Journal of daily reflections on the progress of my home-based agriculture experiments, mixed with observations about life, peace, justice, faith, family, community and friends.
Marquette ROTC Protest
A while back Breaking the Silence received a rather harsh letter from a Marquette student telling us why we were so foolish protesting the military (ROTC) on the campus. I wrote back trying to be kind and sensitive in my response. He wrote back and I responded. Below, in dialog form are his comments, called ‘student’, and my response, ‘Bob’.
Student: You really think they teach killing to students? Please give me some examples. Please also show me Marquette ROTC curriculum that says the word “kill” in it. They’re taught to disarm the target, take down the target, etc. Typically in defense of their own comrades. Marquette ROTC students HARDLY see combat. You do realize you’re part of the minority in this argument. Do you even have curriculum that is CURRENTLY taught in ROTC classes? I don’t think that the University would hand you such documents and rightfully so.
Bob: The military admits and Marquette does not deny that reflexively killing, killing without conscience is being taught in military. I first heard of reflexive killing at Marquette University during the viewing of a film, approved by the military, called Soldiers of Conscience. You can now watch the film yourself on YouTube. There is an even a scene in the film of a ROTC class in which this is taught. The military ethics of West Point who narrates much of the film has a paper presented to military command in 2000 that you can find a link to at “Military Leaders’ Obligation to Justify Killing in War”
Marquette University has oversight of the curricula of all departments of the University except the three departments of Military Science, Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. This is part of the contract with Department of Defense. You can verify this information with Provost of Marquette, acting one or past provost who is still around campus.
The movement at Marquette to resist ROTC at Marquette was student inspired. In the official History of Marquette University it states “By May 1968, the university issued a second set of rules, this time for ‘Faculty Participation in Disruptive Demonstrations.’ By then a key target was the Reserved Officers Training Corps, a fixture at Marquette since before World War II.” (Milwaukee Jesuit University, Marquette 1881–1981 by Thomas J. Jablonsky 329) This web page needs an update but the resistance to ROTC on campus is at least 46 years old. You will notice that in the early pictures of resistance to military on campus there were hundreds and hundreds of students participating in this resistance and, as you note, none today. There is many reasons for this but as a student at MU in 60′s I can say with some authority it is just not ROTC, but moral issues of civil rights, discrimination, apartheid, racism that no longer appeal to students as moral issues to act on.
Student: I don’t believe I called you a name, just stated fellow student’s thoughts of you and your organization. At this point you’ve pissed off most of the Marquette campus. Most students (maybe even all) are in support of what Marquette does and I have NEVER seen a student picketing on campus, sitting in on official campus business or anything else that your group does. I saw you disrespect a veteran on campus after he exposed your flawed logic. It was disrespectful and quite frankly it was sad. It disgusts me that your group harasses ROTC students in uniform. They are scholarship students who work hard and deserve to be left alone.
Bob: I believe your characterization of students at Marquette is degrading to students. As far as veterans I do not think you will find any disrespect of veterans. I have good friends who are veterans and even at students at time in ROTC at MU. Just as I was motivated in 1968 to take a stand against Vietnam War and selective service system I am motivated, in large part, by veterans today. The suicide rate among veterans and soldiers in the military is reported at 22 per day since 1968. At least one of those I know was a ROTC graduate of MU. If you really care about soldiers in the military and veterans I will be glad to supply you with reading materials and other stuff directly from veterans.
Student: Please take your fight to legislature, to the campus president or somewhere else where a decision can be made. For student’s sake, I hope you’re banned from campus. My faith system is mine and mine alone, I appreciate that you have a strong view on something in life, however I
don’t believe you should be throwing it in the faces of our ROTC students, US military veterans and the general campus population.
Bob: I take strong objection to the tone of this statement. You might have you own ‘faith system’ and set of values but I am a Roman Catholic Christian and share my basic faith system and values with millions all over the world. The Holy Father of the Catholic Church says “Faith and Violence are Not Compatible” and I believe that. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the priority of conscience overrides any government orders or even that of an administrator at MU. See Gospel Values Vs Military Values.
Student: Your picketing/protests and obnoxious and I’m not sure the Catholic Faith would support what you do either. Please ponder that. Take your fight to the right people, not the general student population. They think you’re insane (not calling you a name, just stating other student’s reactions to your rants).
Bob: On this Holy Saturday I have the strength to take any insults you or other students may use against any of us for expressing our conscience and deep faith. I would hope we could talk about all this person to person and face to face but that probably will not happen. I do hope you read this email and check out the links.
I accepted the fact that we cannot change anyone but ourselves but we can create an environment where we can civilly discuss and dialog on these moral issues.
Student: I will remain anonymous to protect myself.
Bob: Be Not Afraid!
Bob: Again thank you for responding. I hope you read and reflect on my response. God Bless You,
See the full list of articles in the Diary of a Worm.
First they ignore you
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
“Everyone in the world knows that Jesus and His teachings were nonviolent except Christians.” M. Gandhi
A Biography of Dorthy Day by Jim Forest
Letter from Dorthy Day prime directive of Gospel
In general, in the first flush of Lent, the struggle is undertaken bravely. What if during the long weeks the fervor lessens and the work of accumulating graces was continued with many lapses, but by effort of will. That time when will has to be brought into play is perhaps the most important of all, despite failures and the total lack of a sense of accomplishment, of growth. Fervor comes again with Holy Week, joy comes on the day of resurrection, with all nature singing exultantly God’s praises.
