Report of Holy Thursday and Good Friday Retreat and Public Witness–April 13-14, 2017–Four Arrested at Pentagon

Dear Friends,

From Holy Thursday afternoon to Good Friday afternoon, some 20 friends gathered in D.C. for a Faith and Resistance retreat and public witness that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and held at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church. Those who participated in the retreat/witness included members of Jonah House, the Atlantic Life Community and students from Loras College from Iowa. The theme of the retreat was: “Standing With the Crucified–Stop Crucifixion Today.” Holy Thursday was a day of reflection, sharing, action planning and Liturgy. Good Friday was a day of public witness.

The retreat began with a very rich and inspiring communal Gospel sharing about crucifixion narrative from the Gospel of John and it’s meaning for today. This was followed by a planning session for the Good Friday Pentagon and White House actions.  After dinner, we heard from Fr. Pat Cunningham, an Irish  Columban priest and remarkable peacemaker, who has been based in S. Korea for the last 22 years. I befriended Pat when I visited Jeju Island, S. Korea in 2014. He gave an excellent overview of the inspiring nine year nonviolent resistance campaign to the new U.S.-backed naval base on Jeju Island which continues daily. Joined by a dozen other friends from our extended community, we then viewed  the compelling film “Theologians Under Hitler,” with Steve Martin the producer present, who was led an animated Q & A. Following this presentation was a moving Liturgy and foot-washing that was led by Fr. Pat and Loras students.

On Good Friday, a nonviolent public witness was held at the Pentagon. At 7:00 a.m. the community processed from Army-Navy Dr. to the police designated protest zone with signs and small crosses with the names of different victims in our society and world written on them. During the procession the Loras students led us in singing “ May I Be An Instrument Of Peace.”  As hundreds of Pentagon employees streamed into work and numerous police were on hand, four of our community remained on the Pentagon sidewalk (where we are subject to arrest) and processed toward the building holding signs: “For the Children-Stop all Warring,” “Our Prayer—A Disarmed World,”  “We Will Not Raise Our Children To Kill,” and “Mother of All Bombed—Forgive US.” They were not initially stopped by police and they were able to proceed halfway down the sidewalk before they were arrested. Simultaneously,  the rest of the community proceeded into the designated “protest zone.” A huge banner that said: “U.S. Empire Crucifies Humanity” was displayed on the grassy slope overlooking the sidewalk going into the Pentagon metro entrance. Six retreatants, dressed in a black robes representing victims of U.S. warmaking and torture,  each took turns standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a large cross. Reflections were read about each of the victims, the last one being “Afghanistan War Victim.” At this time we decried the sinful and criminal U.S. use of the GBU-43/B Ordinance Air Blast bomb on Holy Thursday in Afghanistan. This bomb, dubbed “Mother of All Bombs,” was  the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the U.S. As of this writing,  the exact number of people who were killed by this bombing is not known. In between the readings there was silence and singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.”  The final reading was a reflection by Leonardo Boff,  “Jesus Being Nailed to the Cross Today.”

After about ten minutes, those who were witnessing on the sidewalk were arrested, taken to the Pentagon Police processing center, and released after several hours. They were charged with “failure to comply with a lawful order” and given a violation notice to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA on June 1, 2017.

At noon-time, we were joined by an additional 20 friends from the wider D.C. peace community, some of whom have been part of a solidarity witness/fast to end the U.S.-backed Saudi war against Yemen, as we held a “contemporary crucifixion” on Pennsylvania Ave. directly in front of the White House as hundreds of  tourists looked on (see attached photo taken by Lin Romano). Also, please see below the reflections that were read for each of the eleven crucified victims as they, wearing black robes, took turns, standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on the cross. After each victim came off the cross we sang: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord.” Our leaflet was also read to begin the witness, and a reading about how Jesus is being crucified today, by Leonardo Boff, was offered to conclude it. The Loras students began and ended the witness with singing “May I Me Be An Instrument of Peace.” We ended our witness and retreat by sharing a sign of peace.

Let us pray for each other during this Holy Season, and for all those in our world who are experiencing at this very moment the passion and death of Jesus. And let us be transformed by the cross and resurrection of Jesus as we seek to practice resurrection and be living signs of hope for our world.

In peace and gratitude,

Art

Those Arrested:

Paul Magno

Joe Byrne

Kathy Boylan

Bill Frankel-Streit

Script of Crucified Victims and Desecrated Earth—2017: Read at the the Pentagon and White House Good Friday Public Witness

Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Today, vast numbers of God’s global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, racism, militarism, economic exploitation and social injustice. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus. Today, we remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We also pray for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.

