On Monday, May 2nd over 150 people gathered at the main entrance of the new nuclear weapons plant currently being built on 150 highway. The witness started with a street theater satirizing the "Religion of the Bomb," bringing to light the trust we place in this weapon of mass destruction for our security. In reality this is a form of civil religion and one of the idols of our time.
All were called to join in lamentation to recognize our common complicity:
We have all been part of darkness,
But we are light in the Lord.
Let us live our lives as Children of Light!
Light produces good fruit, the fruit of goodness, justice and truth.
So come out of the darkness, and expose it to the light.
Wake up sleeper, Rise from death,
and the Lord will Shine on you.
From there we transitioned into an ecumenical worship and sharing that lifted up the hope of Resurrection Living. One of the statements read, entitled "Transformation, Not Annihilation,” stated:
"The spirit of Easter has brought us together in hope--hope for life over death. We are here to call for the conversion of this plant from an instrument of war to an instrument of life... We lament this, the first new nuclear weapons production plant in 32 years, which will continue to make 85% of the non nuclear parts for nuclear weapons. We lament that over $815 million of Kansas City municipal bonds—which should be spent on social uplift--is being spent on building this plant. We lament the health risks posed by this plant to its workers and the people and environment of Kansas City. We have hope for the conversion of this plant--we imagine a rebirth where this site would provide beneficial, peaceful and green jobs, such as solar and wind energy jobs.”
After breaking bread, the crowd moved toward the gates of the complex. Some felt let by their conscience to continue "Gospel Obedience" by refusing to leave the road. In all 53 people were arrested and charged with criminal trespass, a city ordinance. Contrary to what was reported in the KC Star newspaper, the majority of people arrested were local, 32 from the home state of Missouri and 17 of those from KC.
15 min - Video of entire action
Cherith Brook Catholic Worker, along with our sister community, Holy Family House Catholic Worker, co-hosted the event. Our theme was, "The Hope of Easter and a Disarmed World." The event began over the weekend and was an inspiring time of worship, clarification of thought and discernment, framed by morning and evening prayers.
At the height of activity over 150 people were present. Though most were from the greater Kansas City area, 20 different Catholic worker communities across the Midwest were also represented.
Art Laffin from the Dorothy Day CW in Washington, DC set the tone for the retreat with his talk that included an inspiring reflection on the Resurrection and Gospel nonviolence, comments on current nuclear policy, and the human and environmental cost of militarism, war and nuclear weapons. It concluded by calling all of us to engage in nonviolent resistance to the Nuclear Empire we live in and to hope for a disarmed world. (see the link for the text to Art's speech)
On Sunday morning, a contingent of 20 retreat-ants held a prayer service at the entrance of the site next to the bill board that read, "Future home of NNSA - National Nuclear Security Administration Campus." Upon our return, we had an ecumenical worship service including Scripture reading, personal responses and Eucharist.
One of the Scriptural themes for the retreat comes from Acts 5:29, when the local powers try to silence the apostles for proclaiming the hope and truth of the resurrection. Peter responds by saying, "We must obey God rather than human authority.” We all consider the power of the resurrection to lay a greater claim on our lives than the false sense of security and idolatry of nuclear weapons.
It is noteworthy that among those arrested include strong representation from the host communities: Rachael Hoffman, Mark Bartholomew, Gina Cook, Robyn Haas, Br. Louis Rodemann, Sr. Theresa Maly, Sr. Mary Cecile Breen of Holy Family House and their extended community.
And Josh Armfield, Eric Garbison, Jodi Garbison, Nick Pickrell, Micah Waters, Elisabeth Rutschman, Sharon Hannah, and Christian Soulliere of Cherith Brook and our extended community.
We encourage each of you to discern ways to become more involved as people of faith in this local effort. How can you help?
- Financial gifts are needed to help defray the cost of our legal fees.
- Become more informed about the issue and then share what you’ve learned with your neighbor.
- Challenge your religious leaders to get involved, become familiar with your church’s teaching on nuclear weapons and bring it before your faith community.
- Get involved in KC Peace Planters, the local grassroots coalition, http://www.peaceworkskc.org/kcplant
- If you’re a KCMO registered voter, participate in the vote on November 8 that will prohibit the production of nuclear weapons components at the new plant.
- And pray, pray, pray…"for the prayers of the faithful availeth much."
Cherith Brook Catholic Worker
National Catholic Reporter news report: