Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . . Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Nuns, Priests and the Bomb Panel Discussion

Nuns, Priests, and the Bomb is a Helen Young documentary that follows several activists, including 82-year-old Sister Meghan Rice, who risked long jail terms in their efforts to move the world away from the nuclear brink. This film follows two cases: the July 2012 break-in at the site known as America’s “Fort Knox of Uranium” in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the 2009 Plowshares action at a US naval base near Seattle, Washington. It follows the activists’ legal efforts to justify their actions under international law and highlights the power of their moral conviction. 

The breach in security was the only concern of a congressional hearing that followed the incident at Oak Ridge. International law that prohibits the production of weapons resulting in indiscriminatory casualties was not addressed.  Neither was it in the courts, which prohibited any evidence backing the contention or the motives of the protestors. 

A question that surrounded the trials and stiff sentences for the protestors was also posed to the panel that followed the screening of the film. Does “blind justice” rule out any consideration of the morality behind creating, stockpiling, and updating weapons that could annihilate Earth? The courts said “yes,” as did the lawyer on the panel who himself agreed that nuclear weapons should not exist. He asked if it was possible to maintain any sense of order if the morality of a law or action could be argued in a trial situation.  An audience member suggested that perhaps our justice system needs a “little chaos” to raise awareness about its shortcomings.  

When asked if she thought that their act of civil disobedience had any impact, Sister Meghan said that she did not know, but perhaps its impact was yet to come.  What do you think?  Is it time for another protest action?

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