Crucified Victim #1–Iraq War Victim 
For 26 years the U.S. has waged an unrelenting war against Iraq, which, today, includes the destruction of Mosul. We pray for the over 2 million Iraqis who have died since 1991 as result of U.S.-UN led sanctions, U.S. bombings, invasion and occupation. We pray for the countless millions injured and the over 4 million displaced. We repent for destroying an entire society, traumatizing a generation of Iraqis and setting into motion a spiral of violence and political upheaval which, in part, created the conditions for the rise of the Islamic State. We call for all CIA and U.S. military personnel and security contractors to leave Iraq immediately, and that the U.S. beg forgiveness from and make reparations to the Iraqi people.

Crucified Victim #2–Drone bombing victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We pray in repentance for all victims of U.S. drone strikes and call for an immediate end to the use of these immoral and illegal killer-drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. We call for a halt to Pentagon and White House “kill lists” and that an apology and reparations be made to all victims’ families of drone strikes. We pray in gratitude for all who have resisted and who have been imprisoned for decrying this diabolical robotic warfare. We commit ourselves to abolishing these murderous drones, our American death squads of the skies.

Crucified Victim #3–Victim of Militarism and Nuclearism
We pray for all people–past and present–who have been, and continue to be, crucified to the cross of militarism, nuclearism and warmaking. We remember and pray for all victims of warmaking, especially right now in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and throughout the Middle East. We pray and work for the abolition of war, for the elimination of nuclear weapons, nuclear technology and all weapons, for an end to the militarization of space and all forms of militarism and military intervention worldwide, and for the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on meeting human needs and serving the common good.

Crucified Victim #4–Victim of Racial Violence

We pray for all those–past and present–who have been and continue to be crucified to a cross of racial hatred. We remember and pray for all those American Indians and African Americans who were slaughtered, enslaved, lynched and murdered simply because of their skin color. Today racial hatred and violence is pervasive throughout the land. A disproportionate number of African Americans are imprisoned and executed. African Americans are constantly profiled and are being killed in record numbers by white police officers. Countless others have been killed while in police custody. Too many have suffered; too many have died because of state and police violence, and white silence! Black lives matter!

Islamophobia is on the rise! Muslims are being demonized and targeted, denied entry to the U.S. and deported. Systemic violence and racism, inherent in oppressive economic and political structures, crush the poor and people of color, denying so many of their dignity and basic human rights.

Loving God, you have instructed us that every person is created in your image. All life is sacred. Jesus, declared: “Love your neighbor”; “do to others what you would have them do to you!” Loving God, we repent for the sin of racism. Free us from fear and racial hatred. Liberate us from the unclean spirit that seeks superiority and domination of others. Create in us o God, a clean heart and spirit of love that truly embraces everyone as equal, everyone as a sister and brother, everyone as a child of God. Deepen our commitment to tirelessly work for justice and equality for all people of color as we strive to make the Beloved Community a reality here and now.

Crucified Victim #5–Victim of Poverty and Economic Exploitation

We remember all people who have been, and continue to be, sacrificed at the altar of greed, oppression and economic exploitation. Never have so few rich people been allowed to hoard so much. “The 62 richest people in the world now hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.”(Oxfam, Jan. 2016) Income inequality is a grave injustice. We remember all people who have died early deaths in the U.S. and worldwide from dire poverty, malnutrition and inadequate health care. We pray and work for an end to structures and policies that dominate, exploit and crucify people to a cross of dehumanizing poverty, debt and neglect. We commit to working for an end to corporate domination, the eradication of poverty and debt cancellation, and for a fair redistribution of wealth and a just economic order.

Crucified Victim #6–Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)
Jesus was a torture victim who was condemned by religious authorities and executed by the Roman empire. We remember all torture victims, past and present, who have suffered and died from the effects of torture. We remember the over 100 prisoners who, since 2001, died at secret U.S. military black sites, as well as the nine men who died at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo. We remember the 41 detainees in Guantanamo,  including those who have been on hunger strikes and endured excruciating force-feedings to call for an end to their brutal, unjust confinement. Let us continue to pray and work for the abolition of torture worldwide, and for the immediate closing of Guantanamo, the SOA/WHINSEC and all military torture and training centers.