To keep united to God through the suffering Humanity of His son—that is the aim of Lent. — Dorothy Day from her column “Day After Day”, The Catholic Worker, April 1935
People Need to be Distrubed.
“When it is said that we disturb people too much by the words pacifism and anarchism, I can only think that people need to be disturbed, that their consciences need to be aroused, that they do indeed need to look into their work, and study new techniques of love and poverty and suffering for each other. Of course the remedies are drastic, but then too the evil is a terrible one and we are all involved, we are all guilty, and most certainly we are all going to suffer. The fact that we have “the faith,” that we go to the sacraments, is not enough. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ with napalm, nerve gas, our hydrogen bomb, our ‘new look’.” (“Are The Leaders Insane?” By Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, April 1954, 1, 6.}
“Paper work, cleaning the house, dealing with the innumerable visitors who come all through the day, answering the phone, keeping patience and acting intelligently, which is to find some meaning in all that happens — these things, too, are the works of peace, and often seem like a very little way.”
— Dorothy Day, On Pilgrimage, December 1965
Violence embedded in culture itself
“The real focus of American violence is not in esoteric groups but in the very culture itself, its mass media, its extreme individualism and competitiveness, its inflated myths of virility and toughness, and its overwhelming preoccupation with the power of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological, and psychological overkill. If we live in what is essentially a culture of overkill, how can we be surprised at finding violence in it? Can we get to the root of the trouble? In my opinion, the best way to do it would have been the classic way of religious humanism and non-violence exemplified by Gandhi. That way seems now to have been closed. I do not find the future reassuring,” — Thomas Merton edited with an introduction by Gordon C. Zahn (Boston, MA: McCall’s Publishing Company, 1971), p. 230
If you want to study modern history
If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.-- Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation, ch 17
worshiping the false self in place of God
“After all, what is your personal identity? It is what you really are, your real self. None of us is what he thinks he is, or what other people think he is, still less what his passport says he is… And it is fortunate for most of us that we are mistaken. We do not generally know what is good for us. That is because, in St. Bernard’s language, our true personality has been concealed under the ‘disguise’ of a false self, the ego, whom we tend to worship in place of God.” —Thomas Merton, The Waters of Siloe
Harcourt & Brace, 1949, p. 349
silence between words
“For language to have meaning, there must be intervals of silence somewhere, to divide word from word and utterance from utterance. He who retires into silence does not necessarily hate language. Perhaps it is love and respect for language which imposes silence upon him. For the mercy of God is not heard in words unless it is heard, both before and after the words are spoken, in silence,”
—Thomas Merton, “Philosophy of Silence,” in Disputed Questions
(NY: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960), p. 181
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
Poor in the Military
“Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence
Delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
Worth Dying for
“If you haven’t found something worth dying for, you aren’t fit to be living.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Fear Each Other
“We often hate each other because we fear each other; we fear each other because we don’t know each other; we don’t know each other because we can not communicate; we can not communicate because we are separated.”
Priority of Conscience
“And it is my conscience that compels me to say publicly that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is agrave injustice against women, against our Church and against our God who calls both men and women to the priesthood.” Fr. Roy Bourgeois in his letter to Maryknoll why he could not recant his belief and public statements that support the ordination of women.
“Over the pope … there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary, even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.” Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI,in his 1968 commentary on the Second Vatican Council’s document, Gaudium et Spes.
Nonviolence or Militarism
Breaking the Silence
Child Soldiers and Military Training at Marquette University
Military Spending Voting Records of Rep. Paul Ryan [R]and Rep.Gwen Moore [D] of Wisconsin from 2005 – 20012.
A group Catholics Against Militarism that their focus in 2013 “is on discouraging donations to the first-ever nationwide collection for the Archdiocese of Military Services in November (in most churches on Nov. 10), and moreover encouraging Catholics to voice their objection to this collection by placing statements of protest in the collection plate on that day.” I was surprised there was a Catholic Military Archdiocese and doubly surprised that the Catholic Bishops conference authorized a special collection for the Military Archdiocese. I had questions about a military chaplaincy until I read another article by Father McCarthy called The Christian Military Cahalaincy. Here is Father McCarthy’s take on this military collection in Catholic Churches.
Then What is a Military Diocese?
A Mafia Chaplaincy?
(No hyperbole intended)
by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers.
There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man (with two Medals of Honor) to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
The flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
-Major-General Smedly Butler, U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
“The problem which divides people today is not a political problem; it is a social one. It is a matter of knowing which will get the upper hand: the spirit of selfishness or the spirit of sacrifice; whether society will go for ever-increasing enjoyment, or for everyone devoting themselves to the common good… .”
~ Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, co-founder of St. Vincent De Paul Society
“War is the unfolding of miscalculations.”
— Barbara Tuchman
“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion—its message becomes meaningless.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
Jokes and Editorial Cartoons
Restoring the Senses, Gardening and Orthodox Easter