We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II

On the opening of Women's History Month, and inspired by reading the message of Pope Benedict this Lent “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II

Nuns’ Statement Left at Silo N-8

October 6, 2002

Who abides in God’s heart [are]

Those who heal rather than hurt,

And those who love rather than hate…Psalm 15

We women religious, naming ourselves Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II, come to Colorado to unmask the false religion and worship of national security so evident at Buckley AFB in Aurora, the Missile Silos, and in Colorado Springs: Schriever AFB [the space warfare center], the Air Force Space Command Center at Peterson AFB, Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD), and the Air Force Academy. We reject the mission of these along with the US Space Command and Stratcom [formerly SAC] in Omaha, Nebraska.

We come in the name of Truth, ar-Nur, the Light. God alone is master of space, of the heavens that “pour forth speech…There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (PS. 19:2), a voice that proclaims world community, not domination of the world’s economy; peace, not planning for space warfare.

We hope in the light of that world to name things what they are, to unmask the lies, abuses, and racism hidden in the rhetoric of patriotism, security and moral superiority. We reject the US Space Command “Vision for 2020” to dominate space for military operations; to exploit space as a US 4th frontier, making all other nations vulnerable to US conventional and nuclear attacks; to integrate space force for warfighting; to abuse the Aleutian Islands and other lands with interceptors and spy satellites and to waste more billions of dollars and more human and material resources, causing the destruction of earth and the desecration of space.

We walk in the name of the Shepherd, ar-Rashid, the One who leads us on the path to justice for the “have-nots” rather than military power “to deny others the uses of space” and even of their own resources. We walk unafraid.

We trust the Shepherd who is also the Way of active nonviolence and generous sharing that will lead to true security.

We act in the many names of God the Compassionate, ar-Rahim: our Life, our Peace, our Healer to transform swords into plowshares, our violence and greed into care for the whole community of earth and sky, not as masters, but as servants and friends.

We pray in the name of al-Qabid, the One who holds the whole world, who said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name” (Jn. 14:13).

Shalom Salaam Shanti Peace

Carol, Jackie, Anne, Ardeth

Oh, my God, teach me how to be a peacemaker in a hostile world (Ps. 120).

Mid-East Peace Statement of Religious Leaders

National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East

Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace Is More Urgent Than Ever.

Concerned with new challenging developments in the Middle East, as leaders of major Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations inspired by core teachings of our traditions, we affirm with urgency that Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace is more vital than ever. We remain guided by our founding “Principles of Cooperation” in which we acknowledge how our bonds with those on different sides of the conflict sometimes lead to differing viewpoints, and we reemphasize our common agenda for peace. We derive encouragement from benchmark principles developed by Arabs and Israelis in earlier formal and informal negotiations that provide practical parameters for a peace agreement that could be acceptable to majorities of Israelis and Palestinians.

At this time of momentous changes, the drive for Israeli-Palestinian peace must be viewed in the context of:

the hopes and challenges related to the Arab Spring, including concerns for the rights of minorities;

the aftermath of the war in Iraq, including challenges to Iraqi democracy and stability;

the future of Afghanistan as the U.S./NATO role winds down;

tensions in U.S.-Pakistan relations;

the deepening crisis in Syria; and

the dangers of confrontation over Iran’s nuclear development activities.

Appreciating that we are addressing these issues in other forums, we agreed that all of these developments make efforts for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace more, not less, urgent. Anchored in the deep concerns of our religious traditions to respect the hopes and rights of all people to live in peace, we reaffirm our commitment to work together for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, including a negotiated two-state peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. We acknowledge that 2011 was a difficult and frustrating year. While majorities of Israelis and Palestinians continue to long for peace, political problems on both sides inhibit leaders from moving forward. The months ahead, leading up to U.S. national elections, present a special challenge. We urge candidates not to use any rhetoric that

could make prospects for peace more problematic. As Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, we strongly caution candidates to do no harm to chances for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

More specifically, the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East calls on the

Administration, the Congress and candidates for office to support the following steps:

Address warnings to both sides to prevent violence, and undertake diplomatic efforts, in coordination with the

Quartet, to help maintain a durable, effective ceasefire; all attacks on civilians must immediately end;

Continue to support Palestinian state-building and economic development capacity, including immediately lifting

the Congressional hold on humanitarian aid;

Support Palestinian efforts to form a government capable of representing the West Bank and Gaza on the

essential conditions that it agree to halt violence, respect all existing agreements between Israel and the

Palestinian Authority, and negotiate a two-state peace agreement with Israel;

Urge Israel to halt all settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem; and

Urge a resumption of negotiations for a two-state peace agreement, based on U.N. Security Council

Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, and drawing on elements from the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), the unofficial Israeli Peace Initiative (2011), and the Geneva Accord (2003) which might lead to an agreement acceptable to both sides. We believe that U.S. support for these steps is essential to preserving hope for negotiated Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace, and that achieving peace would have profoundly positive effects on other current conflicts and challenges in the Middle East. As national religious leaders, we pledge to urge members of our communities across the country to work actively in the coming months to preserve and further prepare the ground for Middle East peace, and to support positive efforts by political leaders in both parties to help move towards this goal.

