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Catholic peace activists may face 25 years’prison, for breaking into a nuclear submarine base

These Catholics broke into a nuclear base. Now they’re asking a judge to drop the charges. Religion News Service, by Yonat Shimron, August 7, 2019  — Seven Catholic peace activists who broke into a nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga., last year stood before a federal judge Wednesday (Aug. 7) to argue that the charges against them should be dismissed.

The activists, known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, are charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor and face up to 25 years in prison each for trespassing on the U.S. Navy base that houses six Trident submarines carrying hundreds of nuclear weapons.

A crowd of about 100 people that included the actor Martin Sheen packed the three-hour hearing in Brunswick, Ga., as the seven and their lawyers made their case before U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood.

The defendants, mostly middle-aged or elderly, are residents of Catholic Worker houses, a collection of 200 independent houses across the country that feed and house the poor. As the hearing began, several were in the middle of a four-day liquid-only fast to mark the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Kings Bay 7 are part of a 39-year-old anti-nuclear movement called Plowshares, inspired by the pacific prediction of the biblical prophet Isaiah that the nations of the world shall “beat their swords into plowshares.” Its activists have made a signature of breaking into nuclear weapons bases to hammer on buildings and military hardware and pour human blood on them. …….

The group individually and through its lawyers are using a novel defense: the Religion Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 federal law that says the government may not burden the faith practices of a person with sincerely held religious beliefs……

Three of the defendants, the Rev. Steve Kelly, Elizabeth McAlister and Mark Colville, have been in jail since the break-in last year. They declined to accept the conditions of the bail — an ankle monitor and $50,000 bail — and have remained in the Glynn County Detention Center.

Ira Lupu, professor emeritus of law at the George Washington University Law School, said he had great respect and admiration for the Plowshares’ actions but suspected they would not win a dismissal of their charges……

The judge is expected to issue an opinion in a few weeks on whether the case should proceed to a trial. https://religionnews.com/2019/08/07/these-catholics-broke-into-a-nuclear-base-now-theyre-asking-a-judge-to-drop-the-charges/

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August 8, 2019 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Churches aim for joint church action to end nuclear energy

International forum calls for joint church action to end nuclear energy development https://www.anglicannews.org/news/2019/07/international-forum-calls-for-joint-church-action-to-end-nuclear-energy-development.aspx: July 26, 2019 [ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] An international forum set up by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) – the Anglican Communion in Japan – has issued a statement this week calling for denuclearisation and for churches to join in the campaign for natural energy.

The statement, following a gathering in May, says: “the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster and subsequent damage which occurred as a result of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake completely shattered the myth of safety and made us aware of the extreme danger of nuclear power generation.”

It states that as long as nuclear power generation is operative, it continues to create dangerous radioactive waste and there is a risk that the technology can at any time be diverted to nuclear weapons and threaten the right to live in peace.

It continues: “no longer should we continue as a society with the economic priority of reliance upon nuclear power generation; we should take a new path, of course practicing power saving and energy conservation, and we should make policy changes to renewable energy . . . Also, we have recognised that, when a nuclear power plant accident occurs, it is irreparable, and is more hazardous than with any other energy source. While on the one hand, grave effects remain now, after eight years have passed, with the passage of time we have become forgetful of the pain and suffering of those afflicted by the disaster.” Continue reading

July 27, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons

 

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY STOP BLESSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS    https://futurism.com/the-byte/russian-orthodox-blessing-nuclear-weapons   JULY 10TH 19__DAN ROBITZSKI 

A faction of clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church wants to end the eyebrow-raising practice of blessing the country’s nuclear missiles.

First of all, yes: Russian priests currently sprinkle holy water on nuclear missiles as part of an old tradition in which Orthodox priests bless soldiers and their weapons, reports Religion News Service. But that may change, as some priests feel that intercontinental ballistic missiles belong in a different category from individual firearms.