Crucified Victim #7–Nonviolent Revolutionary Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       We remember all those who have given their lives and who have sacrificed their freedom as they have struggled, without using violence, for justice in their countries. We think of those who participated in the Arab Spring to break their shackles of oppression. We hold in prayer the dead and wounded people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. These nonviolent resisters marched, demonstrated, and occupied the streets and squares in order to free themselves from police repression, censorship, unemployment, and violence and were met with violent attacks. We remember all of the people of these nations and repent for U.S. funding of any of the guns, bombs, and materials used to prop up their abusive dictators. May all that has been stolen from these sisters and brothers be restored.

Crucified Victim #8– Imprisoned Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We remember and pray for:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              –Imprisoned private Chelsea Manning, whistle-blower and truth revealer of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, originally sentenced to 35 years in prison but had his sentence commuted and will be released in May;

–All whistle-blowers, truth-tellers and political prisoners who have been, and continue to be, persecuted, including Mordechai Vanunu, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden;

–Norman Edgar Lowry, Jr. sentenced in May 2012 to 1-7 years for his third trespassat a military recruiting office in Lancaster, PA;

–Leonard Peltier, Native American political prisoner serving a life sentence;

Rafil Dhafir, who is serving a 22 year sentence resulting from providing humanitarian and financial aid to Iraqis in violation of U.S. sanctions;

–All those who have been arrested and jailed for their nonviolent resistance to war, and weapons of war, environmental destruction, including war-resisters in S. Korea and Okinawa, Japan;

–The detainees in Guantanamo and all prisoners held in indefinite detention;

–All immigrants held in deportation centers;

–the over 2.2 million prisoners in the U.S., for all who are condemned and awaiting execution, and for all prisoners worldwide…

We pray and work for a dismantling of the mass incarceration complex. In the words of Jesus, let us “proclaim liberty to all captives.”

 

Crucified Victim #9–Immigration Victim

Mindful that Jesus was born as a migrant and exiled as a refugee, we remember today those immigrants who have been crucified to a cross of exploitation, racism, oppression and war. We remember all those who have fled their homelands in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East and North Africa due to war. We also  remember those who have been driven from their homes and the hundreds who have died in the Mediterranean Sea and crossing the Mexico-U.S. border in search of a better life.

We remember, too, the 700 undocumented immigrants who are currently on hunger strike to protest the conditions and extremely low wages at the for-profit Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.

Loving God, help us to learn to love and welcome the immigrants in this land. Give us the courage to stand for justice for all immigrants instead of imprisoning them in dehumanizing detention facilities. Give us the courage to speak out and expose how our country’s policies of globalization and free trade are driving people to leave their countries and tearing families apart. Help us to take down the walls of division and fear that create physical walls of separation on our border. Teach us the words of love you would have us speak as we call for comprehensive immigration reform in this land.

 

Crucified Victim #10–Our Desecrated Earth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Creator God, we confess that the way we live today is desecrating the earth, changing the climate, the seas and the balance of life, and dispossessing the poor and future generations. We repent for the way our environment and earth continues to be endangered by industrial pollution, toxic deadly chemicals, wasteful oil consumption, the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, nuclear radiation and the effects of preparing for and waging war. With nearly 1,000 military bases worldwide and a vast global war machine, the U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels and has greatly contributed to destabilizing the earth’s climate. Creator God, help us to stop destroying your creation. Today, on Jeju Island in S. Korea, a global biosphere reserve and world natural heritage site is being destroyed, all because of a new naval base that will serve as U.S. military outpost in the Asia-Pacific region. Empower and sustain all those who are nonviolently resisting threats to land, water, air and sky throughout our world. Empower us to safeguard the earth, our common home, and all of creation and choose life for all that is at risk.

Crucified Victim #11–Afghanistan War Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

On Holy Thursday, the U.S. military used a GBU-43/B Ordinance Air Blast bomb in Afghanistan. This bomb, dubbed “Mother of All Bombs” was  the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the U.S. We decry the sinful and criminal use of this bomb. As of this writing, the exact number of people who were killed by this bombing is unknown.

Since the U.S. began its criminal military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, thousands of Afghan civilians have suffered and died. Let us remember that on October 3, 2015 the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where 42 people were killed and 30 injured. In Afghanistan, year after year, life for Afghan civilians is only more dire. Maya Evans of Voices for Creative Nonviolence recently wrote from Kabul. She quoted from the annual report by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan on a record-breaking increase of casualties–3498 civilians killed, and 7920 wounded in 2016.  Afghanistan has become even more dangerous since the rise of ISIS and the increase of Taliban control. We pray for all those Afghans who have been, and continue to be, crucified to a cross of ruthless U.S. military occupation. We pray and work for an immediate end to the immoral and illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan, for the withdrawl of all military and CIA personnel, and that the U.S. beg forgiveness from and make reparations to the people of Afghanistan.

Published in: on April 15, 2017 at 4:31 pm  Comments (3)  

HOLY THURSDAY & GOOD FRIDAY FAITH AND RESISTANCE RETREAT & WITNESS

WHEN: Holy Thursday, April 13, 2017 @ 1:00 PM through Good Friday, April 14, 2017 @1:00 PM.

We will gather at 1:00 PM on Holy Thursday, and conclude on Good Friday, following a Noon-time nonviolent witness at the White House focusing on the contemporary crucifixion’s taking place in our world today. There will also be a Pentagon peace witness early on Good Friday.

WHAT: Please join in a time of prayer, reflection, community building and acts of nonviolent resistance to commemorate the Last Supper, arrest, torture, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, and what it means for us today. 

 

On Holy Thursday, at 6 PM, we will view the film, “Theologians Under Hitler” produced by Steven Martin, who will be present to answer questions following the film. 

     

WHERE: St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church (Auditorium), 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC 20010 (corner of 16th St. and Newton). Overnight hospitality provided. 

 

*NOTE: There is no parking in the St. Stephen Parking lot. There is some unrestricted parking on side streets north of the church. (Homestead St., Center St., Ogden St., Otis St., and Spring St.) 

 

Closest metro is Columbia Heights-Green Line. 

 

This retreat/witness is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.

 

Please join us!  If you can come to all or part of the retreat/witness, please let us know. 

 

For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 202-882-9649, artlaffin@hotmail.com.

Published in: on March 18, 2017 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

“The Berrigan Letters”

Speaker: Eric Martin — co-editor of “The Berrigan Letters”

Date: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010.

As the “war on terror” continues into its third presidency and racist ideology finds a growing public space, please join us for a night of discussion about two renowned peacemakers who nonviolently resisted American racism and warmaking. We will explore the letters of brother’s Philip and Daniel Berrigan, who wrote to each other from 1940 to Philip’s death in 2002, to hear in their own voices how they navigated what it means to embrace the prophets and the gospels in America. More than historical documents, the letters give us spiritual resources for those looking to resist the new forms old evils are taking in the Trump era.

Daniel Berrigan, S.J., 94, who died on April 30, 2016, wrote the following words in the Catonsville Nine statement to decry the U.S. massacre in Vietnam. His words ring as true today as on May 17, 1968:

“The time is past when good people can remain silent, when obedience can segregate people from public risk, when the poor can die without defense. We ask our fellow Christians to consider in their hearts a question which has tortured us, night and day, since the war began. How many must die before our voices are heard, how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? How long must the world’s resources be raped in the service of legalized murder? When, at what point, will you say no to this war? We have chosen to say, with the gift of our liberty, if necessary our lives: the violence stops here, the death stops here, the suppression of the truth stops here, this war stops here…

Redeem the times! The times are inexpressibly evil. Christians pay conscious, indeed religious tribute, to Caesar and Mars; by the approval of overkill tactics, by brinkmanship,  by nuclear liturgies, by racism, by support of genocide. They embrace their society with all their heart, and abandon the cross. They pay lip service to Christ and military service to the powers of death. And yet, and yet, the times are inexhaustibly good, solaced by the courage and hope of many. The truth rules, Christ is not forsaken.”

Eric Martin is a doctoral student and teacher of theology at Fordham University. He co-edited The Berrigan Letters with Daniel Cosacchi in 2016.

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649artlaffin@hotmail.com

Published in: on March 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

REPORT OF 2017 ASH WEDNESDAY LITURGY OF REPENTANCE OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, close to 100 peacemakers from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C.-Baltimore-Virginia area gathered outside the White House for a Liturgy of Repentance that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. The number of people who attended this year’s Liturgy was more than twice the number of people who attended in previous years. Also, this was our first public witness directly in front of the White House since Mr. Trump assumed the presidency, due to the construction and deconstruction of the inaugural presidential and press reviewing stands.

What follows is the program for the Liturgy.

