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/08/10/peace-activists-prayer-service-marks-nagasaki-hiroshima-anniversary/

http://catholicphilly.com/2018/08/news/national-news/peace-activists-prayer-service-marks-nagasaki-hiroshima-anniversary/

With hope for a disarmed world,

Art

August 9, 2018 Prayer Service of Repentance to Commemorate U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Nagasaki Outside White House

 

APOLOGY PETITION (Scott Wright)

During our Prayer Service of Repentance in front of the White House on August 6, 2016, this petition was read and presented to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. Over 700 people signed the petition. In September 2016, Mr. Mimaki delivered the petition to the Mayor of Hiroshima and is now in the Hiroshima Peace Museum. This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace and Jonah House. 

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear WeaponsAugust 6 and 9, 2016— 71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  (Read by Gathered Community)

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

 

Opening Reflection by Art Laffin–August 9, 2018 White House Prayer Service of Repentance

Good afternoon. My name is Art Laffin and, on behalf of the DDCW and all other peacemakers present here, we extend greetings of peace to everyone at the White House today.

Seventy-three years ago, on August 6, 1945, the U.S. ushered in the Nuclear Age by committing the unspeakable act of using nuclear weapons against the people of Hiroshima. Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. used a second nuclear weapon against the people of Nagasaki. Over 200,000 Japanese died in these bombings and many thousands more have suffered and died since from the effects of nuclear radiation. The U.S. has never repented for the use of these weapons of indiscriminate mass murder.

We, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, and Pax Christi USA, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Jonah House, the Assisi Community, Pax Christi International, and the Franciscan Action Network, and other friends come to the White House today to say Yes to the God of Life who commands us to love and not to kill, and No to the forces of evil, death and destruction. As people of faith, we stand here in front of the White House with contrite hearts as we call on our nation to join with us in repenting for the colossal sin and crime of building and using nuclear weapons, to apologize to the Japanese and A-Bomb survivors (known as Hibakusha) for our country’s use of the bomb against them, and to demand an end to ongoing immoral and illegal nuclear war preparations.

We also join with people of faith and conscience committed to nuclear disarmament worldwide, including in Japan and here in the U.S., many of whom are holding peace and resistance actions during this time of commemoration, including peacemakers at Büchel Air Force Base in Germany, Los Alamos and Livermore Nuclear Labs, the Bangor nuclear submarine base,  STRATCOM, the Brandywine Peace Community who are acting at Lockheed Martin, and the Manhattan Project for a Nuclear Free Future. We remember, too, the ICAN-sponsored global fast for nuclear disarmament. And we lift up in a special way the witness of the Kings Bay Plowshares, seven Catholic peace activists who carried out a plowshares action at the Kings Bay Trident facility in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018. Three of the seven are still being held in pre-trial detention and the four remain under house arrest as they await their trial.

Nuclear weapons were conceived of, built and used under a shroud of secrecy and deception. Since the Manhattan Project to create the Bomb began in 1940, the U.S. has spent some $10 trillion building and refining its nuclear arsenal. Instead of leading the world toward nuclear abolition, the U.S. continues to build even deadlier weapons. And it is also using nuclear technology in its efforts to militarize and dominate space.

The violence unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki set in motion a trajectory of unrelenting violence by the U.S. in its wars of aggression that it has waged over the last seven decades, claiming untold lives. In its quest to be the world’s preeminent military superpower, and control vast amounts of the earth’s resources, the U.S. power structure is committed to using whatever military means is necessary, including nuclear weapons, to enforce and protect its interests.

Today, the U.S. government possesses about 6,500 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend an estimated $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize it’s existing nuclear arsenal–a blatant violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This deadly venture not only endangers all of creation but is a direct theft from the poor of our nation and world. Let’s be very clear: As Fr. Richard McSorley, S.J. stated in 1976, “It’s a sin to build a nuclear weapon!”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has turned its “Doomsday Clock” to two minutes before midnight to signify the perilous situation facing the world due to the dangers of nuclear war and the climate crisis. This peril has been exacerbated by an unstable U.S. president who has threatened to attack North Korea and Iran. As a leading nuclear superpower, the U.S. practices a double standard by calling on other nations to disarm while, at the same time, it refuses to disarm and instead is rapidly expanding its own nuclear arsenal.

If the U.S. is to ever truly lead the way to real disarmament, it must first repent for the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and endorse and ratify the historic UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. Only then can the U.S legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm. To date 59 countries have signed the treaty and 14 have ratified it.

Pope Francis declared: “If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned…The total elimination of nuclear weapons is “both a challenge and a moral and humanitarian imperative” of our time.

If it is wrong to possess nuclear weapons then it is wrong to use them under any circumstance. This means that any one in the military chain of command must refuse orders to ever use these or other similar murderous weapons. Nuclear weapons are anti-God, anti-life and have no right to exist. The Hibakusha plead to the world: “Humankind can’t coexist with nuclear weapons.” Thomas Merton declares that we must “refuse our consent to this colossal crime.” And Martin Luther King Jr., exhorts us: “The choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or non-existence.”

Now is the time for urgent nonviolent action to abolish nuclear weapons, killer drones and all weapons, and to end the scourge of war. If the human family and the earth are to survive, we need to heed the admonitions of the Hibakusha, Pope Francis, Gandhi, King, Merton, Dorothy Day, the Berrigan’s, Archbishop Hunthausen and many other prophets of peace. We need to strive with every fiber of our being to embrace the way of nonviolence, renounce the sin of racism, pursue the path of just peace and create the Beloved Community.

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Published in: on August 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Peace Witness Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima–1 Arrested

“The bomb exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die at once suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers.”  

–From “Original Child Bomb,” by Thomas Merton, describing the firepower, death and destruction that was unleashed on Hiroshima

Dear Friends,

Today, August 6, from 7-8 AM about 20 people from the faith-based peace community in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, held a prayer witness of repentance at the Pentagon to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. (See Prayer Service Program of Repentance Below) This witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and cosponsored by Pax Christi Metro-DC, and Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi International, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Assisi Community,  Jonah House, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team and the Franciscan Action Network.

We gathered for the Prayer Service in the Pentagon police designated protest zone which is located in an enclosed space behind a bicycle fence on the southeast corner of the Pentagon near the south parking lot. As hundreds of civilian and military workers streamed into the Pentagon, they saw several prominent messages that were displayed on a sign and banner: “U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima, August, 6, 1945—Repent,” and: “Remembering the Pain, Repenting the Sin, Reclaiming the Future—Aug. 6-9 Hiroshima & Nagasaki.” The banner also depicted a drawing of an A-Bomb child victim. Vigilers also held photos of victims of Hiroshima and other signs.

The prayer service began with a statement which I offered (see below). Judy Coode then led the reading of  the “Apology Petition” that was shared and presented two years ago to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima Hibakusha, during our August 6, 2016 White House commemoration witness. Over 700 people signed the petition. (see Petition below)

After the second paragaph of the Apology petition was read by Kathy Boylan, she proceeded to walk out onto the sidewalk toward the entrance to the Pentagon holding a banner that said:“Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Butchery of Untold Magnitude”—Pope Paul VI). Kathy was met by Pentagon police and shortly thereafter was handcuffed and taken by Pentagon police to be processed and released. She was charged with “Interfering with Agency Functions,” and “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” and given a September 20, 2018 court date.

At the conclusion of the prayer service, we had a closing circle which included a short reflection from Shizuko, a Japanese peace activist who shared about the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, as well as a powerful encounter an A-bomb child had with a U.S. Airman who was involved in the bombing.

To commemorate the U.S. Nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons, please join us on Thursday, August 9th from Noon – 1:00 PM, where there will be a Prayer Service of Repentance outside the White House. Meet on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave.–across from Lafayette Park.  

With hope for a disarmed world,

Art

 

Prayer Service of Repentance for Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Witness

OPENING (Art Laffin)

APOLOGY PETITION: (Judy Coode)

During our Prayer Service of Repentance in front of the White House on August 6, 2016, an Apology Petition was read and presented to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. Over 700 people signed the petition. In September 2016, Mr. Mimaki  delivered the petition to the Mayor of Hiroshima and is now at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace and Jonah House. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear WeaponsAugust 6 and 9, 2016— 71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  (Read By Judy, Kathy Boylan, Tony Magliano and Sr. Quincy)

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

A-Bomb Survivors Song (Art)

Feast of the Transfiguration Gospel Reading from Mark: 9:2-10 (Marie Dennis)

Let us pray that we can truly listen to Jesus and be transfigured by God’s love. Let us renounce what Dr. King called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism as we seek to follow the way of nonviolence and create the Beloved Community.

LITANY OF REPENTANCE  (Mike Walli and Jack McHale)

For the U.S. development, use, and continued threatened use of nuclear weapons, Forgive us O God 

For the over 200,000 people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a direct result of the U.S. nuclear bombings, Forgive us O God 

For the countless Japanese A-Bomb survivors who have suffered and died from the effects of nuclear radiation, Forgive us O God 

For the unknown numbers of people who have suffered and died from nuclear testing in the South Pacific, Forgive us O God 

For workers in nuclear facilities who have been exposed to radiation and who have suffered and died,

Forgive us O God

For those living downwind from nuclear facilities who have contracted cancer and other illnesses and who have died, Forgive us O God 

For those prisoners and people with mental disabilities who were subjects of nuclear radiation experiments, Forgive us O God

For the U.S. use of highly toxic radioactive depleted uranium weapons in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and elsewhere which have claimed untold lives and have caused dramatic increases of cancer, leukemia and birth defects in each of the countries where these weapons have been used, Forgive us O God 

For the millions who needlessly suffered and died–past and present–because of the money and resources squandered on weapons and war instead of on programs to help eradicate poverty and preventable diseases, Forgive us O God 

For desecrating the earth and the environmental damage caused by the mining, testing and use of nuclear technology, Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. militarization of space and the dangerous use of nuclear technology in space,

Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. military being the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate, Forgive us O God 

For placing our trust in the false security of weapons and mammon rather than in God, Forgive us O God

 

Community Prayers

 “SHADOW ON THE ROCK” by Daniel Berrigan, SJ (Dan Jackson)

At Hiroshima there’s a museum

and outside that museum there’s a rock,

and on that rock there’s a shadow.

That shadow is all that remains

of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945

when the nuclear age began.

In the most real sense of the word,

that is the choice before us.

We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,

or we will become Shadows On the Rock.

 

SONG: I COME AND STAND  (Sing Together)

I come and stand at every door, But no one hears my silent prayer, I knock and yet remain unseen, For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven although I died, In Hiroshima long ago. I’m seven now as I was then, When children die they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by a swirling flame, My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind, Death came and turned my bones to dust,

And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice, I need no sweets nor even bread, I ask for nothing for myself, For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace, You work today, you work today, So that the children of this world, May live and grow and laugh and play.

 

Published in: on August 6, 2018 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment