Obama’s Nobel War speech: What if?

Keep watching Mark Van’s “Jesus Manifesto” for the unedited cut but in the mean time,

Over at Jim Wallis blog God’s Politics I’ve been asking “What if” Obama took a different direction at Oslo


click on the text to read full article and view Cornel West video:

This got me thinking, “What if.” What if instead of Reinhold Niebuhr being Obama’s favorite theologian, it were Martin King, Dorothy Day, or John Yoder? What if Obama, like Gandhi and King, looked to Jesus’ example not as an ideal but as a practical program for transformation? What if Obama had made a study of the few places nonviolence was tried against Hitler (like in Denmark) and successfully halted Hitler’s armies and saved the lives of 7,000 Jews? What if instead of merely quoting the Balkans, Obama made a real study of the nonviolent movement “Otpor!” that brought down Slobodan Milosevic? What if Obama fought terrorism by taking the billions in his war budget (which exceeds that of George W. Bush), and invested it in grassroots community development, health care, and education in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq (and at home)? What if Obama saw what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the love ethic of Jesus” as the pragmatic and realistic way forward? What if a head of state could risk being guided by Christ’s example embodied by Gandhi and King?

Angie O’Gorman wowing audiences

From Brisbane to Ballina, Lismore to Byron Bay,  lecturer, author and practitioner of active nonviolence, Angie O’Gorman is wowing audiences where ever she goes.  Sharing ancient mythology creation story and modern understandings of scriptural text have people  excitedly seeking and deepening their own jouney into the sprituality of nonviolence. One of many highlights for a woman of the Ba’Hai tradition at the interfaith dialogue in Brisbane was for the first time hearing what Jesus really meant when he told people to turn the other cheek. This is the same experience for many christian partcipants who find them selves asking ‘why aren’t we hearing this from the pulpit?’

Angie is helping us to understand the need for our own disarmament and place of centering and to understand what real power is and how we can create and use that in our own lives. She manges to do all of this  with strength, sensitivity, compassion and a great sense of humour.

Pace e Bene Australia has shared Angie’s own personal story of a nonviolent response to personal assault for many years and it has certainly been a blessing to have her as our Inspirator for 2009. Audiences in Sth. Australia and Victoria have a lot to look forward to.

Great videos from the Peace Convergence

Report by Peace Journalist Jake Lynch, Director of the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

The Bonhoeffer 4 by Julian Masters

WIN News Report of 7 protesters entering the war games site, followed by footage of them explaining their action

Pace e Bene supports peacemakers at Talisman Sabre

Pace e Bene Australia supports the actions of the Bonhoeffer 4, Catholic Workers and Pax Christi Activists

The Bonhoeffer 4 inside the war games site
The Bonhoeffer 4 inside the war games site

Four nonviolent Christian activists, Margaret Pestorius, Jarrod McKenna, Jessica Morrison  and Rev. Simon Moyle, calling themselves the Bonhoeffer 4, entered the Shoalwater Bay Training Area about 6 am on 13 July 2009. Their intention was to disrupt the Talisman Sabre 09 joint military exercises between the United States and Australia by entering the live-free zone. Jarrod and Simon are members of Pace e Bene Australia.

They were found and arrested at 2.30 pm on 14 July. All four have been charged with trespass and Simon and Jessica have additionally been charged with obstruction of police.

Jim Dowling and Ciaron O’Reilly, members of the Australian Catholic Workers, were arrested on 9 July for blockading military access to the road to the Talisman Sabre 09 area.

Frank Vavasour, a member of Pax Christi in Sydney, was arrested on 12 July, when he attempted to scale the fence of the Rockhampton military barracks, but was later released without charge.

>more information and updates

Bonhoeffer 4 statement

In his article in the Monthly, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Bonhoeffer “without a doubt, the man I admire most in the history of the twentieth century.” We have taken the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, because he embodied a serious, costly commitment to peacemaking and ending injustice, “a costly grace”. Yet Rudd’s $100 billion long-term military spending plan reveals the Prime Minister has forgotten his hero and is in need of some sisters and brothers to jog his memory.

3 of the Bonhoeffer 4 on the road inside the site
3 of the Bonhoeffer 4 on the road inside the site

That is why we will put our own bodies on the line in order to stop the U.S./ Australian Talisman Saber Military Exercises and jam a spoke in the wheel of war.  These exercises are implicated in killing and injuring our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including untold numbers of civilians. This “war without end”, as George Bush put it, has no exit strategy and no end in sight.  We will not overcome the violent terrorism of the poor with the violent terrorism of the rich.

Rev. Moyle has been in contact with the Defence Department about our plans for more than 7 months in order to build a relationship of trust and openness.  Air Commander Meier has stated in Parliament, “If we know there is an unauthorised person into the Commonwealth land at Shoalwater Bay…the exercise is stopped.”  The Defence Department has been notified of our presence on the base. We call on Air Commander Meier to keep his word to the Australian people.

We plan to be inside the area for as long as possible, and are well prepared for a long stay.

As Rudd’s hero Bonhoeffer put it, “The church has three possible ways it can act against the State.  First, it can ask the State if its actions are legitimate.  Second, it can aid the victims of the State action… The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself.” With our actions and our lives we plan to do all three.

Talisman Sabre 2009

As many as 30,000 US and Australian defence force personal are currently ‘playing war games’ in our backyard and they are under the command of the US military. They are practising games of mass destruction on land, sea and air. Their future targets will be in Afghanistan and Pakistan and probably any where else that becomes the next labelled enemy of the ‘free’ world. Many of these targets will  be the innocent children, families and elderly who have no where to flee. Yes the military will be sorry for the collateral damage, but not sorry enough to find a different way to deal with conflict.

Here in Queensland live firing, and bombing will take place in the tranquil waters and bush of  Shoalwater Bay . Members of Pace e Bene Australia, Simon Moyle and Jarrod McKenna, plus other long time peace activists have gone to Shoalwater Bay to stop these exercises. They risk physical harm and imprisonment for their actions. These modern prophets of peace are formed by their belief in a God of nonviolence and compassion and the exemplary life of Jesus. Each of these men and women are also influenced by the lives of other great prophets for peace. I for one will look forward to hearing  their stories of courage as they do their part to stop these ‘war games’ and bring about the kin dom of God.

I know from todays ABC radio news that they managed to stop 5 trucks from entering the training grounds. Jim Dowling and Ciaron O’Reilley were arrested for nonviolent resistance and will face court on Thursday. I pray for their safety and well being and thank them for their loving witness.