Released March 1, 2012

E-Mail: usicpme@aol.com

Website: www.nili-mideastpeace.org

Environmental Working Group and NATO/G8

mostly written by Tanya Kerrsen of Food First.

CANG8 Environmental Working Group – Vision Statement & Call to Action (DRAFT)

We stand in solidarity with rural and urban communities of the global North and South who are exposed to the hazards of climate change; ecological degradation and contamination; and land and resource grabs. We believe in food, resource and climate justice rooted in sustainability and democracy. We call on activists, concerned citizens, farmers, indigenous peoples and environmentalists to join us in Chicago in non-violent protest of the closed-door NATO/G8 summits and to participate in an open, civil society discussion of the G8’s environmental impacts and community-based alternatives.

What is CANG8?
The Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8) is a broad-based coalition of civil society groups—including environmental, interfaith, labor, LGBTQ groups and others—formed in opposition to the NATO/G8 “war and poverty agenda.” Leaders and finance ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) economic powers as well as representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance will be coming together for a private summit in Chicago on May 19–21, 2012. The policy priorities of these two bodies have enormous influence on communities throughout the world, yet their summits are closed to democratic participation. By sponsoring a parallel Peoples’ Summit, rally and march, CANG8 aims to raise the voices of civil society groups to articulate their own needs, experiences and priorities for global development and security.

What is the CANG8 Environmental Working Group?
The CANG8 Environmental Working Group (EWG) was formed to highlight the environmental impacts of G8 policies at the NATO/G8 protests in Chicago. The goal of the EWG is to amplify the voices of affected communities and social movements—locally, nationally and globally—fighting to protect their lands, natural resources and biodiversity from destructive and exploitative development policies. We also seek to help connect the dots between war and militarism; the extractive, expansionist development model; and the global environmental and climate crisis. What CANG8 calls the “war and poverty” agenda is also an agenda of environmental destruction and climate chaos.

As of 2010, the G8 countries represented 51 percent of global energy production, 55 percent of global energy consumption and 42 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Keystone XL pipeline is perhaps the highest profile recent example of the expansion of extractive industries, which is moving increasingly into high-risk environments like the Alberta Tar Sands, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, shale oil and gas fields around the world, and deepwater reserves like the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. Families and children affected by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for natural gas suffer grave illness from water contamination and the destruction of their rural economies based on tourism, agriculture and recreation. Meanwhile, degradation and climate change is devastating millions of livelihoods, particularly in the global South. Indigenous peoples and subsistence farmers face floods, droughts and other extreme weather events. As many as 200 million people will be displaced by worsening natural disasters and climate change. Without a radical change in our global energy use and economic system, such “climate chaos” is expected to worsen, with devastating consequences for the world’s most vulnerable people. The global climate crisis requires that we rethink “business as usual,” respect natural limits to economic growth, and rebuild sustainable local economies.

We denounce…

Resource wars waged over the control of land, water, minerals, oil, gas and other natural resources. [In Africa, for instance, over 35 million hectares (86m acres) of prime farmland and forests have been violently grabbed for export production or land speculation since 2008.] We strongly condemn the forced displacement and military and police repression of communities struggling to defend their lands and resources.

Free trade agreements that open the door to the unfettered corporate exploitation of natural resources; destroy locally-based economies and food systems; and promote a corporate “race to the bottom” towards countries (and “free trade zones”) with lower or non-existent environmental and labor regulations.

False solutions to climate change that allow the biggest polluters to pay their way out of genuinely reducing emissions and other environmental impacts. While we recognize the good faith efforts of some corporations to “green” their supply chains, we reject sustainability certifications based only on voluntary compliance, which are difficult to enforce and leave large gaps for abuse. [We reject agricultural biofuels as a false solution to climate change and energy security that is leading to deforestation, human rights abuses, increased GHG emissions and rising food prices, especially in the global South.]

We support…

Community-oriented sustainable development that promotes local, democratic control over resources; provides high quality, living wage jobs; supports workers and immigrant rights; reduces energy consumption; and contributes positively to community wellbeing. We support private businesses—[as well as cooperatives, public enterprises and other economic models]—that place people and ecosystems before profits.

A binding climate agreement in which G8 countries live up to their historical responsibility for global climate change and commit to legally binding obligations to dramatically cut GHG emissions, without conditions or mechanisms that allow big polluters to evade regulations. Climate commitments must also include support for poor countries and vulnerable communities to build sustainable, climate resilient economies.

Peoples’ right to food sovereignty, meaning the right of rural and urban communities to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. Food sovereignty means protecting food-producing resources from agrochemicals, GMOs and other industrial technologies that in the long term deplete soil, pollute water, reduce biodiversity, contaminate native seeds and worsen climate change.

Call to Action
We believe that the current environmental crisis requires a broad convergence of social movements to demand environmental regulations and meaningful climate commitments, especially from the world’s most powerful countries. We call on activists and communities, rural and urban, North and South, to join the EWG in protest of the May 2012 NATO/G8 summits in Chicago and participate in an inclusive, civil society discussion of the environmental impacts of G8 policies. Activities will include workshops, alliance-building sessions, non-violent protest and special events TBD.