Ed. Note: Earlier today, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Art Laffin, joined by members of Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore and others, held vigil outside the Air Force Association’s “Air-Space-Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition”. The report below is excerpted from their witness and his report following the vigil.


by Art Laffin
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

On this International Day of Peace, and in solidarity with all who are participating at this time in Campaign Nonviolence and the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action, Verleah Kosloske, Bob Cooke, Jack McHale and I vigiled today from 12-1pm outside the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD which is once again hosting the annual Air Force Association (AFA) “Air-Space-Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” 

Yesterday, as I was leaving the weekly Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Pentagon Peace Vigil, I took photos of Northrop Grumman Ads that are displayed throughout the Pentagon Metro area. These ads, displayed by Northrop Grumman, a prominent weapons contractor, highlight what they are exhibiting at this year’s Arms Bazaar. 

During our vigil we were present to both weapons contractors and military who were on their lunch break. We conducted a prayer service which included a “Prayer of Exorcism and Conversion,” a reading of the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel (today is the Feast of St. Matthew), a reflection and response (see below), and a recitation of the CPT Litany of Resistance and Pax Christi Litany of Repentance and Conversion. We closed with singing “Down by the Riverside” and praying “The Lord’s Prayer.” 

In these perilous times, let us live in the hope that Jesus offers: “All things are possible for the one who has faith.” (Mk. 9:23)

We beckon the holy cloud of witnesses, including Henri Nouwen (on this 25th anniversary of his death), Troy Davis (on this 10th anniversary of his execution), and all peace and justice makers who have gone home to God, and who are now interceding on our behalf. Hope abounds in the actions of countless people worldwide who are seeking to make God’s reign of justice and peace a reality. Let us redouble our efforts to do all we can to nonviolently resist the forces and systems of violence, racism, oppression and death and witness to the God of Life and Love as we strive to create the Beloved Community.


Reflection and Response

“Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on
individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money
that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and
culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

~Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress

From September 20-22, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air-Space-Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” This year’s theme marking the 75th anniversary of the AFA is: “AIR AND SPACE LEADERSHIP FOR OUR NATION – TODAY AND TOMORROW.”

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

More than 140 exhibitors taking part in this year’s Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. Weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

During its three-day Arms Bazaar, the AFA will hold forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. Here are titles for three of the forums: “Total Force–Air and Space,” “From Acquisition to Lethality,” “Fighting and Winning in Space.” Additionally, there will be two gala banquets. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people and the environment worldwide!

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail! Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology?

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? Who will help to convert the U.S. war economy to meet urgent human needs? We need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all U.S. warmaking, racism and oppression–from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza and elsewhere, and all systemic violence in every city and town in our country.

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, and to beat all the swords of our time into plowshares, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar!

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

Please join with us as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.

Response: God Commands Us Not to Kill and To Beat Swords into Plowshares! Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm Now!

One thought on “Stop the AFA Arms Bazaar! Disarm now!

  1. When we see the faces and eyes of those beaten by war, death, and destruction, how could it possibly make sense to proliferate weapons of death. There is so much to do to improve lives and protect Creation. If only the intelligence and motivation of those in the U.S., Russia, China, Pakistan etc. could be channeled into positive and mutually beneficial efforts… Pray and act for a groundswell of nonviolent resistance to an out-of-control defense budget and production of weapons of destruction. Love and caring is so much stronger–patience and commitment is imperative. Peace!

Leave a Reply to Terence A Lover Cancel reply