Invitation to Beale on Good Friday

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly

I don’t usually post announcements and logistical information on my blog, but our coming Good Friday service at Beale needs a prominent place where people can find it easily.  So here it is!

You are invited to join a group of peacemakers on Good Friday, April 18 at 3 p.m., as we gather at the Main Gate of Beale Air Force Base, in the shadow of killer drones, modern day equivalents of the cross.  Internationally recognized peace activist Kathy Kelly, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, will join us there.  Kathy has a new post up on CounterPunch today, titled “We Don’t Want You to Swim in the River.

There have been frequent anti-drone demonstrations at Beale, home of the Global Hawk Drone, a  surveillance drone that assists in finding targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones.    We will gather to pray, to act, and to build a community of peace.   All people, regardless of spiritual or philosophical perspective, are welcome to join us.

1)  Prayer Service:  The prayer service will include songs, prayer, Holy Communion, and reflections by Kathy Kelly.  It can get hot in the sun, so bring folding chairs, hats, and/or sunscreen.   The following clergy will lead the service:

The Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, former U.S. Marine,present as part of the Honor Guard on the U.S.S. Missouri during the surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II, retired Lutheran pastor, Sacramento, author of Unfinished Journey:  From War to Peace, From Violence to Wholeness, member Veterans for Peace.

The Reverend Elizabeth Griswold, pastor of Parkside Community Church, UCC, in Sacramento.

The Reverend John Auer, retired United Methodist Pastor, Wesley UMC, Fresno, California.

The Reverend Sharon Delgado, retired United Methodist Pastor, founding director of Earth Justice Ministries, author of Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, in Nevada City, California.

In addition to praying for the victims of US drones, we will acknowledge our complicity and pray for those who have suffered and who suffer now from the harm caused by the system of domination of which we are a  part:  for the harm done to the Indigenous people who used to live where Beale is now, the harm being done to Mother Earth by our building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, the overall harm caused by the global reach of US military power.  We will also pray for drone operators and all in the military, all service personnel, veterans, policy-makers, and all who are caught up in harmful systems, including those of us who are beneficiaries of the status quo.

2)  Nonviolent Action:  Following the service, some may cross the demarcation line onto Beale property in an attempt to deliver a letter and statement,   “A Call from the Faith Based Community to Stop Drone Killings,” to the base commander.  Some may then kneel in prayer.  Those who cross the line will (no doubt) be detained.

The Reverends Pedersen, Griswold, and Delgado were detained on March 5, Ash Wednesday, for crossing the demarcation line.  Also detained were Flora Rodgers of Linda and Michael Kerr, a member of Veterans for Peace from Bay View/Pittsburg.  The demonstrators carried crosses and sprinkled ashes representing children killed by U.S. drones.   See a video of the arrests here.

As for the consequences of taking such action:  The charges against several protesters have been dropped, and the cases that have gone to trial have (so far) all resulted in sentences of just 10 hours of community service.  In the past two nonviolent direct actions at Beale, arrestees have been fingerprinted, photographed, and returned within the hour.  Citations have not been issued.  Of course, past consequences are no guarantee.

If you are considering being a part of this action, bring a valid ID and a support person who has your personal information.  Legal observers will be present, and a team of pro-bono lawyers is standing by.

3:  Community Building:  Gather at The Brick Coffee House in Marysville between 1:30 and 2 if you want to meet others and join a car caravan out to the Main Gate.  The caravan will leave at 2:30 sharp.  Following the Beale actions we will set up tables in front of the Main Gate for a potluck.  Bring folding chairs or a blanket and some simple food to share.  Bring a song if you like!  Mosquito repellent comes in handy, as do flashlights if you stay late.

For a theological rationale of this Good Friday Action, see Sharon Delgado’s blog posting “Why I’ll be at Beale on Good Friday.”

To keep up with details, contact us at occupybeale@earth-justice.org.

Kathy Kelly will also be preaching at the Good Friday Action at Lawrence Livermore Lab on the morning of April 18.  Some of us will be driving up to Beale with Kathy following this action. We could easily arrange a car caravan if others want to join us.

She will also be speaking in Grass Valley the following day, April 19, at 1 p.m. at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, Tomes, at 671 Maltmann Drive in Grass Valley.  Find out more a the FaceBook event Kathy Kelly to Speak in Grass Valley or at Earth Justice Ministries April Projects and Campaigns.

Here is a video of the Ash Wednesday service and action.  To find out more about the Ash Wednesday worship and arrests at Beale, previous nonviolent direct actions at Beale, and the outcome of trials, check out Sharon Delgado’s blog postings about drones.

Special feature about drone demonstrations at Beale dominated the front and back pages of the Sacramento Bee’s Sunday paper on March 31st.

Here is a video uploaded from my presentation at Parkside Community Church (UCC), titled “The Role of Nonviolent Direct Action in Christian Peacemaking.” I hope it inspires you.

To keep current with demonstrations at Beale, check out the Occupy Beale AFB website and the OccupyBealeAir Force Base FaceBook Page.

Carpools, car caravans:  There will be a car caravan from the K-Mart Shopping Center in Grass Valley, meeting at 2 p.m., leaving at 2:15 sharp.  Contact Paula or Jerome Orloff (paulaorloff@yahoo.com) or 272-7019 to reserve a space.    The car caravan from The Brick in Marysville will leave for Beale at 2:30 sharp.   Flora will meet people there.    The carpool, caravan from Livermore will leave by 12:30 p.m.

Concerns about Bathrooms:  Yuba College is about a mile down North Beale Road in the other direction. There are bathrooms at the side entrance of the administration and there is a cafeteria also.

Directions to The Brick Coffeehouse from State Highway 70 W: Take the 3rd Street Exit (right), turn left onto D Street, to 316 D.

Getting Lost:  If you get lost on the way to Beale, call Shirley by cell phone at 941-320-0291.

Directions to the Main (Schneider) Gate: 4875 N. Beale Road.

From Sacramento Take I-80 to I-5 north of Sacramento, almost immediately after leaving I-80, take exit 525B to transfer to Hwy 99, continue 12.5. mi. and stay right to transfer onto Hwy 70, continue about 20 miles, exit at Feather River Blvd., just after the Erle Rd. exit. Do not take the 1st Feather River Blvd. which is about 10 miles earlier! (note sign to Beale AFB), turn right at ramp, You’ll be facing Burger King, across the street, a good bathroom stop. If you don’t cross the intersection, turn immediately right at the light (Lindhurst Ave.) and left at 2nd light to get on N. Beale Rd. Continue on N. Beale Rd. for over 6 miles. It dead ends at the Gate Entrance. Parking on left side of Rd. near the gate.

From Grass Valley: Take the Highway 20 Exit toward Marysville. Go approximately 15 miles until you see the sign “to Beale Air Force Base,” then turn left onto Hammonton-Smartville Road (the name of the road is abbreviated on the sign). After about eight miles you will pass the Doolittle gate, then in three miles or so you will get to Brophy. Turn left onto Brophy, and take it a mile or two all the way to to the end, where it stops at North Beale Road. North Beale is not marked, and there is a misleading sign on the frontage road that says “Jewett Road.” But turn left at the “T” (it is North Beale) and go 2 to 3 miles to the Schneider Gate. Park on the left side of the road.

Follow Sharon’s blog by clicking the “Follow Sharon Delgado” button at the right or by “liking” the Shaking the Gates of Hell FaceBook page.

Why I’ll be at Beale on Good Friday

 

On April

Ash Wednesday 2014 Service at Beale

Ash Wednesday Service at Beale

On April 18, Good Friday, I will gather with others at the main gate of Beale Air Force Base at 3 p.m. for a prayer service and demonstration against drone warfare.  Kathy Kelly, an internationally recognized peace activist, will join us there.

Why Beale?  Because Beale is home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that assists in finding targets for unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones.”  U.S. drones have killed thousands of people, many of them civilians, including children.

Why on Good Friday?  Because on the day set aside to commemorate Jesus’ death some of us choose to stand in solidarity with those who are being “crucified” today,  to demonstrate opposition to the worldly Powers that inflict suffering and death, and to witness to our hope that divine Love will carry us through this present darkness to a new dawn of justice, compassion, and peace.

Good Friday is not just a day to remember and mourn the death of Jesus, which happened so long ago, but to lament the many ways that the crucifixion is ongoing.  In the words of Dorothee Solle, “In the mist of reality stands the cross.”

I encourage you to join us at Beale or at some other venue that represents today’s system of domination, to “take sides” with the victims of violence and oppression, to challenge the ruling Powers as Jesus did, and to bear witness to the hope of resurrection.  Another world is possible.

 

Find out more about plans for Good Friday at Beale here.

Follow Sharon’s blog by clicking the “Follow Sharon Delgado” button at the right or by “liking” the Shaking the Gates of Hell FaceBook page.

 

 

Mourning Democracy

McCutcheon Rapid Response

Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on McCutcheon vs. the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is yet another nail in the coffin of U.S. democracy.  The high court struck down the right of “We the People” to establish laws limiting overall campaign contributions by individuals.  Such limits have been set in an attempt to create a level playing field in our democracy for rich and poor alike.

The political playing field was already unequal, since over the years the Supreme Court has increasingly granted  civil rights and constitutional protections to corporations.  This expansion of corporate rights culminated in the infamous 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. the FEC, which prohibits our right to limit corporate spending on elections through political action committees (PACs).  The Citizens United decision resulted in the overturning of campaign finance laws at the federal level and in states across the nation.  Today’s McCutcheon ruling is also disastrous for democracy.

Our local Nevada County Move to Amend group, which works in coordination with the national Move to Amend Coalition, held a rally this afternoon to protest the McCutcheon ruling.  “Rapid response” rallies were held in over 140 communities around the country.   Our group had pre-printed signs that said “Democracy is not for sale.” Sadly, we crossed out the word “not” on our signs because, evidently, democracy is for sale, now more than ever before.  Money counts as free speech.  Wealthy donors cannot be limited in aggregate campaign contributions. Corporations are treated as persons under the law.  Large Corporations, which control vast sums of capital, count as individual people.  The Market rules.  Money is God.  This is the secular religion that now rules our nation.

This is not democracy.  It is oligarchy–rule by the wealthy.

Move to Amend proposes a solution to both the gradual erosion of our democratic rights and the occasional cataclysms such as Citizens United and McCutcheon.  Since the Supreme Court interprets the constitution and there is no higher court to whom to appeal, amending the constitution is the only solution left to us.  There is a process by which to do this, and this process has resulted in 27 constitutional amendments intended to secure and expand the rights of all people in our nation.

The “We the People Amendment” supported by Move to Amend makes clear that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.  It has already been introduced into Congress.  Move to Amend affiliates, including our local group, are working to educate people around the country about the need to restore democracy to the people and to raise support for passing this amendment.

Building the momentum to pass this amendment will require the coming together of people of every faith tradition and spiritual perspective, indeed, anyone who cares about humanity, the earth and the common good.  It is time to amend the constitution to make it clear that corporations are not people, and money is not speech.

 

Follow Sharon’s blog by clicking the “Follow Sharon Delgado” button at the right or by “liking” the Shaking the Gates of Hell FaceBook page.

 

Fly Kites not Drones

 

March 24, 2014 at Beale

March 24, 2014 at Beale

“Fly Kites not Drones” was the theme of our last demonstration at Beale, home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that helps identify targets for armed drones.   This phrase perfectly expresses the hope that “another world is possible.”

