by Art Laffin, Teacher of Peace
Following the conclusion of the World Without War Conference that was held September 27 at American University, 21 people were arrested yesterday at the Pentagon as part of a Campaign Nonviolence action that was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. The arrests occurred as peacemakers attempted to redeliver a letter previously sent to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, as well as a petition to stop the use of killer drones, at the main Pentagon police checkpoint outside the Pentagon South metro station. Simultaneously, some 50 other peacemakers who attended the World Without War Conference held a demonstration in the Pentagon police designated protest zone located near the police checkpoint.
It was an honor to be part of this action, yet another “experiment in truth” in nonviolent resistance to a war-making empire. During this witness, I carried in my heart and prayer those in whose name I was acting: all the victims of violence, racism, torture, war and poverty, as well as the holy cloud of witnesses–past and present. I also prayed for our sacred earth and climate which is under daily assault and “groaning in travail.” In this time of perpetual war, unrelenting racial violence, mass incarceration and pervasive poverty, I was also very mindful of the compelling words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who declared: “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometime hostile world declaring eternal hostility to racism, poverty and militarism.”
God calls us to love and not to kill, to practice mercy, to love our enemies, to establish justice for the oppressed, to beat all the swords of our time into plowshares, and to abolish war. During this election season and beyond, let us continue to do all we can to embody these biblical mandates as we seek to create the Beloved Community and a nonviolent world.