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Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again.

Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again. America Magazine,  Kevin Clarke, August 06, 2021  Steve Kelly, S.J., is trying to remain “discreet” about his precise whereabouts just now—it seems there is a warrant out for his arrest. He had already explained to the judge who freed him in April after nearly three years behind bars: He had—and has—no intention of cooperating with any of the stipulations of his supervised release. It took him no time at all to begin pushing against those stipulations.

He was ordered to report at a federal probation office within 72 hours of his release. He has not done so. It is the kind of obstinance that is likely to get a fellow sent back to jail sometime. Father Kelly is on probation after serving time for his most recent acts of civil disobedience in protest of the U.S. nuclear weapons regime

If he is “just incidentally arrested” at a demonstration or picked up during a traffic stop, he expects to be dragged back to a Georgia federal court, where he would face an additional four to 15 months behind bars. Father Kelly seems completely at peace with the prospect.

“I kind of make like a monk when I’m in jail,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to be in there for life, of course, but it’s not a big price to pay, at least for myself.”

A member of Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Father Kelly was convicted for his part in a protest at the Kings Bay Navy base in St. Marys, Ga., home port for six of America’s 14 Ohio-class nuclear submarines. These each carry 24 Trident nuclear ballistic missiles.

If he is “just incidentally arrested” at a demonstration or picked up during a traffic stop, he expects to be dragged back to a Georgia federal court, where he would face an additional four to 15 months behind bars. Father Kelly seems completely at peace with the prospect.

“I kind of make like a monk when I’m in jail,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to be in there for life, of course, but it’s not a big price to pay, at least for myself.”

Wire-cutting in Georgia

He recalls that “the bunker is lit up and double-fenced and guard-towered like a prison…[and] patrolled by Marines with lethal mandates.”Instead of receiving a reward for revealing the incredibly poor security at one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons storage sites, they were promptly arrested.

Like other Kings Bay Plowshares 7 protesters, Father Kelly declined to apply for bail, waiting behind bars for trial. That meant at his sentencing in Octoberhe was released for time served.

Among the court orders he is ignoring, Father Kelly is declining to pay his share of $33,000 in restitution ordered for the damage at the submarine base: “Why would we want to pay for such idolatry?” he asks. “I’m indigent and I’m itinerant, so I’m just not going to allow donated money to pay for nuclear weapons.”

Paying the restitution and accepting the court supervision seem the path of least resistance. Why risk the additional jail time?

“This is the same authority that has been legitimizing nuclear weapons, so I just cannot in conscience cooperate,” he says.

“My beef is with the U.S. policy of nuclear weapons, so I am a political prisoner. Now, I’m not going to be recognized as a political prisoner by the Bureau of Prisons, nor the executive branch, probably by any branch of the U.S. government, but I still have to assert that; I have to humanize myself,” Father Kelly says.

“I assert my innocence; I assert the political nature of it, and I’m a conscientious objector to all that nuclear weapons represent.”  https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2021/08/06/kings-bay-plowshares-nuclear-weapons-jesuit-steve-kelly-240988

August 7, 2021 - Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war

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