Lenten Vigil at BIW

On Saturday April 6 th , members of Pax Christi Maine participated in the Lenten vigil at Bath Iron Works hosted by Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm in Hope. The vigil, which has been held during Lent and Advent for over 15 years, is a nonviolent action protesting the building of the Aegis destroyers at BIW, weapons of mass destruction that bring death and environmental destruction to many parts of the world. In recent years, activist efforts have been focused on urging BIW to convert to the manufacture of wind turbines, solar panels, high speed trains and other products that would improve life for our communities. Others at the vigil were members of Veterans for Peace, the Quaker community, Global Network, COAST, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace & Justice, Maine Natural Guard and so on. The ‘christening’ of the latest destroyer, the L.B.J., will be held on Saturday April 27 th at BIW. People of faith and conscience are encouraged to come to witness as several courageous peace activists will engage in civil disobedience. Please consider participating at BIW or leading a local gathering to bring much needed attention to the vast amount of tax dollars diverted for warship, leaving inadequate funding of education, childcare, healthcare, and basic income benefits for people living in poverty.

Build For Life

Letter to the Editor – Bangor Daily News

April 2. 2019
On April 27 th , the third Zumwalt destroyer built at Bath Iron Works (BIW) will be “christened”. The USS
LBJ joins a warship fleet larger than the next 13 fleets combined. Indeed, the US outmatches the next 20
largest navies in firepower and spends more on the military than the next seven biggest spending
countries. Our military budget has skyrocketed since 9/11, when President Bush declared the global
“War on Terror”. But can we honestly say that we’ve become safer as a result? Have our lives
improved? Have we become better citizens of the world?
The Costs of War project housed at the Watson Institute of Public Affairs at Brown University has
researched and collected data since 2011 with a goal of detailing the overall costs of the United States’
decision to respond militarily to the 9/11 attacks. Their findings can be found at
https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/about. They are disturbing and shocking to say the least, but as
responsible citizens of this country we need to be aware of what is being done in our names: more than
480,000 dead; 244,000 civilians killed; 21 million war refugees and displaced persons.
Equally devastating are the direct and indirect effects of war on our planet. For we are in the midst of a
climate crisis that is fueled by U.S. foreign policy. The scientific community has helped us understand
that a major cause of global warming is burning fossil fuels. And the Pentagon itself has stated that
climate change poses “immediate risks” to national security and is a “threat multiplier.” Yet at the same
time, the Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint on the planet. It generates more than 70% of total
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and it uses more oil than all the oil consumed by 175 countries
Sadly, the warships built at BIW contribute to the upheaval and destruction of human communities and
of our planet. In her letter of 3/28/19, Carolyn Coe writes “Converting BIW from building weapons of
war to green technologies would benefit BIW workers and people worldwide.” I couldn’t agree more.
We are so fortunate to have here in Maine the highly skilled men and women who work at BIW.
Imagine what they could accomplish if they were able to build for life and not for death.

Connie Jenkins, East Blue Hill
Pax Christi Maine member

Faith leaders, peace practitioners deepen Church’s commitment to nonviolence and peace

From Pax Christi International:

6 April 2019
Vatican City – On 4-5 April, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative organised a workshop on the theme, “Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace.”
With a consideration and understanding of current situations of conflict and violence, participants engaged in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence. They noted that nonviolence is not only a method but a way of life, a way to protect and care for the conditions of life for today and tomorrow.
“Our conversations on nonviolence and peace filled our hearts and minds with a consideration of the dignity of each person – young people, women and men, people who are impoverished, citizens and leaders,” said Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery. “Nonviolence and peace call us to a conversion to receive and to give, to gather and to hope.”

“Pax Christi International deeply appreciates the support and participation of the Dicastery in this workshop, which has been a significant and positive step in the work of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative,” said Marie Dennis, Co-president of Pax Christi International. “We are touched by the interventions from all the participants, who reiterated the importance of nonviolence rooted in respect, patience and spiritual strength.”
Workshop participants hailed from Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Uganda, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Fiji, South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Palestine, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, and included Bishops, Archbishops, peace practitioners, theologians, social scientists, educators and those in pastoral ministry. In addition, the Dicastery’s Prefect Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) was present, as was Cardinal Joseph Tobin (Newark, New Jersey, USA).
Participants will continue their dialogue and research; their reflections will be shared with the Holy Father, with the hope for a possible encyclical that will address these issues and challenges and will promote nonviolent initiatives as a way for mediation, rights, hope and love.

“We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace that is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skills.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudate et Exultate, 19 March 2018)