Faith Militant

The Russian military and the Russian Orthodox church have long worked hand in hand, according to RNS, framing many of the country’s military conflicts as holy wars. The nuclear arsenal even has its own patron saint — RNS reports that St. Seraphim’s remains were found in a Russian town that housed several nuclear facilities.

As such, the push to stop blessing nukes faces strong opposition among members of the clergy, such as the high-ranking priest Vsevolod Chaplin, who referred to the country’s nukes as “guardian angels.”

“Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West,” Chaplin once said, per RNS.

Changing Hearts

One priest, Dmitry Tsorionov, parted from the more militant aspects of the Orthodox Church after seeing men willingly sign up to fight Russia’s wars “under the banner of Christ,” he told RNS. Now he wants to see less warmongering among the clergy.

“It was not uncommon to see how church functionaries openly flirted with these toxic ideas,” he told RNS. “It was only then that I finally realized what the blessing of military hardware leads to.”

July 13, 2019 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Unrepentant, Catholic anti-nuclear activists face gaol for breaking into a nuclear base

July 13, 2019 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fire on Russian nuclear submarine: heroic crew prevented nuclear catastrophe.

Russia’s nuclear submarine disaster will test President Vladimir Putin and his navy. ABC News, By Alexey Muraviev  4 July 19, Russia’s Ministry of Defence has officially acknowledged an incident this week with one of its deep-submergence vehicles (DSV) within Russian territorial waters.

The incident seems to point to one of Russia’s most closely guarded naval assets — the Project 10831 AS-31 (AS-12) Kalitka (Norsub-5), more commonly known as Losharik.

It is named after a popular Soviet cartoon character because of its design specifications — a series of titanium spheres under the hull designed to withstand extreme water pressure.

A secret assignment    According to the latest reports, all those killed onboard were assigned to a secret naval unit stationed in St Petersburg, which is responsible for operations of Project 18510 Nel’ma (X-Ray) “autonomous deep-sea stations” — Russia’s official description of the DSV-type platforms — the AS-21 and the AS-35.

However, the declared number of casualties and the seniority of the deceased personnel is unclear. It is assumed the tragedy occurred onboard the AS-12, which has an estimated crew of some 25 officers.

All these special-purpose submarines are assigned to the 29th “deep water” Submarine Division based at the Gadzhievo submarine base on the Kola peninsula.

Formally assigned to the Russian Northern Fleet, the “deep-water” submarine division is under the direct control of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s GUGI Directorate, which oversees covert marine and naval activities ranging from deep-sea oceanographic research to covert testing of advanced sea-based combat systems, to undersea special operations.

Covert trials of a nuclear-armed torpedo?   While official word suggests the submarine was undertaking scanning of the seabed in one sector of the Barents Sea, the actual mission being undertaken may be different.It is possible the submarine was taking part in the covert sea trials of the Poseidon sub-sea strategic combat system (a large calibre nuclear torpedo) .

The tragedy would be the first reported large-scale fatality sustained by GUGI’s secret force.

But it cannot be compared with previous disasters involving Russian nuclear-powered submarines such as the RFS Kursk Oscar II class catastrophe back in 2000 or the incident onboard RFS Nerpa Akula IIclass back in 2008.

This disaster has happened within a unit designed specifically to operate in extreme physical environments where the safety and professionalism of the crew is a key to survival and success.

The crew comprises only middle-to-senior rank officers…….

Was a nuclear disaster averted?

It is understood that the fire onboard led to the fatal intoxication of more than half of the crew — about 14 out of some 25 onboard — and serious injuries of another four or five onboard.

Any submariner would concur that a fire onboard a submarine on deployment poses a serious risk. Fire onboard a nuclear-powered submarine is even worse.

While it is unknown what triggered that fatal fire, a mechanical failure or a human error, the fact is clear: the crew, at the cost of their lives, prevented a potentially major environmental disaster if the DSV had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, or exploded…… https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-03/russias-nuclear-submarine-disaster-test-vladimir-putin-navy/11274964

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

A grandmother explains the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Our Future || Caring for planet is a moral responsibility  https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6244511/caring-for-planet-is-a-moral-responsibility/?cs=14246 Thea Ormerod, 30 June 19   

July 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear weapons and the religious connection

BLESSED BE THY NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE RISE OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR ORTHODOXY, War on the Rocks, MICHAEL KOFMAN     June 21  2019 Dmitry Adamsky, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy (Stanford University Press, 2019).

Russia’s Federal Nuclear Center, the All-Russian Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF), recently placed a somewhat unusual government tender: It is seeking a supplier of religious icons with the images of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Saint Fedor Ushakov. Meanwhile, a private foundation, backed by President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, has been gathering funds to build a massive temple to the Russian Armed Forces at Patriot Park,. Artisans are crafting a new icon for the temple, while the steps are to be made from melted-down Nazi equipment captured by the Red Army in World War II.

Viewed in isolation, these may seem to be the occasional eccentric habits of a latter-day authoritarian state. However, Dima Adamsky’s new book, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy, demonstrates convincingly that there are indeed important signs being missed all around us, pointing to a longstanding nexus between the Russian Orthodox Church and the country’s nuclear-military-industrial complex.

Adamsky’s groundbreaking book lays out the largely unstudied history of how a nuclear priesthood emerged in Russia, permeated the units and commands in charge of Russia’s nuclear forces, and became an integral part of the nuclear weapons industry. Continue reading

June 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, Reference, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

Chernobyl ‘suicide divers’ saved Europe from nuclear devastation

Selfless Chernobyl ‘suicide divers’ saved Europe from nuclear devastation. Mirror UK , 16 June 19

The world held its breath as the brave volunteers risked it all to but to prevent a second huge explosion.  he world owes him an eternal debt, but for Chernobyl hero Alexei Ananenko, it was just part of the job.Engineer Alexei was one of three men who volunteered to wade through radioactive water to prevent a second cataclysmic explosion at the stricken nuclear reactor.

They were dubbed “suicide divers” over the perilous mission.

Decked from head to toe in protective clothing, they descended into the bowels of Reactor 4 on a doomsday mission as the world held its breath.

Their heroism gripped viewers of Sky Atlantic drama Chernobyl. But with great understatement, 60-year-old Alexei insisted last night: “It’s nothing to brag about. Why should I feel a hero?

“I was on duty and it was my job. I was trained in what to do.”………

Experts believed that if 185 tons of molten nuclear lava hit the water below it would cause a radioactive steam explosion of 3-5 megatons – so massive that it would leave much of Europe uninhabitable for 500,000 years. Alexei was one of the few employees who knew where the latches and valves were located to drain water from the coolant system.

He, senior engineer Valeri Bespalov and shift supervisor Boris Baranov were tasked with turning them off.

Firefighters drained a huge volume of water so the men would not have to swim, but they were still forced to walk through radioactive fluid three metres below ground level.

The image of them carrying search lights as they wade through a toxic soup is captured in the TV drama…….

After the explosion a cloud of radioactive strontium, caesium and plutonium affected mainly the Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus, as well as parts of Russia and Europe. Between 1987 and 1990, 530,000 workers – known as liquidators and conscripted from across the USSR – worked in and around Chernobyl to clear up the toxic mess. ……….. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/selfless-chernobyl-suicide-divers-saved-16523155

June 17, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Religion and ethics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

How Russia’s nuclear industry co-opted religion

How the Russian Church Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russian-federation/2019-06-14/how-russian-church-learned-stop-worrying-and-love-bomb

Orthodoxy’s Influence on Moscow’s Nuclear Complex

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Reference, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Voices of Fukushima power plant disaster victims strengthens call to ban nuclear energy, ACNS Anglican News Service June 6, 2019  by Rachel Farmer Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan, last week. A joint statement from the forum, due out next month, is expected to strengthen the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy and encourage churches to join in the campaign.

The forum, organised by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) – the Anglican Communion in Japan – follows the NSKKs General Synod resolution in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear power plants and activities to help the world go nuclear free.