  • Opening Song: Prayer of Peace (Meade Jones Hanna)
  • Welcome and Opening Reflection — Art Laffin
  • Reading: Joel: 2, 12-18  — Sr. Carol Gilber
  • Reading: From the writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero — Rachel Schmidt
  • Response after each prayer, Sing: God forgive the wrong we’ve done, God forgive us now (2x’s)
  • Prayer in Repentance for U.S. Warmaking in Afghanistan and Iraq  (Judith Kelly)        
  • Prayer in Repentance for U.S. Drone Warfare  (Jack McHale)
  • Prayer in Repentance for Nuclear Weapons  (Sr. Ardeth Platte)  
  • Prayer in Repentance for Desecrated Earth  (Colleen McCarthy)  
  • Prayer of Repentance for Racial Violence   (MJ and Jerry Park)
  • Prayer on Behalf of Immigrants and Refugees  (Scott Wright and Jean Stokan)
  • Prayer for Prisoners  (Kathy Boylan)
  • Litany of Repentance and Conversion  (Bob Cooke, Steve Baggarly, Ralph)
  • Song: Ashes (by Tom Conry) — (Meade and Joe Byrne )
  • Blessing and Distribution of Ashes —Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM
  • Marking The Street With Ashes
  • Closing Prayer – Marie Dennis
  • Closing Song: World Peace Prayer  (Meade and Joe)

I am deeply grateful to everyone who offered prayers and who attended and participated in this Liturgy.

Below is the Opening Reflection that I offered. Toward the end of the Liturgy, ashes were blessed and distributed among the participants. A different batch of ashes were then used to mark Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House, as a sign of repentance for the sins of the nation as well as our commitment to follow the Gospel. Midway through the marking of the street with ashes, a U.S. Park Police Officer gave a warning to stop using the ashes on the street because it constituted “Littering.” Nonetheless, we continued to mark the street until all the ashes were all gone. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, several friends from S. Korea were introduced, including a leader from one of the political parties. As they expressed solidarity with our witness, they called for an end to the U.S. THAAD missile defense program being deployed in S. Korea, as well as for an end to all U.S. military intervention in their country. 

Our good friend and standout photographer, Rick Rienhard,  took some excellent photos of the witness. For the link see: http://bit.ly/2lUyIgO  password: justice.

During this Holy Season, let us pray with and for each other, and for our church and world, that we can truly repent and convert our lives to making God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality.

With great gratitude, Art  

ASH WEDNESDAY LITURGY OF REPENTANCE OPENING REFLECTION (by Art Laffin)   

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for personal and societal repentance, radical conversion and transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Living in the U.S. empire, we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever.

As people from different faith-based communities committed to nonviolence, justice and peace, we summon the cloud of witnesses as we come to pray and witness outside the White House, calling for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of love, justice, and a reverence for all life and creation. As we offer this liturgy of repentance, we beg forgiveness, O God, of our own sinfulness.

As we stand in proximity to the White House, we implore You, O God, to banish every diabolic power and every evil influence from this place. Help all Your people, who are made in Your very image, to respect the sacredness of all life and reject the idols of death. May a spirit of repentance and conversion take root in the lives of anyone who perpetrates and supports violence and injustice.

Living in a nation whose origin is rooted in slavery and genocide, we pray in repentance for those sins that has caused so much needless death and suffering in our society and world—past and present. We acknowledge the church’s complicity in these sins. As the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative declared in its Appeal from last year’s historic Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference: “Clearly the Word of God, the witness of Jesus, should never be used to justify violence, injustice and war. We confess that the people of God have betrayed the Gospel of Nonviolence many times, participating in wars persecutions, oppression, exploitation and discrimination.”

Today, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel mandates of love, mercy and justice and to nonviolently resist the hate-filled, fear driven and destructive executive orders and policies of the new Trump administration.

We denounce the travel ban against Muslim immigrants. We deplore the proposed expansion of a Border Wall and the detention and deportation of immigrants. We decry the desecration of native lands and call for the cancellation of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We renounce the Jan. 30th criminal U.S. military attack in Yemen which killed as many as 30 civilians, including a newborn baby boy and 10 children. We remember all these victims, including the U.S. soldier who died in this attack. And we denounce plans for a $54 billion increase to an already exorbitant military budget.

During this Holy Season, we call upon the nation and churches to join with us in seeking to eradicate what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” We call for an end to corporate domination and systemic racism and exploitation; justice for the poor, homeless and all immigrants; an end to torture, indefinite detention, the mass incarceration complex, police violence against Blacks and the death penalty; debt forgiveness for poor countries; the abolition of war and the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good and protecting the earth, our common home.

When will the U.S. government repent for the death, destruction, trauma and destablization it has caused, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South America, through its years of military intervention, arms sales and oppressive trade agreements, and which, has helped create the conditions for the rise of the Islamic State and a massive refugee and immigration crisis?

Now is the time for the U.S. to repent and make reparations for the violence, death and suffering that it has inflicted on other countries, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. We call on the U.S. to reject the way of revenge and retaliation as a response to conflict, to make peace with the Islamic State and Iran and  to help negotiate a peace agreement in Syria. We call, too, on the U.S. to halt all arms sales worldwide and to demand an end to U.S. support for Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And we call for the closure of the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases worldwide, including in Guantanamo, S. Korea and Okinawa.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has now moved the “doomsday clock” to two and a half minutes to midnight, because of the ever-growing threats climate change and the danger of nuclear war pose for human survival, we call for urgent action to be taken to end the climate crisis, safeguard the environment and abolish all nuclear weapons.

We also call for an end to U.S. military intervention worldwide, for an end to the U.S. militarization of space, and for the elimination of all weapons–from guns to killer drones.

 

Daniel Berrigan, S.J., 94, who died on April 30, 2016, wrote the following words in the Catonsville Nine statement to decry the U.S. massacre in Vietnam. His words ring as true today as on May 17, 1968: “How many must die before our voices are heard, how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? How long must the world’s resources be raped in the service of legalized murder?…We have chosen to say, with the gift of our liberty, if necessary our lives: the violence stops here, the death stops here, the suppression of the truth stops here, this war stops here…Redeem the times! The times are inexpressibly evil…And yet, the times are inexhaustibly good, solaced by the courage and hope of many. The truth rules, Christ is not forsaken.”

 

The violence, racism and disregard for the truth and human life stops here today in front of the White House. The truth rules, Christ is not forsaken! On this Ash Wednesday, we commit ourselves to redeeming the times and working in solidarity with sister’s and brother’s everywhere to create the Beloved Community as we seek to make God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality in our society and world, right here, right now!

Published in: on March 1, 2017 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance Outside the White House

When: Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from Noon-1:00 p.m.

Where: White House (north side on Pennsylvania Ave.)

“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)
“A Church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed – what Gospel is that”? – Archbishop Oscar Romero
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a time for personal and societal repentance, radical conversion, renewal and transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15) Living in the U.S. empire, which is responsible for so much needless death and suffering in our world, we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever!

On Ash Wednesday people from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C. area will hold a prayer service in front of the White House to call for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of justice, nonviolence and a reverence for all life and creation.

Seeking to eradicate what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, we call for an end to corporate domination and systemic exploitation, racism and discrimination; debt forgiveness for poor countries, justice for the poor and all immigrants; an end to torture, indefinite detention and the mass incarceration complex; and for the abolition of war and the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting our sacred earth.

During this Lent, we are especially mindful of our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel mandates of love, mercy and justice and to nonviolently resist the hate-filled, fear driven and destructive executive orders of the new Trump administration. We commit ourselves to ending all forms of racial hatred. We denounce the demonizing and targeting of Muslims, especially the travel ban against Muslim refugees. We deplore the proposed expansion of a Border Wall and plans to detain and deport immigrants. We renounce the resumption of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and call for its cancellation. We are encouraged by all who are resisting the Trump Agenda. We stand in solidarity with sisters and brothers worldwide who are striving to create the beloved community.

We call on the U.S. to repent for the violence, death and suffering that it has inflicted on other countries, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. We also call on the U.S. to reject the way of revenge and retaliation as a response to conflict and to find ways to make peace with the Islamic State instead of bombing them. We call, too, on the U.S. to halt all arms sales worldwide and to demand an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And we call for the closure of the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases worldwide, including Guantanamo and new bases being constructed in Jeju Island, S. Korea and Okinawa, Japan.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has now moved the “doomsday clock” to two and a half minutes to midnight, because climate change and the danger of nuclear war pose an ever-growing threat to civilization and are bringing the world closer to doomsday, we call for urgent action to be taken to end the climate crisis, safeguard the environment and abolish all nuclear weapons. We also call for an end to U.S. military intervention worldwide, for an end to the U.S. militarization of space, and for the elimination of all weapons–from guns to killer drones.

Let us begin Lent together by joining in this important Ash Wednesday witness as we strive together to make God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality.

Ashes will be blessed and distributed. Please join us.

For More Info Contact Art Laffin: artlaffin@hotmail.com
Published in: on February 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment