Time Waiting, Time Served | Sojourners

Time Waiting, Time Served

On April 10, 1990, as people of faith entered Holy Week and observed Passover, the defendants in the Plowshares Eight trial were summoned to Norristown, Pennsylvania for a final legal pronouncement on an action they had undertaken almost a decade before.

On September 9, 1980, Daniel Berrigan, Philip Berrigan, Dean Hammer, Carl Rabat, Elmer Maas, Anne Montgomery, Molly Rush, and John Schuchardt had entered the General Electric (GE) plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where they hammered on the nose cones of two Mark 12A warheads.

While the final legal consequences of their action were held up for 10 years by court procedures and appeals, the power of their witness was unleashed; throughout the decade, many people followed with similar "Plowshares actions" all across the country.

Some of them, including three of the defendants who have participated in subsequent actions -- mentioned by name in the opening of Daniel Berrigan's testimony -- are serving long terms in jail as a result of their witness.

We offer the text of Daniel Berrigan's testimony in court before the resentencing of the Plowshares Eight as a tribute to the eight defendants, who -- by the prosecutor's own admission -- offered compelling and eloquent testimony; to those other witnesses serving time in jail for their courageous acts of disarmament; and to their families, who share the cost in great measure.

-- The Editors

Dear friends -- including your honor; Ms. Prosecutor; so many who have gathered from near and far; our honored lawyer friends; our dear friends already in prison -- Carl, Anne, Elmer, all here with us; also Helen, Ladon, Jerry, Greg, Larry, Jean, and others. The very summoning of your names confers courage and steadfastness this day.

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