Nuclear abolition on the cover of Sojourners? Isn't that awfully retro, a flashback to the same-old same-old? A high-ranking military officer in full uniform on the cover of Sojourners? Isn't that sort of odd?
The editorial staff was asking ourselves such questions (echoed by friends who heard of our plans) as we put this issue together. Organizing against and reporting on the nuclear weapons threat was a key part of our mission in the late '70s and early '80s. Now the nuclear threat is far from gone-but almost nothing else in the global context is the same. One way we've illustrated all that has changed is through interviewing and putting on our cover a former head of the Strategic Air Command, retired Air Force Gen. Lee Butler. He is now a leading proponent of nuclear abolition.
Another difference, of course, is in the articles themselves. As Jonathan Schell describes in his article, in the past anti-nuclear movements were often fueled by fear. The newly emerging abolition movement is propelled instead by hope. We think Butler's story, and accompanying essays by Schell and David Cortright, indeed give a sense of fresh opportunity and a way forward.
One critique of the anti-nuclear movement of years past was that the nuclear problem seemed to be a "white" question, dealing with long-range, big-picture issues that could be seen as far removed from the day-to-day struggles for survival that marked the lives of the poorest of the poor. But as Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us in Vincent Harding's "A Dangerous Spirituality," the connections are all too clear: "Any nation that chooses to spend more on armaments than on social reform is a nation in trouble." It is this bottom line-financial, moral, and spiritual-that can spur us all on to make the vital connections that strive for hope, not fear.