Fly kites not drones.

Plant gardens not land mines.

Scatter seeds not shrapnel.

Build schools, not bunkers.

Subsidize solar power, not oil.

Support human rights, not corporate rights.

Bail out people, not banks.

Tend Mother Earth, don’t exploit her

Everyone who is working for change along these lines must have some degree of faith that such transformation is possible.  At times such changes in the general mindset and in social policies seems impossible.  The institutional Powers that rule the world are so entrenched, and bad news compounds every day.

We can’t know for sure.  As theologian Jurgen Moltmann wrote:

Has the modern world any future? Its future is conversion. Will humanity survive the crises we have described? We cannot know, and we must not know. If we knew that humanity is not going to survive, we should not do anything more for our children but would say, “after us, the deluge.” If we knew that humanity is going to survive, we should not do anything either, and by doing nothing we should miss our chance for conversion. Because we cannot know whether humanity is going to survive or not, we have to act today as if the future of the whole of humankind were dependent on us—and yet at the same time trust wholly that God is faithful to his creation and will not let it go.[i]

This is why I have devoted my life to speaking, writing, and acting to help usher in a world that is peaceful, just, and ecologically sustainable.  We don’t know what the outcome will be, but it’s not time to give up just now.  We are at a period of great transition.

I believe that whoever acts on behalf of this vision of a radically transformed world, what Jesus called “the kingdom of God,”  is doing the will of the One who brought the universe and this precious earth into being.  May we reaffirm our commitment and do what we can to be the transformation that we want to see.

 

[i]. Jürgen Moltmann, “Has Modern Society Any Future?” in Jürgen Moltmann and Johannes Baptist Metz, Faith and the Future: Essays on Theology, Solidarity, and Modernity (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1995), 174.

My Response to Doublespeak on Environmental Issues

Anti-Fracking Rally, Sacramento, March 15

Anti-Fracking Rally, Sacramento, March 15

There is currently a debate among environmental activists about how to frame issues of concern.  Do we use language that will be acceptable to as many people as possible, in order to build bridges with Tea Party members and other conservatives?  Or do we speak directly to the heart of the problem of climate change and destruction of the earth, including identifying the necessity of transforming worldviews, lifestyles, and the system that is wreaking havoc all over the earth?

Clearly, I’m in favor of the latter.  I see no point in holding back, hoping that by moderating our message people who are on the other side of these issues will get on board.  It’s time to speak truth to power, expose falsehoods and denial, and pull out all the stops.  It’s time to take strong and courageous stands for the earth community and for future generations.

Today I wrote a response to a Letter to the Editor in my hometown newspaper, the Grass Valley Union.   The original letter included doublespeak commonly used by ultra-conservatives to denigrate environmental issues and concern for the common good.    Here is my response:

“James Butler’s March 14th letter about the suction dredge mining ban included examples of doublespeak, or  “language used to deceive, usually through concealment or misrepresentation of truth.”   Mr. Butler may not realize it, but here are the misrepresentations:

“Agenda 21 can’t “dictate” anything.  It is a non-binding set of principles developed through the United Nations in a participatory process .  The guidelines are completely voluntary and unenforceable.

“The idea that our local government is “forcing UN socialist ideas down our throats under the guise of protecting the environment” is ludicrous.  Many locals want to protect the environment and rural quality of Nevada County.  The United Nations is not “socialist,” but includes countries with capitalist, socialist, and mixed economies.  Calling “sustainability” and “common good” buzz words doesn’t take away their actual meanings, which are positive.

“Our democracy faces many very real challenges, including the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the pending “McCutcheon” decision, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is binding and would give secret tribunals power  to overturn our democratically enacted laws.  These are bad for sustainability, bad for the common good, bad for democracy.

“Confusion, obfuscation, and deliberate misrepresentation are the last things we need.”

I have written more extensively on the issue in a previous blog posting called Agenda 21 vs. the TPP.