Update to the situation below
Read Marquette’s Response or No Response to Open Letter
Bob Graf’s open letter
Dear Father Wild S.J., President of Marquette University; Father Harak S.J., Director of the Center for Peacemaking; and Ms. Stephanie Russell, Executive Director of Office of Mission & Identity, Marquette University:
MU student speaks at Peacefest
On September 30th I wrote to the three of you, thanking you for allowing “Peacefest” to commemorate 40 years of resistance to the military presence on campus and the 40th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14 action against the selective service system. I suggested two ways we could go in the movement for “Marquette To Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of the Military.” I thought that as leaders in value education at Marquette you could support these two suggestions, but having not heard from any of you the last ten days I need to take your answer as NO to both suggestions. So now I am appealing to a greater audience for a response.
- The first suggestion was for Marquette University to sponsor a series of debates, teach-ins and discussions on the moral question: Is it moral for Marquette University to host military training on campus?
I am sure we can find opinions on each side of this question, and the simple fact of the open “agreement to disagree” would be a moral lesson to MU students, faculty and staff.
- The second suggestion was for Marquette University to develop a Garden of Resistance on campus.
Just as the spinning wheel was a symbol of resistance in India during the struggle for independence led by Gandhi, the urban garden is a symbol of resistance. Such a garden I believe would reflect the inspiration of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, all of whom gave up the way of violence for living a life of nonviolence.
My mother taught me that “charity begins at home.” As the recent article in America Magazine points out, we must teach justice and peace along with charity at our universities. Justice and Peace also begin at home. Shortly, Marquette University will send students and staff to SOA Watch at Fort Benning to protest the school of the army that trains soldiers from Latin America in ways that violate our moral conscience. Yet the same students and staff hesitate to resist the School of the Army at Marquette that trains men and women in the same military values, contrary to our Christian faith, as those taught at Fort Benning.
Jesuits taught me, for 13 years of my education, that the “end does not justify the means” and to be like St. Ignatius or Blessed Franz Jägerstätter: not to cooperate with evil, even if it means insults, injuries and even death.
School of Army at MU
Yet Marquette University ignores the words of Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria, one of the martyrs who inspired SOA Watch, who said, when talking to John Dear S.J. in 1985 about ROTC, “Tell the Jesuits of Georgetown that they are committing mortal sin because they are supporting the forces of death which are killing our people.” (Father John Dear S.J. in National Catholic Reporter Online article — Jan. 8, 2008)
My appeals to you three respected leaders at Marquette University have fallen on deaf ears; I now appeal to the community of women and men of all faiths to discuss, debate and teach on all Jesuit campuses the question: Is it moral for a Jesuit University to host military training on campus? I also urge all Jesuit universities to take some space on campus to build a Garden of Resistance to grow healthy food for those who are hungry and as a symbol of resistance to unjust political systems and wars.
Together we are Growing Power, and can resist and overcome evil.
Readers of The Nonviolent Worm are encouraged to add their comments, suggestions and questions below.