The disaster in 2011 followed a massive earthquake and tsunami which caused a number of explosions in the town’s coastal nuclear power station and led to widespread radioactive contamination and serious health and environmental effects. The Chair of the forum’s organising committee, Kiyosumi Hasegawa, said: “We have yet to see an end to the damage done to the people and natural environment by the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I do think this man-made disaster will haunt countless people for years to come. We still see numerous people who wish to go back to their hometowns but are unable to. We also have people who have given up on ever going home.”

One pastor, Dr Naoya Kawakami, whose church was affected by the tsunami and is the General Secretary of the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network, Touhoku HELP, explained how he had supported sufferers in the aftermath and heard from priests supporting the survivors. He said: “I have been more than 700 times to meet with more than 180 mothers and about 20 fathers, all of whom have seen abnormalities in their children since 2011. . . Thyroid cancer has been found in more than 273 children and many mothers are in deep anxiety.

“The more the situation worsens, the more pastors become aware of their important role. The role is to witness . . . pastors who have stayed in Fukushima with the ‘voiceless survivors’ are showing us the church as the body of Jesus’s resurrection, with wounds and weakness . . . sufferers are usually in voiceless agony and most people never hear them.”

The forum was attended by bishops, clergy and lay representatives from each diocese, together with representatives from the US-based Episcopal Church, USPG, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the Diocese of Taiwan, the Anglican Church of Korea, and also ecumenical guests. International experts took part, along with local clergy who shared individual stories from those directly affected by the disaster……….https://www.anglicannews.org/news/2019/06/voices-of-fukushima-power-plant-explosion-victims-strengthens-call-to-ban-nuclear-energy.aspx

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear envoys from Japan, U.S., South Korea discuss North Korea during trilateral meeting in Singapore

June 1, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Church should oppose nuclear waste in Utah   

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

240 shrines within 20 K of Fukushima reactor 1, so a move to build a new shrine

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

The bizarre Westminster Abbey glorification of nuclear weapons

Why is Westminster Abbey about to hold a bizarre thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons?  https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nuclear-weapons-westminster-abbey-cnd-bruce-kent-church-a8893106.html 1 May 19
We are told that nuclear weapons and their deterrent effect have kept the peace. What peace?  
Bruce Kent @CNDuk   There is to be a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 3 May in celebration of 50 years of submarine nuclear weaponry. Two hundred Anglican clerics have publicly condemned the service – in their view it should not go ahead because it is at odds with church policy to “work tirelessly” for a world free of nuclear weapons.

I think they’re right and the Abbey has got this very wrong. These submarines are nuclear weapon submarines. Their crews, trained to obey orders, are ready to fire missiles whose warheads will bring destruction to faraway places and people far beyond the scale of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

My opposition to potential war crimes of this magnitude will motivate me to join a vigil outside the Abbey. I do not blame the sailors. The history of nuclear weaponry has been from the beginning one of deceit.

We were, and are, told that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the only way to end the Second World War. Not true. The Japanese leadership, ready to surrender, were looking for one guarantee – that the position of the Emperor would not be challenged in any surrender settlement and that he would not be prosecuted. That was just what was given by General MacArthur but only after the bombs were dropped. Why were they dropped then? As a warning to the Soviets and to see if they “worked”? Probably.

We are never told about the few scientists, like Professor Joseph Rotblat, then in Los Alamos, who refused to continue to work on the bomb once he knew how it was to be used. He was sent back to Britain in 1944 in disgrace.

Not many church voices in this country were raised in opposition at the use of these bombs. One was that of Cuthbert Thickness, the Dean of St Albans Abbey. When he was supposed to have rung the bells in thanksgiving, he said in August 1945 “I cannot honestly give thanks to God for an event brought about by the wrong use of force, by an act of wholesale indiscriminate massacre, different in kind over all other acts of open warfare hitherto, however brutal and hideous.”

There were however strong military voices in opposition, to which little attention has been paid. General Eisenhower for instance had this to say: “Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

We are told now that nuclear weapons and deterrence have kept the peace. What peace?

The list of post-1945 wars runs to several pages and the global military budget is nearly $2tn. If this claim means we have not had a nuclear war then I think we should listen to Robert McNamara, erstwhile US secretary of defense, who said, late in life, that we were saved not by our good judgement but by “good luck”. He had in mind the many accidents and misunderstandings which have dogged our nuclear weapon world.

In 1968 we signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and promised in “good faith” to work for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Yet almost 50 years later we are now spending over £200bn on yet another nuclear weapons system (also entirely dependent on a regular loan of US missiles) to replace Trident.

Surely it is time to start spending our billions not on weapons of mass murder but on our NHS, pensions, welfare and real peace-making initiatives, here and abroad.

There is now a UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons just waiting for more signatory states to give it the force of law. Britain should sign it and lead the world towards a nuclear-free future.

In these dangerous times, when the threat of nuclear war is growing rather than receding, a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey for the so-called nuclear “deterrent” is the last thing we need.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK | Leave a comment

Anglican Church angry about ‘Thanksgiving’ service for nuclear weapons at Westminster Abbey

International outcry at ‘Thanksgiving’ service for nuclear weapons at Westminster Abbey ww.ekklesia.co.uk/node/28146, By agency reporter. APRIL 28, 2019, The international Anglican Communion has expressed widespread concern about the upcoming ‘National Service of Thanksgiving’ for nuclear weapons, which is being held at Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May 2019.

More than 175 Anglican clergy members have signed a statement, coordinated by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Christian CND), calling for the service to be stopped. The signatories to the statement come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They include eight current or former bishops.Christian CND commended the Church of England for overwhelmingly passing a motion at General Synod in 2018 which noted that nuclear weapons have “indiscriminate and destructive potential” which urges Anglicans to “work tirelessly for their elimination across the world”.

Martin Tiller, Co-Chair of Christian CND said, “Christians around the world will find this service, described by the Royal Navy as a ‘celebration’, to be completely inappropriate. For centuries, Christians have been praying for peace, and we simply do not accept that a so-called ‘nuclear deterrent’ is God’s answer to that prayer. The huge support for our The international Anglican Communion has expressed widespread concern about the upcoming ‘National Service of Thanksgiving’ for nuclear weapons, which is being held at Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May 2019.

More than 175 Anglican clergy members have signed a statement, coordinated by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Christian CND), calling for the service to be stopped. The signatories to the statement come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They include eight current or former bishops.Christian CND commended the Church of England for overwhelmingly passing a motion at General Synod in 2018 which noted that nuclear weapons have “indiscriminate and destructive potential” which urges Anglicans to “work tirelessly for their elimination across the world”.

Martin Tiller, Co-Chair of Christian CND said, “Christians around the world will find this service, described by the Royal Navy as a ‘celebration’, to be completely inappropriate. For centuries, Christians have been praying for peace, and we simply do not accept that a so-called ‘nuclear deterrent’ is God’s answer to that prayer. The huge support for our petition and clergy statement demonstrates that many, many other Christians agree with us.”

The Rt Rev Andrew Hedge, Bishop of Waipu, New Zealand said,”New Zealand has a proud record of being opposed to nuclear weapons and has already ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I welcome the motion passed by Church of England General Synod in support of the Treaty, and believe that the witness of the church needs to be invested in working to bring about a nuclear weapons-free world. Recognition of the long-standing commitment of the naval submariners to vigilant patrol is laudable; however, the idea of aligning that celebration with the threat of potential indiscriminate destruction through the use of nuclear weapons is completely counter to the witness of the Church in the proclamation of the gospel.”

Christian CND will be taking part in an alternative witness outside Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May, gathering at 11:30 for reflection and prayer before the witness begins at 12 noon. The witness will be inter-denominational with Methodist, Quaker, Catholic and Anglican representation. The witness is being supported by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, Pax Christi, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, the National Peace and Justice Network, Church and Peace and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

* Read the statement and a full list of signatories here

* Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament http://christiancnd.org.uk/

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment