1986

1986 July 7 – SAC Protest Speech (Bulletin Letters)

1986 July 7 –  SAC Protest Speech (Bulletin Letters)

July 7, 1986

A PILGRIMAGE…WHAT IS IT?

Fr. Frank Cordaro. July 6th Prayer Services before Witness at SAC

–A pilgrimage….what is it?

–a journey to a holy place/ physical and spiritual

— when you get to your destination you are closer to where God wants you to be …

In what sense, then can we say the Heartland Pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place that will bring us closer to where God wants us to be?  Before we can answer that question, we must first ask ourselves “What is SAC Headquarters?” SAC Headquarters is the command post for our nations ground and air strategic nuclear weapons. Which is to say, at SAC there are people like you and me prepared to receive and to give the commands that would load and fly the planes, person the silos and push the buttons that would destroy the world as we know it…

 

OH GOD… HOW DID WE GET IN THIS MESS?

DEAR LORD… LEAD US OUT OF THIS DARKNESS.

 

Within the SAC Command is the Joint Strategic Targeting Planning Staff. This staff is made up of people from all branches of the Armed Services and NATO allies. Their mission is to develop targeting strategies for all U.S. Nuclear weapons. These strategies are collected into one document known as the Single Integrated Operational Plan or (SIOP) SIOP is the blue print for thermonuclear war…

 

According to the mandate of the Reagan Administration, the U.S. armed forces are ordered to prepare for lengthy nuclear war in which they “must prevail and be able to force the Soviet Union to seek the earliest termination of hostilities on terms favorable to the U.S.” Which is to say the Reagan Administration, the Pentagon elites believe that Nuclear War is winnable and in a world of winners and losers, the United States must be a winner..

 

OH GOD. .. HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS MESS?

DEAR LORD… LEAD US OUT OF THIS DARKNESS…

 

The people who are preparing the STOP document are basing their nuclear strategies on this winnable war premise. They are preparing to fight and win a NUCLEAR WAR!!!!!! SlOP is insane… madder than MAD the antiquated nuclear policy of Mutual Assured Destruction…

 

The people who do their job at SAC bear a special burden yet we are all responsible… The people who do their job at SAC are blind believers in a nation of blind believers. .believers in the rightness of our cause, the evil of the opposition, the Rambo warriors and Teflon Presidents and the controllability of the BOMB…

 

OH GOD… HOW DID WE GET IN THIS MESS?

DEAR LORD… LEAD US OUT OF THIS DARKNESS…

 

Today we find ourselves in a mutual suicide pact with the Soviet Union.  Our nation–a nation under God is spiritually yoked with our Godless counter parts under the evil spell of the BOMB… with no relief in sight.  As long as we live in a world that continues to put its trust in the bomb it makes no difference if one side claims believe while the other denies it.

 

We Americans have been slow to understand what is at stake in our alliance with the BOMB.

 

Our blindness is directly related to our unjust consumption of material wealth. We are six percent of the world’s population yet we consume one third of the world resources–half of which comes from outside our boarders. This is theft on a global scale…

 

Our individual and collective consumption patterns are rooted in an economic system of dominance and waste.

 

We have embraced an economic theory that attempts to fulfill the wants of a few at the expense of the many. In so many ways we are literally consuming ourselves to death. This hoarding spirit afflicts our souls. We are fearful of losing our “things” and are willing to risk global homicide to keep them. This fear-based motivation runs our lives and allows for the demonic alliance between our sickened spirits and the BOMB.

 

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS BEYOND REASON FOR REASON HOLDS NO SWAY OVER OUR NUCLEAR APPETITE…

WHAT NEEDS TO BE SEEN IS BEYOND FACTS FOR FACTS HAVE NO PLAY IN OUR NUCLEAR AGENDA….

WHAT IS NEEDED IS A CONVERSION…A CHANGE OF HEART. .. METANOIA…A COMPLETE MORAL TURN ABOUT…

 

There is a growing Resistance Church in this country. It can be found in the many houses of hospitality springing up in our urban centers serving the ever-increasing number of homeless people, the front line casualties of our Nuclear Economy. It can be found in the increased number of people refusing to pay their taxes or register for the draft, saying no to the militarization of our society.

 

It can be found in the growing Sanctuary Movement and the Pledge of Resistance, the U.S. side of the Central American Liberation Movement in the Belly of the Beast.

 

It gathers for prayer and witness at Nuclear weapons plants, military installations, seats of power in on going faithful campaigns of presence and resistance.

 

The conscience of this Church is being formed by brothers and sisters, taking hammers in hand and enfleshing the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares”, spending many months and years in prison, the first feeble acts of disarmament…

 

It is a Church in search of the soul of a nation…

 

It will need to confront the religion of blind patriotism and empty nationalism that serves to protect and bless the Bomb..

 

A NATIONALIST SPIRIT THAT CAN BE FOUND IN EVERY MAJOR DENOMINATION USING THE SAME BOOK, THE SAME SYMBOLS, AND THE SAME FAITH TO JUSTIFY ITS BOMB ALLEGIANCE. NOTHING SHORT OF A RE-ALIGNMENT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FAITHFUL IS AT THE HEART Of THIS STRUGGLE. ..

 

Downward mobility, direct identification with the poor and acts of non-violent resistance are the signs of this Resistance Church… and it is growing

 

OH GOD… HOW DID WE GET IN THIS MESS?

DEAR LORD… LEAD US OUT OF THIS DARKNESS…

 

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS BEYOND REASON FOR REASON HOLDS NO SWAY OVER OUR NUCLEAR APPETITE…

WHAT NEEDS TQ BE SEEN IS BEYOND FACTS FOR FACTS HAVE NO PLAY IN OUR NUCLEAR AGENDA… .

WHAT IS NEEDED IS A CONVERSION… A CHANGE OF HEART… METANOIA… A COMPLETE MORAL TURN ABOUT…

 

So, in what sense is this Heartland Peace Pilgrimage a true pilgrimage, a journey to a Holy Place where at the end we are closer to where God wants us to be?

 

A PILGRIMAGE IS A JOURNEY…

 

There are some here who have been walking… walking across this great country from California on their way to Washington, D.C. Walking for peace. There are others who have been walking from shorter distances who are part of the Heartland effort; they have come from Leavenworth, Kansas, Columbus, Nebraska, Black Hills, South Dakota and Harrison County, Iowa.

 

The act of walking is movement on a human scale. Nothing, too threat-ening about walking –one step at a time with Mother Earth under your feet. The conversion we seek is a change of heart-change on a human scale- one person at a time.

 

One faithful person walking/reaching out to another pleading the case of peace with justice. Nothing too threatening about simply walking except to touch another with a radical spirit of love and trust.

 

Radical for it stands in direct contradiction to the collective spirit of mistrust and fear. Walking, a communication mode not tied to the middle guy–CBS/NBC/ABC/ THE WORLD HERALD/ THE REGESTER/ and so on and so forth… Walking- not too threatening…NOT MUCH.

 

A PILGRIMAGE IS A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY…

 

There are some here who have been on retreat the last couple of days People of Faith- mostly women and most of them Religious.  Thank god for the Catholic Nuns, they have suffered the most in our Church yet they continue to risk.

 

People of Faith who came together for an experience of prayer, study, reflection and community, to examine the historical roots of Faith based resistance in the Church and in our nations history, to assess the call to Christian resistance through non-violent direct action in these Nuclear Times.

 

Many traveled a great distance interiorly in the last few days.

 

A PILGRIMAGE IS A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TO A HOLY PLACE…

 

How can we say our marching to the gates of SAC is a journey to a Holy Place?

 

This winter in Des Moines, Jim Wallis, the editor of Sojourner Magazine said in regard to the Witness for Peace that “There is a crying need in this country for a small band of people who are willing to simply tell the truth in a nation caught up in a massive lie.”

 

I remember the summer of 1978 when a small band of us gathered here in Omaha to pray, share, fight among ourselves, to plan and to participate in a witness at SAC on August 6th, the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Four of us climbed the fence that divides the SAC Museum from an active run way. We held a banner and said a rosary for the victims of Hiroshima.  The security forces kept their distance and watched. I suspect they wanted to check us out. I suspect they still are.

 

We finished our Rosary and climbed back over the fence. That was all we had intended to do. Yet we knew we would be back again and again and again.  Since then over 1, 000 people have come to SAC to cross their lines, climb their fences, pray on their runways, swim to their island, paint their billboard and bloody their chapel porticos in an effort to expose the massive lie that “PEACE IS SAC’S PROFESSION.”

 

WHAT IS NEEDED IS A CONVERSION… A CHANGE OF HEART… METANOIA… A COMPLETE MORAL TURN ABOUT…

 

The first real step towards conversion is to see things as they are and not as the lie would have us believe. Peace is not the profession of SAC. The preparation and the willingness to destroy all life is what SAC is all about. GLOBAL NUCLEAR TERRORISM!

 

 

We will not step back from the Nuclear Abyss until we admit this truth.  It is not enough to say it is a lie; it is not enough to teach it is a lie; for reason does not penetrate our nuclear delusion.  When we cross the line we move from talking peace to risking our lives for peace. Some say it is a small thing… crossing the line. Some say it is ineffective. We are not taken seriously…DON’T BELIEVE THEM…

 

The Powers That Be are very threatened by what we are DOING today. The system instinctively is threatened by free people ACTING out their beliefs.  When we cross that line we are making ourselves vulnerable to the only threat the system has over us – the loss of physical freedom-imprisonment. There has been over 9 years of jail time served for witnessing at SAC.

 

The Justice system like The War system knows how to respond in kind; force for force/ violence for violence. When we confront the system in a non-violent manner, taking all the risk upon ourselves it does not know what to do with us… the more jail dished out the larger our numbers grow…

 

Our Faith history shows us that conversion comes through redemptive suffering… the giving up of ones life for another.

 

Like another Pilgrim who set his sights on Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago we too must be willing to embrace his doctrine of the cross,” If one wishes to come after me, they must deny their very self, take up their cross and follow in my steps. Whoever would preserve their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for my sake and the Gospel will preserve it.”

 

Crossing the line is a sign of the growing number of people committed to risking their lives for peace.

 

The gates at SAC are a Holy Place because it is where brothers and sisters are making a personal stand for truth/believing that if we can see things as they are and not as the lie would have us believe God will have the needed space in our hearts to lead us out of this darkness.

 

When it’s all done today… will we be closer to where God wants you to be? I know I will. Only you can answer this question for yourself.

 

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