A Major Victory for the Peace Movement Down Under

By Jarrod McKenna 03-17-2010

Through tears I write this post as breaking news of the Waihopai Plowshares activists have been found by a New Zealand jury "NOT GUILTY!"

Watch a video news report here.

Many will know the rich Christian tradition of the plowshares actions, and others, like the judge in this case, might be asking, "Someone must have had the idea first -- Who was it?"

My mate Adi Leason with his comic timing answered by simply saying, "Isaiah," sending the court into hysterics.

Others trace the Plowshares tradition to the Berrigan brothers and six others who on the 9th of September 1980 enacted the prophecies of Isaiah and beat swords into plowshares by prophetically "disarming" weapons designed to destroy the Imago Dei -- ending human life. As Australian pioneer of the Plowshares tradition Ciaron O'Reilly often explains: These aren't random acts of vandalism but prayerful, considered, and costly "table-turning actions" where, "Instead of hitting and splitting we stay and pray, being willing to bear the consequences and serve the jail time as a form of monastic retreat."

My friends Sam Land, Adi Leason, and Father Peter Murnane made history by becoming the first Plowshare activists in the southern hemisphere to be found "not guilty" despite confessing to the crime of damaging the Waihopi spy base that gathers information for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Loud and clear from the land of the long white cloud the people have spoken a message of opposition to war and have created a legal precedent for nonviolent activists. This is a major victory for the peace movement down under and Christian nonviolence in general. We all can give thanks, for tonight we glimpse at the reality that Martin Luther King Jr. expressed by saying, "the arc of the universe bends towards justice."

May you be filled with gratitude and praise to the God of Peace for the witness of Adi, Sam, and Peter. And may you take bold grace-filled costly acts that witness to the reality, that in Jesus, the time to beat swords into plowshares has started!

portrait-jarrod-mckennaJarrod McKenna is seeking to live God's love in a world where business as usual is costing us the earth (at the expense of the poor). He is a co-founder of the Peace Tree Community serving with the marginalised in one of the poorest of areas in his city, heads up Together for Humanity in Western Australia (an inter-faith youth initiative working for the common good), and is the founder and creative director of Empowering Peacemakers (EPYC), for which he has received an Australian peace award in his work for in empowering a generation of "eco-evangelists" and "peace prophets."

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